South Korean music company HYBE, home of K-pop giants BTS and Seventeen, has made its first entry into the Latin music sector with the acquisition of Exile Music, the music division of Spanish-language studio Exile Content.
HYBE said HYBE Latin America will incorporate K-pop business methods and focus on artist management and talent discovery across the Latin genre. The new unit will be led by Kah Jong-Hyun, a former executive at YG Entertainment, who joins as CEO. Exile Content founder Isaac Lee will become chairman of HLA’s board. Financial details of the deal between HYBE and Exile Content — a unit of Blackstone-backed media company Candle Media — have not been disclosed.
Since launching in 2022, Exile Music has produced an original series for HBO Max called Vgly, and co-executive-produced, licensed and marketed the show’s soundtrack. Exile’s agency division also had three of its clients — Quevedo, Monsieur Periné and KHEA — appear on Billboard’s 23 Best Latin Albums of 2023 list.
HYBE Latin America will serve as “a move to accelerate our presence in the Latin music market,” the company said.
U.S. Latin music revenue increased 15% to a record high of $627 million in the first half of 2023, according to the RIAA. Streaming drives a dominant portion of the genre’s growth, accounting for 98% of revenue, and Latin music’s share of all U.S. recorded music revenue stands hit 7.5% in the first six months of the year.
In a disclosure earlier this month, HYBE said third-quarter revenues grew 20.7% year-over-year to 537.9 billion won. Out of that total, 264.1 billion won ($201 million) was from music sales and 86.9 billion won ($66 million) from concert revenue. Two of its most recent U.S.-based acquisitions, hip-hop label Quality Control and country powerhouse Big Machine Label Group, contributed 19% and 27% of HYBE’s streaming revenue for the quarter, respectively.