BTS Agency Hybe Acquires Quality Control, Aims to Build ‘A Truly Global Entertainment Platform’

hybe quality control acquisition
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hybe quality control acquisition
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(l to r) Hybe chairman Bang Si-Hyuk, Quality Control CEO Pierre “P” Thomas, QC COO Kevin “Coach K” Lee, and Hybe America CEO Scooter Braun. Photo Credit: Eric Ray Davidson.

After spearheading a number of expansion initiatives during 2022 – when K-pop mainstay BTS formally split – Hybe has officially acquired Quality Control.

Seoul-headquartered Hybe just recently announced its purchase of Atlanta-based Quality Control (QC), and the deal arrives only weeks after Scooter Braun became the lone CEO of Hybe America. (Hybe’s formal release rather directly notes that this is “the first initiative orchestrated by Scooter Braun as sole CEO of HYBE AMERICA.”)

Founded by Pierre Thomas and Kevin Lee in 2013, Quality Control bills itself as “an independent entertainment empire.” Besides releasing projects from commercially prominent acts such as Migos, Lil Baby, and Lil Yachty on the label side, Quality Control operates Solid Foundation Management as well as a film unit and a sports division.

Bearing in mind these varied holdings and Quality Control’s strong focus on hip-hop, Hybe emphasized that the reportedly $300 million buyout represents one component of its “larger vision” to establish “a truly global entertainment platform that is rooted in music.”

Moreover, Hybe – which purchased Ithaca Holdings from Braun and The Carlyle Group back in April of 2021 – is now describing itself as “a global entertainment lifestyle platform company that seeks boundless expansion in order to innovate the music industry.”

And on this front, the publicly traded entity (which has already moved to create stateside K-pop groups) likewise took the opportunity to touch upon overarching plans to build out its “robust tech portfolio.” The latter includes Weverse, a fan-centered social platform that more than a few BTS diehards have used.

Meanwhile, Thomas and Lee in statements made clear their own international-expansion visions, referring specifically to helping QC artists find new fans on the world stage by leveraging Hybe’s resources.

“HYBE are perfect partners for Quality Control as we come together to take our story and work global,” Thomas communicated in part. “All of HYBE’s leaders are entrepreneurs with phenomenal, combined history finding talent and taking it to the highest levels. Taking QC worldwide requires key partners like this who understand building something from the bottom and aiming sky high.”

Needless to say, it’ll be worth monitoring the commercial results, collaborations, and promotional undertakings that Hybe’s Quality Control acquisition produces moving forward.

More broadly, BTS’ agency isn’t the only company in South Korea (where music sales are growing rapidly) that’s looking to capitalize upon a strong domestic foundation with ambitious expansion initiatives. To be sure, Seoul-based Beyond Music closed out 2022 by unveiling a deal for the catalog of songwriter Greg Wells in its “first major U.S. acquisition.”

“Now is the time to become a global music rights management company by securing not only Asian, but also international music rights,” said Beyond CEO Jangwon Lee, who also rolled out a K-pop ETF via a business called Contents Technologies last year.