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Ok-pop followers might quickly have extra official merchandise to spend their cash on, as South Korea’s leisure business goes all out to embrace non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse, with massive business names planning to guess on the brand new know-how.

One of the newest Ok-pop expertise companies pledging to hitch the NFT and metaverse race is Cube Entertainment, which manages standard artists and bands together with Jo Kwon, BTOB, PENTAGON, CLC and (G)I-DLE. In November, the Kosdaq-listed firm teamed up with Animoca Brands to type a three way partnership devoted to constructing a music metaverse and issuing NFTs.

In an interview with Forkast.News, Ahn Woo-Hyung, CEO of Cube, stated the sky’s the restrict in relation to investing within the new know-how.

“We don’t really have an upper limit on investment,” Ahn stated. “There’s really no upper limit on Cube investment because we have that sense of purpose that Cube artists and members should play a role in creating new experience and new value in this field.”

Ahn added the corporate has fashioned a particular staff since final yr to check NFTs and subsequently the metaverse, and is “continuing to put a lot of thoughts into it.”

Ahn stated he couldn’t share too many particulars about upcoming tasks, “but what I can tell you is that music will be at the core, and the artists’ portraits and videos will be utilized in new and creative attempts that are fun and creative.”

“This could be a very important momentum not only for our company but also for the entire entertainment industry,” Ahn stated.

Read extra: NFTs and the music business: Ok-pop’s new token economic system

Indeed, Cube is just not the one expertise company that considers NFTs and the metaverse the subsequent massive factor. Back in July, JYP — a prime Ok-pop leisure company that manages standard idol acts together with lady group TWICE and boy band 2PM — partnered with Dunamu, a blockchain firm that operates crypto trade Upbit, to construct an NFT platform utilizing JYP’s content material.

HYBE, the label behind international boy-band sensation BTS, can be actively investing within the discipline. Last month, it introduced that it has joined palms with Dunamu to digitize BTS items into NFTs and discover potentialities of permitting followers to gather and trade NFTs on the corporate’s fan group app Weverse.

In an on-line video briefing launched right now, HYBE founder Bang Si-Hyuk stated the 2 plan to develop an NFT enterprise below a brand new three way partnership, which is able to “allow the artist [intellectual property-based] content and products that Hybe has showcased to date to become digital assets for fans.”

South Korea-based Naver Z Corporation — the operator of metaverse platform Zepeto — has simply raised 223.5 billion Korean gained (US$189 million) in a Series B spherical, which included investments from SoftBank, Mirae Asset and main Ok-pop companies JYP, YG Entertainment and HYBE.

New house for music creation

For Ok-pop singers, the rising NFT and metaverse wave might imply a brand new house for them to create one thing recent and cutting-edge.

“As idols who produce our own works, we are very proud of the creation we make and present. I’m very excited that a new system will be established that will make it easier for me to share my creations with more people,” stated Kino, the primary dancer, singer and rapper in PENTAGON, which debuted in 2016, in a video interview with Forkast.News. On prime of singing and dancing, Kino can be recognized for his expertise in portray and creating artwork.

Kino added {that a} massive purpose why the Ok-pop market might develop quickly is that the business “is not afraid of introducing and combining new technologies these days.”

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world, massive leisure corporations have been making makes an attempt to show how tech-savvy they’re by providing distinctive digital experiences for followers.

For instance, corporations have been organizing on-line concert events and fan conferences with what’s referred to as a multi-view streaming system that permits followers to view the dwell performances from completely different digital camera positions.

Avatars of BTOB members created earlier this yr. Image: Cube Entertainment

The metaverse additionally beckons with Ok-pop teams planning digital concert events.

Seo Eun-Kwang, the chief of boy band BTOB — which was fashioned by Cube in that d2012 — gave a sneak peak on the new fan expertise within the works.

“In conversations with the band and the company, we’ve started to talk about how to hold concerts in the metaverse,” Seo stated.

Metaverse showcasing idols’ lives

Ahn stated many Ok-pop followers will not be simply into the music.

“As they start to like our music, I think they start empathizing and sharing a bond with different aspects of [the artists’] lives,” Ahn stated. “So their attention encompasses not only K-pop, but also K-drama and K-culture in general. They show interest in all the cultural elements that shape us up.”

Seo stated the metaverse can provide performers a brand new technique to work together with followers, or “Melody” — the identify for BTOB followers. “We can meet our Melody who we haven’t met [in the metaverse], so that’s what I’m most excited about.”

However, the thought of NFTs and the metaverse could also be intimidating for some followers. “There will be a bit of a steep learning curve. But K-pop fans are fairly persistent, so I can see them learning about it very quickly,” stated Thomas Baudinette, a lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney whose analysis pursuits embody Ok-pop improvements, in an interview with Forkast.News.

Areum Jeong, an assistant professor who teaches Korean popular culture at Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute, describes Ok-pop followers as being extremely networked and devoted.

“They’re highly organized communities with very specific communal goals,” Jeong stated. “Even if fans are not familiar with the process or how things work, they will teach you. They will team up. They will come up with how-to tutorials on YouTube or Twitter in like seven different languages.”

Baudinette added that the truth that many Ok-pop corporations are leaping on the NFT and metaverse bandwagon is a bit like “monkey say, monkey do” so as to not be left behind and to fulfill a cultural drive towards innovation.

“If one of your competitors does something, you need to do it or you’ll be left behind,” Baudinette stated.

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