Asia News: Together Again In Seoul, BTS & More

Matt Sayles / Invision / AP
performs at the American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles Nov. 19, 2019.

Together Again In Seoul

“Together Again K-pop Concert” will take place July 17 at the SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium in Seoul, marking the first large-scale K-pop concert held since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Korea Herald reported. 
The event is being co-hosted by the Korea Management Federation and Arirang TV, South Korea’s English-language broadcaster, which airs content worldwide. The concert will feature 26 K-pop acts including NCT Dream, Oh My Girl, Brave Girls and BTOB. It will also feature traditional ballad singers like Kim Tae-woo and Baek Ji-young. 
Social distancing rules will still apply, which means empty seats will be mandated throughout the 2,000-capacity venue. Attendees will also be required to wear masks and have their temperatures checked. 
K-Pop concerts have been the last South Korean entertainment sector to return to anything approaching normalcy since infections started to abate slightly this year. On June 14, the government approved revised guidelines that allow hosts to put on pop music concerts of up to 4,000 audience members as long as certain rules are observed and on-site hygiene is enforced. Previously, such gigs could have no more than 99 visitors. 
Big Hit Music Ready To Protect BTS Against ‘Malicious Or False Information’ 
South Korean record label Big Hit Music has announced it will take legal action against anyone posting “malicious or false information” on the internet about the label’s most popular K-pop group, BTS. According to ABC CBN News, on June 29, the record company released a statement that said it was “regularly” filing civil and criminal suits against individuals caught promoting “ill-intentioned criticism, groundless information, sexual harassment, personal attacks and defamation” online. 
Big Hit Music has said that they plan to ensure that perpetrators of malicious statements online are punished to the full extent of the law. The company also hesitated to release any specific information about perpetrators it had sued or planned to sue due to ongoing efforts to identify and investigate said perpetrators. 
ABC CBN stressed that such actions can only be carried out within South Korea, but Big Hit said it would also charge netizens in foreign countries in accordance with local laws and mentioned the Philippines, which has on the books a Cybercrime Prevention Act implemented in 2012. Apparently, BTS members are often the target of homophobic slurs from Filipino net users because the group “unapologetically breaks away from traditional gender norms.” 
In other BTS news, the CEO of HYBE, the company that manages BTS and which until recently was called Big Hit Entertainment, is stepping down as part of a reorganization of the company, according to Music Business Worldwide. Known as the “hitman,” Bang Si-hyuk will stay on the company’s board of directors as its chairman and will now focus on music production, reportedly his first love. He has often received production credits on tracks by BTS and other HYBE acts. The new CEO will be Park Ji-won, who came on board about a year ago. Meanwhile, HYBE’s U.S. operations will be led by HYBE America CEO Yoon Seok-jun and Scooter Braun, the manager of Justin Bieber. 
Bang’s exit follows HYBE’s partnership deal with Universal Music Group in February and its acquisition of Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in April for $1 billion. 
Musicals Bring The Money
The South Korean performing arts industry recorded a 19 percent year-on-year increase in revenue for the first half of 2021, reports the Yonhap news agency. 
The combined sales for theatrical plays, musicals, classical concerts and other non-pop music performances was about $103.1 million, according to the Korea Performing Arts Box Office Information System. 
The rise has been steady since the industry hit its lowest point last January when it only made about $3.3 million.