Saturday, April 20, 2024

Don’t Believe the Hype About HYBE, Scooter Braun and K-Pop: Records Sales and Popularity in the US Are Not So Hot


In the continuing saga of Scooter Braun losing a raft of stars from his management company there’s been spin about his role at HYBE.

HYBE is the Korean company that bought Braun’s SB Projects last year. They manage all the big K-Pop stars like BTS and its various solo members. Braun became the CEO of HYBE US, and a big deal was made of that.

But the truth is, K-Pop records don’t sell a lot of records in America. So the idea that Scooter is leaving the management of a half dozen superstars for the world of KPop is absurd. To wit: this year the big HYBE hit has been a song called “Seven” by Jung Kook of BTS. Total US sales so far: 700,000 streaming equivalent. Only 200,000 paid down loads.

So let’s get a grip.

Other HYBE acts so far this year sold even less: BTS sold 800,000 streaming, just 234K in downloads. And it’s just like that for Jimin, another BTS member, and a girl group called New Jeans.

Those numbers are a fraction of their hype, and also minor numbers compared to what Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and so on would sell if they were properly managed.

Meantime, HYPE bought SB Projects because they thought they were doing business with the manager of the aforementioned acts. If they’re gone, what interest would HYBE have in Scooter and his company?

So don’t believe the hype about HYBE even if they told a Korean journal they sold 55 million albums total so far this year. That’s all over the world, and maybe even including other planets.

PS Jung Kook’s EP, released today, and containing the hit single, is stuck at number 27 on iTunes. Fans who wanted that song have already downloaded or streamed it.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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