Miriam Krule ’18
Chazen South Korea
SEOUL–It’s been a bit more than 48 hours since our group touched down in Seoul (and became #CBSSeoulMates), so it’s no surprise that we already got Gangnam Style down. In our first two days we met with a representative from YG Entertainment (the home of PSY and his record-breaking music video), experienced an authentic night of passionate karaoke, and spoke with startup founders in Seoul’s answer to Silicon Valley, Gangnam Valley.
A small group of us interested in media had the chance to speak with a member of the global investment team at YG Plus, a division of YG Entertainment. Unlike in the U.S., South Korean record labels generate revenue from all commercial activities of their artists (like concerts), not just the record sales. While this seems to work in South Korea, in the pre-visit case we read, this model was compared to what Motown was like in the late 1960s, when companies owned artists’ likeness and artists were not very pleased with that situation. On the other hand, it also pointed out that Lady Gaga has a “360-degree deal,” which is similar to what YG Entertainment offers. This difference is one of the many important things YG has to think about as it begins plans for expansion into the U.S. The representative spoke candidly with us about these plans and how it might affect YG’s existing Korean fan base. We also learned about some quirks of the Korean music business. One fun fact: All Korean music is released at 12 a.m. so that fans can listen right away and the song can immediately top the charts that day.
In continuing on our musical theme, I was going to tell you a bit about our evening of karaoke, but I think it’d just be best to leave you with this video:
The next day started in Gangnam Valley. We visited Maru 180, a startup incubator and co-working space. (It’s been compared to WeWork, but it also has the added benefit of built-in VC support.) We met with a representative from SendBird, an in-app messaging solution that offers SDKs and APIs for a diverse array of clients. He told us about everything from their work on “conversational commerce” to the challenges of having live chat replace commenting on videos. The presentation generated a lot of interest from our group and I’m excited to follow their progression over the next year as they seem to have a lot of big things in store.
Afterward we were ready for some shopping in, you guessed it, Gangnam:
We started our first full day at the Kia car factory, which was especially interesting to first-years who had just completed their core operations course:
We ended our second day of company visits at the Line Friends store in Itaewon where we all became fans of Big Brown, including our three fearless leaders: