On January 27th, Lee Soo Man presented the future of SM Entertainment for 2016 with an introduction to five new projects and a new group. Previously, it was reported on only one of the new projects and the new artist group, but with SMTOWN releasing the video of the conference, we are able to delve deeper into understanding what SM has in store along with exploring the four other projects as well.
The conference opened with a bit of history on how S.M. Entertainment Group has grown starting on February 14, 1995 when S.M. Entertainment Incorporation was formed. Five years later, H.O.T was the first Korean group to hold a solo concert in Beijing, China thus creating the first ripple of the Hallyu wave. April of 2000 showed that SM was the first entertainment company to be added to KOSDAQ, which is the Korean stock market. In March 2002, BoA was the first Korean artist to top at number one for the Oricon Chart with her first Japanese album, ‘Listen To My Heart’. And finalizing the timeline, SMTOWN was the first artist from Asia to hold a concert in New York City’s Madison Square Garden in October 2011.
Lee Soo Man steps out from the path of history, quite proud, since he is the founder of SM Productions, the label prior to SM Entertainment that was established in 1989. He continues on with speaking about the Culture Technology (CT) SM has really established in creative content that has helped with making hallyu and Kpop more mainstream outside of the Korean domestic market and Asia. Lee Soo Man mentions that the basis of CT is the four components leading up to an artist’s debut. “Casting”, “Training”, “Producing” and “Marketing” also known as “Management” has been the core essentials which has allowed SM to create such projects as Label SJ and the Rookies Show and team up with companies like Esteem and IB Sports.
Advancing the technology leading into 2016, New Culture Technology (NCT) was created as to not get complacent in the entertainment field. SM’s biggest goal is to make their company more “interactive” for fans. The first project announced was ‘STATION’, a digital music channel that will release a new digital single for 52 straight weeks. The goal is to bring together, not only, collaborations with SM artists but also artists, producers, composers, and company brands outside of the SM label to create a multitude of new music.
The second project announced was ScreaM Records which is SM’s newest EDM label. Lee Soo Man explains, “Based on the matchless SM know-hows on “performance dance music”, we will expand your musical pleasure to the next level by the transformation from “performance to watch and listen” to “performance to enjoy together”.” SM is planning on not only working with globally renowned EDM artists from such labels as Refune Music and OWSLA Record but also to create a DJ agency to foster top DJs and producers whose “identities” are based in Asia. Their first collaboration is with world famous DJ and producer, Skrillex, who just recently worked with Cube Entertainment’s 4Minute for their recent comeback for ‘Hate’ and YG Entertainment’s CL for her US pre-debut single ‘Hello Bi+ches’. The final piece of this project was the declaration of SM hosting a large scale EDM festival with the hopes to make Seoul a hub for the EDM scene like Amsterdam and Miami.
Next is the proclamation of a “digital playground” on various platforms with such apps as everysing, everyshot, and Vryl. Through everysing, you will be able to record your voice with an accompaniment and with the possibility of singing duets with your favourite SM artist for free. With everyshot you will be able to shoot your own music video or star in your a music video or even both! You will also be able to participate in the music videos for the ‘STATION’ projects as well. Vryl offers you a chance to communicate with users from all over the world who share similar interests. Lee Soo Man says “to make this happen, we will provide translations for as many as 50 different languages.” which will make communication easier throughout the globe.
“For anyone to dream to become a producer, we would like to introduce “Rookies Entertainment Mobile Application” which conveys SM’s producing system to a mobile platform”, is the fourth project that was spoken about. This new application will allow you to experience the “SM Star Incubating System” by assisting in pre-debut training of the SM Rookies. They will take in your suggestions on how best to improve the rookies and also give you feedback and applications for your work. If you are picked as best producer, your name will get credited on debut album along with an opportunity for an internship with SM and much more.
The last project presented is a new multi-channel network (MCN) business. The MCN will be composed of SM celebrities in all departments. “Visual Radio Broadcast which singers participate, Web Drama which actors and actresses perform, Web Entertainment by MCs, Sports Lessons And Weight Training which sports stars participate, Beauty-Know-How which models introduce… various and unique contents will be created endlessly, as many as the number of SM celebrities.” The idea is also to be able to see this content anytime and any where all around the word making the MCN mobile-friendly and breaking the language barrier.
The final announcement was about the new artist group, NCT which derives from the idea of New Culture Technology by presenting it as Neo Culture Technology. As the lecture hall goes silent, the screens light up with multicolours and then go into a blue UV light hue. Over forty participants entered all around the room in an army-like march with white sweatsuits and masks. In a very unique display, colours flickered as a light show moved around the room while a soft EDM-like song played, illuminating the members and the masks. As beams of green light shined on four members, the walls showed a map of the world being linked together, the masks came off, and the room went black.
Three videos were shown, ‘The Origin’, ‘Synchronization Of Dreams’, and ‘7th Sense’. These films help with the introduction of NCT and feature some of the older members of SM Rookies as previously mentioned here, while introducing new Chinese member Win Win who is featured in ‘7th Sense’. During the presentation of the videos, ten rookies perform to a new EDM track showcasing their dance skills and giving the crowd a piece of what is to come. Lee Soo Man explains that the keywords to NCT is “openness” and “expandability” in which this new group will be targeting key cities from around the world as they slowly debut, one team at a time. “NCT will have no restrictions for new additions of members, and with this new concept of limitless number of members, they will perform their artist career as the whole world being their performing grounds.”
Each team will sing a song in the language of the region they are based in along with music and contents that is accustom to the local market they are working in. The goal is to create a true definition of ‘Hallyu Localization” and unite the world under a single global cause with music and diverse content. This new artist group can spread out across the world without limit.
You really must watch the video to really grasp the wonders that SM is trying to accomplish.
(The sound is quite low even with full volume)
I know I threw a lot of information into this article but I thought it was necessary as the only ideals being spoken about is the STATION project because of TaeYeon’s new digital ‘Rain’ and NCT because fans of SM Rookies are curious on how SR16B will be incorporated into this new group. One topic that Lee Soo Man did not discuss in regards to NCT was gender, which makes me think that this will umbrella all rookies, male or female under the NCT label. Until the video came out, I didn’t even know about ScreaM Records, the new digital platforms, the SM Rookies project, or MCN, and I am a huge SM fanboy. I hope you found this all very informative and are as excited as I am about these new ideas that Lee Soo Man present. Which was your favourite project presented? Let us know!!
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Edited by: KareBare