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SM Entertainment Co., Ltd. (Korean: SM엔터테인먼트) is South Korea's largest entertainment company, founded in 1995 by Lee Soo-man. The company has developed and popularized numerous K-pop stars with huge global fandoms. SM is known for having led the global K-pop phenomenon and the musical side of "Hallyu", also known as the "Korean Wave". Representative of the entertainment industry in Asia, the company operates its own comprehensive entertainment business including artist development, record label services, talent agency services, music production, music publishing, event management, and concert production.

The label is home to prominent K-pop artists such as Kangta, S.E.S., BoA, TVXQ!, CSJH The Grace, Super Junior, Girls' Generation, J-Min, Shinee, f(x), Zhou Mi, Exo, Red Velvet, NCT, and produced and popularized artists like H.O.T., Fly to the Sky, Shinhwa, TraxX, and Henry Lau. It also manages a number of actors, including Kim Min-jong and Lee Yeon-hee. In Japan, SM Entertainment co-publishes Avex Trax releases for artists including Ayumi Hamasaki, Namie Amuro, and Koda Kumi, as well as Johnny's Entertainment artists such as Arashi and KAT-TUN.

In 2015, SM Entertainment had reported revenues of KR₩325 billion (approximately US$287 million) and a net income of KR₩21.7 billion (US$19 million).


1989–2000: Creation and first generation artists

After graduating from California State University, Northridge in the United States, Lee Soo-man returned to Korea and in 1989 established what was then known as "SM Studio" in the Apgujeong neighborhood of Gangnam, Seoul. In February 1995, the company changed its name to SM Entertainment and set up its capital fund.[10] SM then developed an in-house production system and created a string of successful artists, including boy band H.O.T. in 1996, girl group S.E.S. in 1997, boy band Shinhwa in 1998, R&B duo Fly to the Sky in 1999, and soloist BoA in 2000.

Jung Hae-ik was appointed CEO at the time of SM Entertainment's official reestablishment in 1995, and was succeeded by Kim Kyung-wook in 1998.

2000–2005: Affiliations and second generation artists

The early 2000s saw the disbandment of both H.O.T (in 2001) and S.E.S (in 2002). Shinhwa departed to a new agency, and new acts like the duo Isak N Jiyeon and the boy band Black Beat failed to attain the popularity of previous SM artists. In December 2000, SM established an affiliate company called Fandango Korea. In January 2001, the company founded an overseas division, SM Entertainment Japan. Around the same time, the company was approved for listing on KOSDAQ, and SM established an affiliation with the Japanese major label Avex Trax. SM also formed the subsidiaries BM Entertainment and Cid. K Entertainment (under which the girl groups M.I.L.K. and Shinvi were signed, respectively), but they later dissolved when their groups disbanded.

In late 2002, SM was awarded the Grand Prix of Ministry of Culture and Tourism for the Culture Contents for Export Award in music.

In 2003, SM became affiliated with Starlight Corporation Ltd. and C-Cube Entertainment Corporation. That same year, the company debuted five-member boy group TVXQ. The following years saw the debuts of artists such as TRAX (2004), The Grace (2005), and Super Junior (2005). 2005–2010: Expansion and international artists In 2005, Kim Young-min became the company's third CEO, under whom several artists debuted with a view to promoting outside of South Korea. Artists produced by SM during this period included Chinese-born soloist Zhang Liyin (2006), Japanese-language soloist J-Min (2007), Girls' Generation (2007), Shinee (2008), and f(x) (2009). In April 2008, SM debuted a Mandarin-language sub-unit of Super Junior, named Super Junior-M. In October 2008, SM announced plans for BoA's debut in the American market, under a newly formed subsidiary label named SM Entertainment USA.

In May 2008, the SM Art Company opened under co-CEO Pyo In-bong, with a focus on producing theatrical works. The company's first venture was a production of the American musical comedy Xanadu, starring Super Junior members Heechul and Kangin.

2010–2012: Joint and further ventures

In February 2010, after two decades on SM Entertainment's board of directors, founder Lee Soo-man resigned from his position in order to "focus more energy on SM's overseas business, new business management, and artist development.” In March of the same year, KMP Holdings was established as a joint venture between SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, Star Empire, Medialine, CAN Entertainment, and Music Factory. The firm's first release from SM was Super Junior's fifth studio album, Mr. Simple, which marked the end of SM's self-distribution. In May, SM announced its highest ever first quarter operating profits, at KR₩10.4 billion, up 471% from the same period the previous year. Gross revenue was reported at KR₩22.7 billion, a 58% increase on the previous year.

In April 2011, SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, KeyEast, AMENT, and Star J Entertainment came together to form United Asia Management, a joint investment agency geared towards advancing Asian music worldwide. That August, SM joined with Thai media company TrueVisions to create an international joint venture, SM True.

In 2012, SM debuted the large-scale boy group EXO, split into two units in order to promote in Korea and China simultaneously. In February, SM acquired Hawaiian travel firm Happy Hawaii and launched SMTown Travel, a new business initiative specializing in travel and tourism under Kang Jung-hyun. Later that year, SMTown Travel offered package deals for overseas fans attending Super Junior's Super Show 4 Tour encore concerts in Seoul. In March, 47 of SM Entertainment's recording artists became stockholders of the company. Kangta, BoA, and most members of Super Junior and Girls’ Generation received 680 shares each (with a value of approximately US$27,200 per person), while members of more recent groups like Shinee and f(x) received 340 shares each (with a value of around US$13,600 per person). In August, SM held an art exhibition at the COEX Convention & Exhibition Center, and collaborated with Visa and KB Kookmin Card to begin printing SM artist cards. That same month, Korean TV personalities Kang Ho-dong and Shin Dong-yup announced that they had signed exclusive contracts with SM's new broadcasting subsidiary, SM Culture & Contents (SM C&C), marking SM's expansion into television. The next month, in September, SM C&C merged with AM Entertainment (which then represented top actors such as Jang Dong-gun, Kim Ha-neul, and Han Ji-min), and two other TV personalities, Lee Su-geun and Kim Byung-man, announced that they had also signed with SM. In November, KMP Holdings was acquired by KT Music, and in June 2013, KT Music absorbed KMP's distribution network.

2013–present: Third generation artists and ScreaM Records

In 2013, SM C&C acquired Hoon Media (a production company led by Lee Hoon-hee, responsible for KBS serials 1 vs 100, Heroines 6, Qualifications of Men, and Music Bank) and Woollim Entertainment, a record label responsible for artists such as Infinite. In January 2014, SM and the other six talent agencies behind KMP Holdings formed a collective bond partnership and bought 13.48% of KT Music's stocks, leaving parent KT Corporation with 49.99%. In February, SM acquired a share in Baljunso, an indie record label founded in 1991 by Kang Byung-yong. On August 1, SM debuted Red Velvet, its first girl group since f(x) five years prior.

In August 2015, SM partnered with sports marketing company IB Worldwide to create Galaxia SM, responsible for golfer Park In-bee, gymnast Son Yeon-jae, and Choo Shin-soo, right fielder for the Texas Rangers. On November 6, the 10th anniversary of Super Junior's debut, SM announced the creation of the group's own sub-label, Label SJ. In late 2015, SM partnered with modeling company ESteem to promote self-owned content and network. The venture later expanded its acting division through the acting debuts of models Ki Do-hoon and Lee Cheol-woo.oo. In January 2016, founder Lee Soo-man held a conference at the SM Coex Artium, announcing plans for a new boy group, NCT (Neo Culture Technology), with "unlimited members". The first unit of this group, NCT U, released its first two singles in April 2016. At the beginning of the year, the company opened a restaurant, SMT Seoul, and also established a series of stores selling branded foods under the name SUM Market.

On February 11, 2016, the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group acquired a 4 percent minority stake in SM Entertainment for US$30 million.

On May 5, 2016, SM released the first single under its newly established EDM label ScreaM Records, "Wave", featuring f(x) members Amber and Luna and produced by Xavi & Gi and E-mart's Electro Mart. ScreaM Records opened as part of SM's New Culture Technology 2016 project, under which SM also initiated the digital music channel SM Station and a number of mobile apps. In late 2016, SM began organizing a League of Legends tournament called SM Super Celeb League, in which SM artists Heechul and Baekhyun played against both professional gamers and fans from South Korea and China.

On February 16, 2017, a source from the task force in charge of the international K-pop academy has plans to open this upcoming September. The Gangnam-based academy is a collaborative venture with the private Jongro Sky Academy. Plans for the school to be certified as an alternative program for domestic Korean middle and high school education, as well as US secondary school education, are also underway.In March 2017, SM acquired the independent record label Mystic Entertainment, becoming the label's largest shareholder.In February 2019, SM opened its Indonesian office in Jakarta.

On August 8, 2019, SM and Capitol Music Group – which earlier signed NCT sub-unit NCT 127 in April 2019 – announced SuperM, a supergroup consisting of Taemin from Shinee, Baekhyun and Kai from Exo, and Taeyong, Ten, Lucas and Mark from NCT units NCT 127 and WayV, in the 2019 Capitol Congress event in Los Angeles. The group will make their American debut in October 2019.


  • There are allegations that SM Entertainment mistreat their idols.

This page was created by Flugmented on October 6, 2019.  

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