The joint venture between HYBE and Universal Music Group, known as “HYBE x Geffen Records”, is set to enter the US market with a focus on K-pop production.
They will reveal the participants of a global girl group audition project named “The Debut: Dream Academy”. This initiative stems from the belief that the K-pop production system needs to be globalized, driven by HYBE’s chairman Bang Si Hyuk.
“The Debut: Dream Academy” is taking place in the US and involves young musicians from around the world aspiring to debut as part of a K-pop group. Bang Si Hyuk has been overseeing this project while residing in the US for nearly 2 years. He expressed his dream of offering talented youth worldwide the opportunity to become members of an impressive K-pop group, believing that the US market plays a crucial role in this endeavor.
The audition program attracted applicants from all over the world, with 120,000 individuals applying over the past 2 years. Among them, 70,000 submitted audition videos within a week of the recruitment announcement, showcasing high enthusiasm. The selected debut candidates will go through a 12-week competition, culminating in a live broadcast where the final debut members will be selected.
The competition process, which will be broadcasted globally on YouTube, is expected to be a compelling and engaging showcase of aspiring artists from diverse backgrounds competing and growing within the K-pop production system.
HYBE plans to leverage the infrastructure acquired through mergers and acquisitions (M&A) for this project. Their network, built through the global activities of artists like BTS, Seventeen, TXT, Enhypen, LE SSERAFIM and NewJeans, will be instrumental.
“The Debut: Dream Academy” is seen as a pivotal opportunity to transplant the 30-year legacy of K-pop into the world’s largest pop market, the US. Bang Si Hyuk emphasized that for K-pop to truly become a global mainstream phenomenon, it needs to become “just pop” without the “K”. HYBE explained that this transformation can occur through two avenues: the global expansion of K-pop created in Korea and the establishment of K-pop production systems abroad to tap into local pop markets. They view “The Debut: Dream Academy” as their initial venture into the latter, aiming for a new form of globalization beyond K-pop’s origin.