Leading the new department as CEO is JYP Entertainment’s HK Shin, who oversees TWICE and has been an instrumental force in introducing the group to U.S. and global audiences. Prior to that, he worked on the global music teams at Samsung and Korean tech company Naver.
Coincidentally, this past January — long after Shin departed the company — Naver invested over $320 million in HYBE Entertainment, the parent company of social media app Weverse, which K-pop stars use to connect with their fans. The massive deal, among others, only served to underscore the growing value of fan engagement platforms to investors.
Over the past several years, K-pop stars — most notably BTS — have been at the forefront of supercharging the artist-to-fan relationship by harnessing the power of social media to cultivate a sense of intimacy – and generate additional revenue by offering prerelease songs and albums, VIP ticketing, merchandise, virtual concerts and more to their most ardent followers. As a result, labels in both Korea and elsewhere have been investing heavily in the fan engagement space, which centralizes companies’ ability to track and monetize fan data via social media, merch stores, email marketing campaigns and more.
In addition to the launch of JYP Three Sixty, JYP Entertainment has been making a major push in the fan-engagement space as of late. Earlier this year, the company acquired a 23.3% stake in DearUBubble, a platform that allows fans to chat with their favorite artists via private messages. It also recently invested in Zepeto, a Korea-based app and social media platform that gives fans the opportunity to interact with artists in a virtual world through the use of 3D animated avatars (Blackpink hosted a virtual signing event on the platform in September). Last August, alongside SM Entertainment, JYPE also co-founded the virtual concert company Beyond LIVE, which has since hosted livestream concerts for TWICE, Stray Kids, NCT, Baekhyun and Taemin.