Who is billionaire Bang Si-hyuk, the mastermind behind K-pop’s BTS?
He struck gold after forming one of K-pop’s most lucrative idol groups, BTS. Here are six things to know about the record executive.
South Korean music producer, composer and record executive Bang Si-hyuk is known as the mastermind behind K-pop sensation BTS, after bringing the boy band together in 2013. He’s the founder and CEO of Hybe (formerly Big Hit Entertainment), the agency that manages the group.
The 48-year-old is a relatively new billionaire, after his wealth soared following the much-anticipated IPO of Hype in October last year. He’s now made his debut on Forbes’ Korea Rich List, ranked at number 16.
Here are six things to know about the music mogul.
HE STARTED HIS CAREER AS A MUSIC COMPOSER
Bang was educated at Seoul National University, where he studied aesthetics. Before embarking on his career as a record executive, Bang was an artist first.
He joined JYP Entertainment (one of the big three South Korean entertainment agencies) in 2007 as the company’s main producer and songwriter. While at JYP, he produced and composed for Rain, Wonder Girls, 2AM, Baek Ji-young and more.
He left JYP in 2005 to launch his own company – Big Hit Entertainment.
HE’S KNOWN AS ‘HITMAN’ BANG
Bang’s stage name is "Hitman" Bang, a nickname that originated from his time at JYP. As a producer and composer, he was known for his nose for hitmakers, hence the moniker.
This stage name was also what inspired his company name Big Hit Entertainment, before it rebranded to Hybe in March this year.
HE ACQUIRED JUSTIN BIEBER, ARIANA GRANDE’S RECORD LABEL
In April, Hybe acquired Ithaca Holdings, the US record label led by Scooter Braun that manages Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, J Balvin and more. The deal was worth US$1 billion, Bloomberg reported.
The acquisition of Ithaca is the first major foray into the US market for Hybe. “The inevitable joining of Hybe and Ithaca Holdings marks the start of a new adventure no one could have possibly imagined,” Bang said in a statement. “The two companies will work closely together leveraging our proven track records of success, know-how, and expertise to create synergy, transcend borders and break down cultural barriers.”
HE’S WORTH US$2.9 BILLION
Bang only became a billionaire in October last year, after the public listing of Hybe. So, just how rich is he?
According to Forbes, Bang’s net worth stands at US$2.9 billion (S$3.8 billion). His wealth soared after the announcement of Ithaca Holdings' acquisition. As a newly-minted billionaire, Bang has also made his debut on Forbes’ Korea Rich List unveiled on Jun 2, ranking at number 16.
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HE’S INSPIRED BY JEFF BEZOS
What has been the key to Bang’s mega-success all these years? Listening to the fans, of course. In a 2019 interview with Fast Company, Bang said that he draws inspiration from Jeff Bezos’ customer obsession when it comes to Amazon.
“I don’t read a lot of books by business leaders or CEOs, but I recently read something by Jeff Bezos about this obsession with the customer. We have always focused on the content and the fan,” Bang said.
HE HAS A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH BTS MEMBERS
If you’re wondering about Bang’s relationship with the boys of BTS, he’s reportedly very close to them.
In particular, Jin is supposedly “best friends” with his boss. In March this year, Jin uploaded a series of photos and videos on WeVerse (Hybe’s social media app), showing the CEO making him a home-cooked meal.
Prior to the label’s IPO, Bang gifted all members of BTS shares in the company, making each of them multi-millionaires after the listing. The shares were given “to strengthen long-tern partnerships with major artists and boost morale”, the company said at the time.