HYBE invests more in AI audio tech start-up Supertone, becomes largest shareholder


K-pop powerhouse HYBE bought 37.9 percent more shares of artificial intelligence (AI) audio tech start-up Supertone, becoming the largest shareholder with a 56.1 percent share in total.

HYBE acquired 18.2 percent of the tech startup for 4 billion won ($3.25 million) in 2021. On Tuesday, the company bought the additional shares for 45 billion won, giving it the majority share in the start-up company.

Established in March 2020, the company is primarily recognized for its voice restoration technology. It has restored the voices of deceased singers such as Kim Kwang-seok, Kim Hyun-sik, Yu Jae-ha and Yim Yun-taek.

Supertone generates an artificial voice by combining detailed elements of a human voice such as tone, accent and audio capacity, allowing the technology to create countless numbers of new voices that can be used across a variety of fields.

Supertone CEO Lee Kyo-gu [SUPERTONE]

“Supertone’s AI audio technology may be applied in all steps of content production from planning, production, editing and distribution,” said Supertone CEO Lee Kyo-gu. “Although we initially started to showcase our technology in the music realm, we are now being recognized by creators from multiple fields such as film, animation, audiobook and games.”

“Supertone has rapidly advanced and achieved technological achievement in the two years since HYBE first invested in the company,” said HYBE CEO Park Ji-won. “We have high hopes to showcase future content which will be the outcome of collaboration between Supertone’s AI audio technology, which allows for highly realistic vocal expressions in singing and acting, and HYBE’s production capacity.”