HYBE announced Monday (Sept. 17) that a dozen solo artists and music groups on the SM Entertainment roster will join its global fan community platform, Weverse, in September. Those artists, who have not yet been named, will move to Weverse from SM’s own fan community platform, Kwangya Club.
In addition to connecting with fans via services including Weverse Live, the 12 SM artists will also be featured on the e-commerce platform Weverse Shop, where fans can buy albums and official merchandise.
The Weverse deal derives from a platform partnership struck between HYBE, SM and Kakao Entertainment in March after HYBE fell short of its mission to purchase a controlling stake in SM. HYBE, home to K-pop superstars BTS, was blocked in its efforts by rival bidder Kakao, a South Korean tech company that owns Monsta X‘s label Starship Entertainment and Korean music streaming platform Melon. The battle ended when HYBE agreed to sell its entire SM stake to Kakao; days later, it sold 1.66 million SM shares to Kakao for 248.8 billion won ($191.8 million), amounting to 44% of its total shares in the company and increasing the stake of Kakao Corp. and its subsidiary, Kakao Entertainment, to nearly 40%. HYBE retains an 8.8% stake in SM.
Later in March, SM appointed Jang Cheol-hyuk as the company’s new CEO, succeeding outgoing CEO Lee Sung-soo, and named a new board as the company vowed to improve corporate governance and its production system, which had fallen behind rivals like HYBE in recent years and led to investor scrutiny.
Weverse claims approximately 65 million subscribers across 245 countries and regions globally.