Big Hit Entertainment is the largest entertainment company in South Korea, mainly dedicated to the management of kpop groups. It was founded in 2005 by Bang Si-hyuk and currently manages numerous artists including the successful group BTS, TXT and Lee Hyun, among many other Kstars.
As of July 2019, Big Hit has a subsidiary label called Source Music, through which it manages kpop groups such as GFriend.
Big Hit Entertainment was founded exactly on February 1, 2005 and began its prolific career as a manager of Kpop groups with the vocal trio 8Eight, consisting of Lee Hyun, Baek Chan and Joo Hee, in 2007.
In 2010, Big Hit Entertainment and JYP Entertainment teamed up to jointly manage boy group 2AM. That same year, Bang Si-hyuk started auditioning all over South Korea and signed RM (known as Rap Monster), as the first member of BTS, who was then followed by the other members of the group that everyone knows by now. BTS first debuted under the Big Hit label in 2013.
In 2012, BTS signed Lim Jeong-hee, and formed the girl group GLAM, for which they teamed up this time with Source Music company. This group was active until 2014, when it disbanded due to the controversy caused by one of the members, Kim Da-hee, who was sentenced to prison after being accused of blackmailing actor Lee Byung-hun. Over time, Kim Da-hee was identified as a sasaeng fan, a dangerously obsessive fan capable of anything.
In April 2014 and after the end of the existing contract between Big Hit and JYP Entertainment, three of the members of 2AM returned to JYP, while Lee Chang-min stayed with Big Hit to pursue his solo career and as part of the duo Homme. That year also saw the dissolution of 8Eight after Baek Chan and Joo Hee’s contracts with Big Hit ended.
In May 2015, Signal Entertainment Group (Signal), a company listed on KOSDAQ (Korea’s stock exchange) that specializes in artist management and television production, acquired Big Hit for the sum of KR₩ 6 billion. Signal also owns Better ENT, the agency founded by actor Song Seung-heon, as well as Jungle Entertainment, another famous record label.
In May 2015, Lim Jeong-hee finally parted ways with Big Hit Entertainment, following the expiration of his three-year contract with the agency.
In early 2017, BigHit ended its relationship with Signal Entertainment Group, and issued a 6 billion won convertible bond in favor of Signal Entertainment Group.
In February 2018, Homme dissolved after Lee Changmin’s contract came to an end. The latter left the company to form his own agency, while Lee Hyun continued as a solo artist. In October of the same year, Big Hit Entertainment announced that BTS would renew and extend their contract for another seven years.
In March 2019, former Big Hit CBO Yoon Seok-jun was appointed co-CEO of Big Hit Entertainment alongside Bang Si-hyuk. Since then, Yoon has focused on the business components of the company, while Bang has focused on creative production.
In 2020, BigHit and CJ ENM established a joint venture called Belift+. This new venture held a survival reality show called I-LAND, and formed a new group of now very famous guys, known as ENHYPEN.
The value of Big Hit
In 2007, Big Hit Entertainment was on the verge of bankruptcy, but thanks to the success of the first kpop groups 8Eight and 2AM, Bang was able to keep the company afloat and later, in 2013, created the group that would bring him worldwide fame: BTS.
According to sources who have studied the growth of a BIg Hit over the years, the current total value of the company is estimated to be approximately KRW 1Trillion or $891.5 million.
Many believe that Big Hit’s success is due to the fame it has achieved in both the Western and Eastern markets, Big Hit’s relatively lenient policies towards the creativity of its idols, and the innovative musical styles they have always worked on.
Currently, Big Hit Entertainment operates as a private company where Bang Si-hyuk remains Big Hit’s largest shareholder. In March 2017, Korean mobile gaming company Netmarble acquired the second largest percentage of the company, paying at the time the sum of KRW 201.4 billion or $191.8 million, thus acquiring 25.71% of the company. As a curious fact, Netmarble’s CEO, Bang Joon-Hyuk, and Bang Si-hyuk are cousins.
In March 2018, Big Hit made its earnings public for the first time, reporting revenues of KRW 92.4 billion or $82 million. If Big Hit were to enter a public offering, the company itself could be worth as much as KRW 700 billion or $624 million, potentially unseating the very powerful SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and YG Entertainment. This would make Bang the richest man in the South Korean entertainment business.
In August 2018, Big Hit Entertainment and CJ E&M, another Korean entertainment agency, announced plans to create a joint venture, filed under the name Belief. This venture will reportedly be split 52% for CJ E&M, and 48% for Big Hit, with CJ E&M’s recent foray into idol production TV shows, such as Produce 101, and Big Hit’s growing global auditions likely to be the new path the company will tread.
In October 2018, private investment firm STIC Investments received a reported 12% stake in Big Hit Entertainment, an investment of approximately KRW 104 billion or $93 million.
In March 2019, the company released its 2018 audit report, showing a 132% increase in sales, compared to 2017, earning profits of close to KRW 214.2 billion, or about $189.38 million. In this way they obtained a 97% increase in operating profit for the year worth KRW 64.1 billion or USD 56.72 million, and a 105% increase in net profit worth KRW 50.2 billion or USD 44.41 million.
Big Hit and its subsidiaries
Big Hit Entertainment Japan Inc.
Big Hit Entertainment America Inc.
Big Hit Labels
- Belift Lab (2018–present) (co-managed by CJ E&M)
- Source Music (2019–present)
- Pledis Entertainment (2020–present)
- KOZ Entertainment (2020–present)
Big Hit Business
beNX Co., Ltd. (2019–present)
- beNX Japan Inc. (2019–present)
- beNX America Inc. (2019–present)
Big Hit Three Sixty Co., Ltd. (2019–present)
Big Hit IP Co., Ltd. (2019–present)
Superb Co., Ltd. (2019–present)
Borijin Co., Ltd. (2019–present)
TNDJ INC. (2019–present)
What Kpop groups are under Big Hit
8Eight (2007–2014, 2020–present; co-managed by Source Music)
New Boy Group (debut in 2022)
Lee Hyun (2009–present)
Agust D (2016–present)
Kim Tae-hyung (2016–present)
David DH. Park
Source Music Groups
New Girl Group (debut in 2021; co-managed by Big Hit)
Belift Lab Groups
Byun Eui Joo
Cho Jae Ho
Choi Se On
Chu Ji Min
Jo Kyung Min
Jung Jae Beom
Kim Tae Yong
Kim Yoon Won
Lee Geon Woo
Lee Young Bin
Noh Sung Chul
Pledis Entertainment Groups
Zhou Jie Qiong (2018–present)
Huh Yun Jin
KOZ Entertainment Groups
2AM (2010–2014, co-managed by JYP Entertainment)
GLAM (2012–2015, co-managed by Source Music)
Lim Jeong-hee (2012–2015)
Changmin (2010–2014; 2015–2018)
This artists never debuted under Big Hit Entertainment but were part as traineers.
Ahn Hyeong-seop (Hyeong Seop)
Choi Ik-je (i11evn)
Hwang Eun-bi (GFRIEND’s SinB)
Jeong In-seong (KNK’s Inseong)
Jin Hyo-sang (Kidoh)
Jo So-jin (9MUSES’s Sojin)
Jung Hun-cheol (Iron)
Jung Eun-bi (GFRIEND’s Eunha)
Jung Woo-young (ATEEZ’s Wooyoung)
Kang Yeo-sang (ATEEZ’s Yeosang)
Kim Joo-mi (LADIES’ CODE’s Zuny)
Kim Min-seok (ONF’s Laun)
Kim Sang-gyun (JBJ95’s Sanggyun)
Lee Jun-sang (PLT’s June), he participated in writing and composition of some BTS’ tracks.
Lim Sung-bin (Beenzino)
Lee Su-woong (Boys Republic’s Suwoong)
Park Chae-rin (Cherry Bullet’s Chae Rin)
Park Seo-ham (KNK’s Seoham)
Shin Dong-hyuk (Supreme Boi), still under Big Hit Entertainment as producer.
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