K-Pop Publishing News - SM / Kreation Music Rights

SM Entertainment (SM) has announced that its music publishing subsidiary Kreation Music Rights (KMR) has launched full-fledged business operations. KMR was established in September 2023 and has since been focused on recruiting top-talent and building systems.

Music publishing is the business of contracting with songwriters (composers and lyricists) and supplying songs to entertainment companies, drama and film studios, game companies, advertising agencies, and other places that need songs. In other words, if SM's core business is artist management, KMR's business is songwriter management.

KMR's top priority is to recruit top global songwriters, not just within SM Entertainment’s network, but also those that work across other major labels. To this end, KMR has signed contracts with a total of 86 songwriters in the five months since its establishment. In December 2023, KMR also established a European subsidiary to recruit talented creators in the region.

KMR's strategy is to expand its reach to Europe by signing writers who have worked on songs for SM and K-Pop artists for many years, including world-renowned creator teams such as Dsign Music (Girls' Generation's "Genie", NCT Dream's "ISTJ") and Sunshine (Red Velvet's "Psycho", NCT 127's "Highway to Heaven", aespa's "Spicy").

KMR also plans to enter the North American market by establishing a North American subsidiary and partnerships. Through these efforts, KMR aims to maximize its synergy with SM and quickly secure market dominance in the K-POP market. SM has stated that it plans to grow KMR into a leading music publishing company in Asia within the next five years.

In addition to its own contracted writers, KMR currently consists of three production teams: MonoTree (led by chief producer Hwang Hyun), The Hub (led by chief producer Brian You), and SMASH HIT (led by chief producer Kangta). These teams are structured as CICs (company in company) under KMR, and KMR plans to expand the number of CICs through new partnerships and investment.

MonoTree, which consists of domestic A-List trio of Hwang Hyun, Yoo Ji-sang (G-HIGH), and Lee Joo-hyung, was acquired by KMR last year and has since added five more writers to its roster, bringing the total number of contracted songwriters to 33. MonoTree has released 603 songs on 46 labels since its establishment in 2014. Producer Hwang Hyun has composed many hit songs, including IVE's "KITSCH/Not Your Girl", Seventeen's "Good to Me", ONF's "The Wind Blows", and Lee Joo-hyung's "Tattoo" and Tomorrow by Together's "No More".

The Hub is a production team led by Brian You consists of diverse and young team members. It is a rising team that has shown an average annual sales growth rate of ~53% from 2020 to 2023. Since joining KMR, The Hub has added five more producers, bringing the total number of writers to 13. Of the songs released by The Hub in the past four years, 29 have been released as title tracks by popular K-pop artists. In particular, You recently composed NMIXX's "Soñar(Breaker)" and "Break The Wall".

SM stated that KMR will create great synergy by integrating the pitching networks and administration systems of each team after the acquisition of MonoTree and The Hub. The number of songs confirmed for use by MonoTree and The Hub this year is 35 and 33, respectively, and KMR expects both CICs to reach its highest sales ever.

KMR has also signed Kim Woo-jin, a former SM trainee and Stray Kids main vocalist, as its first artist. KMR plans to release Kim Woo-jin's first album in April and debut two or more new artist teams this year. KMR acquired the exclusive contract rights for artist Kim Woo-jin when it acquired the business of 10X Entertainment last year.

SM stated that its main goal for this year is to recruit top global songwriters and that it plans to solidify SM's "multi-label" strategy as part of its SM 3.0 strategy by entering the artist management business based on KMR's many producers and excellent production capabilities.