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Hybe, the Korean music and entertainment firm, achieved record revenues in the first half of the year as album sales climbed and live performances took off. This was achieved despite the hiatus being forced on BTS, the company’s most famous K-pop act, by its band members’ military enlistment.

On Tuesday, Suga, who had his first solo music tour earlier this year, became the third member of BTS to begin his compulsory military service. He follows Jin who signed up in December and J-Hope, who enlisted in April. All able-bodied men in Korea are required to perform 18-21 months of military service.

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Other BTS members are keeping active before their call-up. Tuesday also saw BTS member V (real name Kim Taehyung) announce a six-track album “Layover” that will launch on Sept. 8. The 1970s romantic soul-style album saw collaboration with ADOR’s Hee Jin Min and is to be released by HYBE ’s Big Hit Music.

Hybe revealed that it had notched a 29% increase in revenues to KRW1.32 trillion ($1 billion) and a 7% increase in operating profit to KRW 134 billion ((.85 million) in the first six months of the year.

Net profit increased 8% to KRW140 billion ($106 million) and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation depreciation and amortization) notched up 4% to KRW179 billion.

All-time high half-year revenue was attributed to exceptional album sales, with artists under Hybe’s labels selling 22.7 million units during the January-June period. That was higher than Hybe’s full year 2022 album sales total. 

The top line was also boosted, from the second quarter onwards, by inclusion of hip-hop record label QC Media Holdings, acquired by Hybe in March. The unit is responsible for global talents including Lil Baby and has established a strong presence in the U.S. hip-hop scene.

Revenue from live performances experienced significant growth of 85%, “signaling a gradual return to normalcy in the tour industry,” Hybe said. The period included Suga’s tour another by Tomorrow X Together and Seventeen’s fan meetings. The increase in live performances equally drove up tour merchandize sales.

After the reporting period, Hybe’s technology unit Weverse Company achieved 10 million monthly active users (MAUs) on its platform as of July. Weverse also has more than 100 million cumulative app downloads, which the company claims as record for the industry. “Its success can be attributed to its super-app strategy, offering merchandize, original content, fan-to-fan, fan-artist interaction and its global live-streaming service, which has amassed over 1.4 billion views including replays,” Hybe said.

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