Although South Korea has been praised for implementing some of the best COVID-19 prevention strategies in the world, the pandemic is showing no signs of disappearing just yet. Thankfully, despite in-person concerts being an impossibility right now, online concerts are booming—so much so that the Korean government plans to invest in them.
The unprecedented success of online concerts this year may be changing the live music industry forever. Back in June, BTS‘s Bang Bang Con: The Live drew in 756,000 viewers across the world, generating around $20 million USD in revenue.
On top of that, SM Entertainment has made leaps and bounds with their Beyond LIVE series, which blends online concerts with augmented reality. So far, seven acts from the company have held Beyond LIVE concerts for hundreds of thousands of viewers. Super Junior‘s Beyond the Super Show, for example, drew in 123,000 viewers for a total of $3.3 million.
Since then, the company has partnered with JYP Entertainment to create the Beyond Live Corporation—a venture dedicated solely to global online concerts. With such high success in this brand new industry, it’s no surprise that the government is looking to support its growth.
On September 7, South Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance announced that they will be increasing the budget to promote the “Korean Wave” (also known as “Hallyu Wave”) in 2021 by a staggering 42.7%. Next year, ₩696.1 billion KRW ($584.8 million USD) will be allocated to Korean cultural exports such a K-Pop.
Of that amount, the government plans to spend ₩29 billion KRW ($24.5 million USD) to help K-Pop groups hold online concerts. Part of the strategy includes building a venue specifically for hosting and recording online concerts.
While many bigger companies are already reaping the rewards of online concerts, this investment will likely enable smaller agencies to do the same. Given that some K-Pop groups, such as NeonPunch, were forced to disband this year after their company’s lost money during the pandemic, online concerts could be crucial to the survival of many acts.