The Future. Hybe Co. hopes a fresh push of its Weverse app helps it find success in the US and Japan. While Japan is a natural expansion, the goal for American glory may require that the app appeal to fans outside of K-pop (which is skyrocketing in popularity in the US though). Hybe’s installment of Scooter Braun as CEO of its American operations makes him the ambassador for that ambition… which could prove a double-edged sword.
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Hybe wants Weverse to be the one-stop shop for stan-engagment worldwide.
- All of Hybe’s “fan-related services” — including concert live-streaming, digital albums, custom merch, and paid-chat services — are being funneled into the app, with ads and paid-membership programs rolling out next year.
- Already having major K-pop artists like BTS and Blackpink on the app, the push for new markets has already led to the signing of Japan’s AKB48 and US boy band Prettymuch… but larger, mainstream artists are still proving elusive.
- But Hybe’s partnership with Universal Music Group to participate in the creation of global girl group Katseye could give the agency access to higher-profile talent.
Weverse currently has 10.5 million monthly active users. CEO Joon Choi said “Once we have more diverse genres and reach monthly active users of around 30 to 50 million, we can offer more profit-making models that’d satisfy both fans and artists.”
It’s the classic social-media model of scale big and then turn it into a money-making machine — Weverse doesn’t just want to enter the mainstream market, it wants to stay there.