Music

HYBE Revenue Soared in 2023, Led by Strong Album Sales from Seventeen & NewJeans

Strong album sales by K-pop groups Seventeen, Tomorrow X Together and New Jeans helped Korean music company HYBE enjoy record revenue of 2.18 trillion won ($1.67 billion), up 22.6%, in 2023, according to the company’s latest earnings report.

HYBE’s album sales from its Korean artists nearly doubled to 43.6 million last year from 22.2 million in 2022, while album sales accounted for 44.6% of total revenue, up from 31.1% the prior year. In Korea, Seventeen led the way with 15.9 million album sales (HYBE’s earnings release cited numbers from Circle Chart, which tracks sales only in Korea). Tomorrow X Together sold 6.5 million albums and NewJeans sold 4.3 million albums. 

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Streaming revenue got a boost from the company’s acquisition of Atlanta-based hip-hop label Quality Control in February 2023. Revenue from HYBE’s U.S. record labels — Quality Control as well as Big Machine Label Group — grew 70% to 150 billion won ($114.9 million) and accounted for nearly half of HYBE’s streaming revenue growth for the year. Streaming revenue from the company’s Korean labels outside Korea also performed well last year, increasing 102% to 107 billion won ($81.9 million). Within Korea, streaming revenue from those labels increased only 64%, however, to 41 billion won ($31.4 million). 

Concert revenue increased 39.1% to 359.1 billion won ($275 million) and accounted for 16.5% of total revenue, up from 14.5% in 2022. Much of that was due to volume, as HYBE had 125 concerts from seven touring artists in 2023 compared to 78 concerts from four touring artists in 2022.

Most other revenue sources declined year-over-year. Ads and appearances fell 12.3% to 141.9 billion won ($109 million). Merchandise and licensing dropped 17.7% to 325.6 billion won ($249 million). Content sank 15.1% to 289.9 billion won ($222 million). One bright spot was fan clubs, which increased 35.9% to 91.2 billion won ($70 billion). 

Company-wide gross profit improved 19.7% to 1 trillion won ($773 million), lower than revenue’s 22.6% growth rate because cost of sales rose 25.2% (gross profit is sales minus cost of sales). Sales, general and administrative expenses increased only 17.7%, however, which helped operating profit improve 24.9% to 295.8 billion won ($227 million). Net profit soared 288% to 186.5 billion won ($143 million). 

Korea’s share of HYBE’s revenue increased from 33% in 2022 to 36% in 2023. Japan’s share of revenue also increased, from 28% to 31%. North America fell from 32% to 26% despite the addition of Quality Control. 

The Weverse social media platform ended the year with 10.1 million monthly active users (MAUs) in the fourth quarter, down from an all-time high of 10.6 million MAUs in the third quarter but well above the 8.5 million MAUs in the fourth quarter of 2022. Weverse finished the year with 122 artist communities, up from 71 at the end of 2022.

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