SM Entertainment Co., the South Korean company that pioneered the K-pop genre three decades ago, unveiled a new seven-member boy group named Riize in its first band debut in three years.
(Bloomberg) — SM Entertainment Co., the South Korean company that pioneered the K-pop genre three decades ago, unveiled a new seven-member boy group named Riize in its first band debut in three years.
SM’s latest ensemble held a showcase in Itaewon, Seoul, to launch their first album Get a Guitar, in what the studio behind Shinee and Girls Generation said was a major step toward expanding globally.
Made up of six Koreans and one Japanese member, ages 19 to 22, Riize will devote itself to the music subgenre of emotional pop.
The band’s launch comes on the heels of a fierce power struggle between SM’s board and founder Lee Soo-man, who tendered his stake to arch-rival Hybe Co. — the talent agency behind hit group BTS. SM fended off Hybe’s takeover attempt after a month-long bidding war by teaming up with South Korea’s internet giant Kakao Corp.
Along with entertainment unit Kakao Entertainment Co., Kakao now holds about 40% of SM.
Riize — shorthand for “Rise and Realize” — has signed a contract with Sony Music Entertainment’s label RCA Records, which houses artists such as Justin Timberlake and Doja Cat, SM said.
The boy band is SM’s first major production without its charismatic founder Lee, who was criticized for exerting excessive control over artists’ projects and causing release delays. SM has said Kakao’s investment will help expedite new band and album launches that’d boost its sales and profits.
Securing a globally popular franchise is key for Kakao Entertainment, which is considering an initial public offering and is backed by the sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and Singapore. Kakao Entertainment and SM plan to collaborate on content through a joint corporation they set up in North America in August.
(Updates with details on Riize’s record contract from the sixth paragraph)
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