The Successful Multimedia Powerhouse Company Dominating South Korea: S.M. Entertainment

Name : S.M. Entertainment
Founded : 1989
Founder : Lee Soo-man
CEO : Kim Young-min
Industry : Entertainment
Sector : Public
Country : Korea, South


The people always long for entertainment. WIthout having something to entertain the masses, the majority of people would be lifeless, lethargic, uninspired, and soulless. Entertainment can bring so much to humans, it makes us laugh, cry, sing, dance, scared, and many more. When something entertains us, we would usually follow it and look for more of it, We would look far and wide to have more of it, to have that which can bring us life, to move our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. To give us a connection with other people that we have never had before, to give us an interest we can all talk and share about. That is what entertainment is to us human beings.

So let us take a look at S.M. Entertainment. They are a South Korean entertainment company that was founded back in 1989 as S.M. Studio until 1995. It is currently one of the largest entertainment companies across the country of South Korea. The company has many operations such as a record label, talent agency, music production company, event management and concert production company, and music publishing house. It is also the home of many prominent K-pop artists such as BoA, Kangta, S.E.S., TVXQ, TRAX, The Grace, Super Junior, Girls' Generation, SHINee, Henry, f(x), Zhou Mi, EXO, Red Velvet, NCT as well as actors like Kim Min-jong and Lee Yeon-hee.

Foundation and K-Pop Storms

Just after graduating with a computer engineering course from California State University, Northridge back in the United States, Lee Soo-man went back hom to South Korea and established SM Studio in Apgujeong-dong, Gangnam, Seoul in 1989. He created the company due to him having a front row seat at the music revolution known as MTV. MTV was making bands become visual as much as they are musical. From the start he saw S.M. as an something that would build actors and actresses rather than simply sign them.


In 1995, the business changed its name to S.M. Entertainment and assigned Jung Hae-ik as CEO.. The agency developed an 'in-house' production system or a sort of boot-camp style training system if you will and produced a string of successful artists including boy group H.O.T. in 1996, girl group S.E.S. in 1997, Shinhwa in 1998, and R&B duo Fly to the Sky in 1999. The company was responsible for kicking off the K-Pop phenomenon in the 1990s. Kim Kyung-wook then succeeded Jung Hae-ik CEO of the company in 1998. During the 90s SM Entertainment perfected the model for churning out acts that easily got in to the Top 40 charts and pack the concert halls all across Asia.

Expansion and Future Generations

During the early 2000s, the company saw the disbandment of both H.O.T back in 2001 and S.E.S back in 2002, as well as the departure of Shinhwa to a new agency, and in the following years, their new groups had failed to attain the popularity of previous S.M. artists. In 2001, the company expanded for the 1st time internationally to Japan when they founded S.M. Entertainment Japan. In 2003 the company debuted five-member boy group TVXQ. The succeeding years saw the debuts of various artists such as TRAX in 2004, The Grace in 2005, and Super Junior in 2005.


When Kim Young-min became the company's third CEO in 2005, several artists debuted with their sights set to promoting outside of their native South Korea. Artists debuting under S.M. at this time were the solo singer of Chinese descent Zhang Liyin in 2006, Japanese-language soloist J-Min in 2007, Girls' Generation in 2007, SHINee in 2008, and f(x) in 2009. In April 2008, Super Junior-M was formed, they are a Mandarin-language subunit of Super Junior. In October 2008, S.M. announced plans for a debut in the United States for BoA under the subsidiary label SM Entertainment USA. In May 2008 Pyo In-bong was appointed as co-CEO when the SM Art Company was formed, they were aiming to produce musical and theatre works. Its 1st production was of Xanadu, which starred Super Junior members Heechul and Kangin.


In a similar manner to South Korea's manufacturing conglomerates, Lee came to a realization that there was more profit awaiting them abroad. As the Korean Wave swept through all of Asia, S.M. jumped ship, thus becoming the 1st Korean label to join the cast of the entertainment industry overseas. Today S.M. oversees their overseas offices in Japan, Hong Kong, China, Thailand and the U.S., and they have also made language lessons an important part of their training programs.

Impact, Influence and Legacy

Throughout the years S.M. Entertainment has produced so many boybands, girl groups, individual artists, and etc. But the quality in which they produced has irritated some people. To the artists that wanted to be viewed by the world as artists, they became teen idols with very pretty faces that kept on doing pop music. However they could not deny what S.M. did for them. They were trained hard and became something special through that experience they had, they have stated that S.M. knew exactly how to find an artist's inner talent.


While the pretty faces of K-Pop has enjoyed highly laudible success in Asia, it does not reciprocate the same way in the Western markets. They have been described as trying too hard, too controlled, because the big companies that control them only see music as a product rather than an artform where the artist can fully grow to become something beyond K-Pop. In the west they are only seen as a fad especially for the younger audience, they whittle down fast and can't pick themselves back up most of the time.


S.M. Entertainment has definitely enjoyed their success throughout the years and will most likely continue to do so. They are the ones that started the K-Pop wave that has many teenagers listening in frequently and imitating their dance moves and songs. Though they may have problems happening here and there, especially internally and with their K-Pop groups breaking up every now and then, they are really grounded in their strengths like talent acquisition, training of artists, and creating a constant stream of hits in the local and international market. S.M. is a powerful force in the entertainment industry on a global scale so just listen to the beat of their tune.




















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