S. Korean Artist Management Firm Hybe Eyes Expansion into NFTs
South Korea-based Hybe Co. is planning to expand its marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) by collaborating with celebrities not managed by the company.
Hybe - one of South Korea’s top K-pop management agencies - manages pop superstars like BTS and Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and J Balvin through its U.S. branch- will partner with Dunamu for this venture.
Dunamu runs South Korea’s largest crypto exchange and will create a new platform for the sale and trade of NFTs, starting with photo cards of Hybe artists, including BTS members.
Although payment methods for buying and selling NFTs on the new platform have not been decided yet, Hybe’s NFT business is expected to debut in the first half of next year.
Hybe said in an interview with Bloomberg that the project will be based in the U.S. and may expand to include artists not managed by the firm and potentially even athletes.
Physical products such as BTS photo cards and sports trading cards are already booming in popularity, so NFTS would potentially hold more value. Each digital card will come with a unique identifier, giving it scarcity in the virtual world.
Hybe’s share price went up 10% last week following an announcement of the new NFT business and a related partnership with a metaverse company.
To build a stronger connection with its millions of fans worldwide, Hybe is working on expanding across genres and formats.
“As we prepare to enter the NFT business sustainably, we will directly participate in the operation and implement fan-oriented policies,” Hybe said in response to Bloomberg’s questions.
As NFTs grows in popularity, many artists have sold hundreds of artworks and made money through easy peer to peer transactions.
Other Independent Artists
Drawing parallels with Hybe’s push into the market for digital assets during a time when the U.S. music industry is seeking new monetization methods after taking a heavy hit from the pandemic - which has forced musicians to cancel concert tours - many independent artists have also chosen to venture into this new world by putting up their artwork for sell via various exchange mediums, such as Opensea.
Meanwhile, Malaysian singer and songwriter, Namewee, who recently caused controversy and political sensitivity with his latest song- “Fragile”, has created his own NFTs with a personal intention of “Using NFTs to Fight the World”.
The artist said that his idea behind opening an NFT account was “to counter the intermediaries” and secure ownership of artworks.
Namewee was captivated by the fact that NFTs were safe from censorship, and no authority, including himself, could ban or revoke the content once someone purchases it.
In relation to his theme of using NFT as a stand against the world order, the artist took 20 pictures of him making rude gestures at banking cooperations and commercial enterprises. These pictures were then uploaded on his NFT channel and were sold out within three hours.
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