Billboard, Kakao sign strategic partnership ahead of Billboard Korea's first issue

Heads of Billboard, Billboard Korea and Kakao Entertainment, from left: Mike Van, president of Billboard; Yuna Kim, publisher and CEO of Billboard Korea; and Joseph Chang, co-CEO of Kakao Entertainment [KAKAO ENTERTAINMENT]

Billboard signed a strategic partnership with Kakao Entertainment on Thursday, the first official collaboration between a K-pop company and the U.S. music giant. The deal came ahead of Billboard Korea's first magazine, which will be published on a yet undisclosed date in June.

The heads of Billboard, Billboard Korea and Kakao Entertainment signed the contract at Kakao Entertainment's office in central Seoul. Mike Van, president of Billboard, Yuna Kim, publisher and CEO of Billboard Korea, and Joseph Chang, co-CEO of Kakao Entertainment, participated in the signing ceremony.

Kakao Entertainment is the second largest shareholder of SM Entertainment, after Kakao, and the largest stakeholder of K-pop labels including Starship Entertainment, IST Entertainment, EDAM Entertainment and Antenna. It also owns Melon, the largest domestic music streaming platform, and multiple content production companies.

The three companies will join forces to spread the Korean music genre throughout the global market through "various efforts and projects," according to a joint press release by Billboard Korea and Kakao Entertainment.

A trilateral effort will be made to promote K-pop artists, their music and other intellectual property (IP) content in overseas markets. The companies will also seek to create "a new business model using the best of Kakao Entertainment's music production abilities and Billboard's rich data and global influence," according to the three companies.

"This deal will work as the opportunity for K-pop and K-entertainment to take a greater leap around the globe," Kakao Entertainment's Chang said.

"Kakao Entertainment will prove the global competitiveness of K-pop to the global market and continue in its endeavor to grow the K-pop industry."