K-Pop Group BTS to Leave Columbia Records for Universal Music

K-pop boy band BTS is ending its distribution deal with Sony Music’s Columbia Records and will instead partner with Universal Music Group, a person familiar with the situation said.

Universal Music has been trying to tie up for many years. This is an important coup. Universal Chief Executive Officer Lucian Grainge had been personally wooing Bang Si-hyuk, founder of BTS’s management company Hybe.

The deal includes Universal’s Ingrooves Music division handling distribution and Universal’s Geffen Records providing creative support and marketing, according to the person, who asked not to be named as the plans remain private. Universal’s Interscope has had a deal for three years with K-pop girl group Blackpink, which has made inroads with Western audiences and headlined the Coachella music festival in 2019.

Sony has declined to comment.

In response to K-pop’s increasing popularity worldwide, distributorship deals for K+ artists have grown in recent years. Universal and Hybe, YG Entertainment’s new partner and Kiswe’s launch of a new live streaming platform worldwide announced a joint partnership. In February, Universal and Hybe announced an expanded strategic partnership that included a joint venture label with Geffen Records to debut a “global K-pop boy band.”

According to IFPI BTS was the most-sold recording artist in the world in 2013. Billboard first reported that the videos had generated 10.6 Billion U.S. On-Demand streams.

Assistance from Sohee


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