Hybe Reports Q1 Revenue Decrease Amid Light Release Schedule, Still Targeting 30% Increase in New Albums for 2024

hybe earnings
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hybe earnings
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Illit, a newly developed girl group from Hybe’s Belift Lab. Photo Credit: TV Ten

Hybe (KRX: 352820) has posted its financials for Q1 2024, when revenue slipped 12.1% year over year (YoY) due in part to a 21.3% YoY falloff in recorded music.

The professional home of BTS, Illit, Le Sserafim, and more unveiled the first-quarter performance specifics today, amid a much-publicized showdown with its Ador subsidiary. (During the Q1 earnings call, Hybe higher-ups addressed the matter only briefly and opted against answering questions on the subject.)

According to the Q1 earnings breakdown, Hybe generated $263.46 million (₩360.92 billion) during the three-month stretch, reflecting a 40.7% quarterly decline.

Behind that sum, the ASTRA: Knights of Veda publisher pointed to $158.37 million (₩216.98 billion) in “artist direct-involvement” revenue, which decreased 7.5% YoY and 48.1% quarterly. That category includes recorded music ($105.93 million/₩145.13 billion, down 21.3% YoY), concerts ($32.14 million/₩44.04 billion, down 74.5% YoY), and ads and appearances ($20.31 million/₩27.82 billion, up 11.4% YoY).

Regarding the recorded dip, Hybe in the earnings call noted the many projects that are expected to release later in the year, among them RM’s Right Person, Wrong Place on May 24th. All told, execs are anticipating a 30% YoY boost in 2024 album releases.

Also worth highlighting is that streaming accounted for almost half Hybe’s Q1 2024 recorded revenue – a significant stat given the strong physical sales attributable to the company and K-pop generally.

Shifting to the artist indirect-involvement category, Hybe identified $105.06 million (₩143.94 billion) in revenue, down 18.3% YoY and 24.4% quarterly.

Therein, merchandise and licensing contributed $44.34 million/₩60.75 billion (down 11.9% YoY), contents brought in $44.72 million/₩61.27 billion (down 29.8% YoY), and Weverse fan-club revenue totaled $15.99 million/₩21.92 billion (up 9.8% YoY but down 22.7% quarterly).

On the Weverse front, bearing in mind BTS members’ military enlistment, MAUs fell to 9.2 million, down from 10.1 million in Q4 and marking the lowest total since 2022. Now featuring non-Hybe artists as well, the superfan-monetization platform suffered a noticeable falloff in average revenue per paying user, with a less pronounced decrease in “payment amount trend.”

Elsewhere during the concise Q1 2024 earnings call, Hybe acknowledged that more Universal Music artists could arrive on Weverse moving forward; UMG’s Conan Gray joined in March, and the major label has for some time underscored its fan-monetization ambitions. Bigger picture, K-pop itself is in many ways diversifying beyond the core genre; Hybe has a presence in hip-hop with Quality Control and in Latin with Exile Music.

When trading wrapped, Hybe stock was worth an even $146 (₩200,000) per share, reflecting a less than 1% loss on the day as well as an over 17% decline from 2024’s beginning.