SM Entertainment Founder Lee Soo-man Talks About The Metaverse And His “Future Vision Of K-Pop” Soompi

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Lee Soo-man, founder and chief producer of K-Pop giant SM Entertainment, spoke at Stanford University on Friday (May 20) at a conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the University of Korea’s Korean program. Stanford.

SM Entertainment performers include artists like aespa, as well as NCT, Red Velvet, SUPER JUNIOR, and EXO, whose member Suho also spoke at the event.

Other participants in the conference included former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former UN Ambassador Kim Sook and former EU Ambassador Park Joon-woo.

Lee’s speech centered on the “Future Vision of K-Pop,” in which he broke down the concepts of what he calls the “Play2Create (P2C)” ecosystem, in which he encourages fans, or “prosumers.” , to create content using SM. related intellectual property (IP) to generate revenue.

He says that in this blockchain-based ecosystem, which he says is part of a “new” creator economy, “anyone can use original content IPs to enjoy and create new [content] again through recreation and generating income”.

The SM Founder added, “Original content will be turned back into recreable content. [sic] that prosumers can create again, and will become the foundation for many future artists, creators and prosumers striving to fulfill their dreams of innovation and creation.

He also elaborated on “the universe of SM culture” (SMCU).

SMCU is a character driven universe that resembles cinematic universes like those created by comic book giants Marvel or DC

In June 2021, SM Entertainment CEO Sung Su Lee Explain that it “can be considered the metaverse of SM, inviting K-pop fans around the world to enjoy our music and stories through various platforms”.

Elsewhere in the speech, Lee recounted his roots as an “early mover” in the K-pop business and how the music grew globally. He also shared his predictions for the genre and Korean popular culture as a whole as it continues to gain popularity around the world. He refers to the globalization of K-Pop as “Hallyu”.

SM’s founder told the audience that “from the beginning, K-Pop’s goal was globalization,” and that he established SM Entertainment in 1989, “with the belief that the past history of ‘the economy first, the culture that follows “may instead become ‘Culture first, economy second’.

He explained that he then developed what he calls a ” [production] and management system” for Sm Entertainment artists.

“If you dream alone, it’s just a dream, but if we dream the same dream together, it’s the beginning of a new future. This is how we started to expand overseas.

Lee said he then “discovered and produced global stars from individuals with potential and created content called SM Pop, known today as K-Pop, and told our SM employees in 1997 that ‘Now we’re going overseas’.”

Lee added, “If you dream alone, it’s just a dream, but if we dream the same dream together, it’s the start of a new future. This is how we started to expand overseas.

“In the process of expanding the spectrum of activities and territories from Asia to Europe to the United States, I have focused on making Hallyu not just a mere form of export, but a movement continuous world that can accumulate national wealth.I have worked to become the first to move.

MBW listened to his whole speech. Here are a few things that stood out…


Lee Soo-man says “culture technology” – a term he coined – is K-Pop’s “growth engine”…

Lee Soo-man explained, what he says is “the systematic approach of SM”. [production] and management system.

He says he coined the term “CT” to describe this system. It stands for ‘Culture Technology’ and he says it allows his organization to ‘evolve in a systematic way’.

Lee further explains that he “decided to codify the entire process of culture production into a form of technology by creating a formula and manualizing it, while permanently recording its development process as well as the knowledge and the skills involved.

“SMS [production method] became a model for K-Pop production.

Lee added that he organized the system into four stages, namely casting, training, content production and marketing. “With this, I developed my own [production method] called Culture Technology, which systematized the management system,” he said.

He further explained that this so-called “CT” system is the “growth engine of K-Pop” and is also “the fundamental operating system of SM Entertainment.” Through the process he developed, he asserts that “K-Pop has become a form of multidisciplinary artistic content that is global”.

Lee added, “Now not only Korea’s artists and content, but its [production] The system has also received a lot of attention globally.

“SMS [production method] has become a model for K-Pop production, and SM’s CT will develop into [the] CT of the world. The future of cultural technology is the fundamental vision [of] SM entertainment. And now I’m building a new culture ecosystem by evolving CT from a culture creation technology to a culture ecosystem creation technology.


The founder of SM claims that “by combining blockchain and metaverse technology”, the company’s content will “transcend time and space”…

In October, we wrote on how the SM Cultural Universe (SMCU)a character driven universe akin to cinematic multiverses like those created by comic book giants Marvel or DC, is central to SM’s content strategy.

In his speech last week, Lee commented further on his vision for SMCU. He explained that within the cultural universe of SM, “all the ‘worldviews’ of SM artists will combine”.

He added that this “worldview, vision and plan” is what SM has been preparing for for a long time, “with the hope that K-Pop and Hallyu will not just be a generational craze, but content that is loved forever”.

“By combining blockchain and metaverse technology, SM’s content will grow into content for everyone, and transcend time and space to bring to life this future era of entertainment that connects across culture.”

Lee further explained that he coined another term, “the metaversal origin story” and that he “prepared the origin stories and worldviews of [SM’s] artists for a long time.

Lee added, “All of our SM artists’ worldviews will come together in a large-scale virtual worldview called ‘Metaversal Origin Story.’

“By combining blockchain and metaverse technology, SM’s content will grow into content for everyone, and transcend time and space to bring to life this future era of entertainment that connects across culture.”


He believes the so-called “Play2Earn” and “Play2Create” business models will be part of a new creator economy, where fans can generate revenue using the IP provided by SM.

Lee talked about what he calls the “Play2Create era” and the “Play2Earn” model. The SM founder wants fans to create their own content inspired by SM content and generate revenue in the process.

He said during his keynote that “we live in a metaverse where prosumers can voluntarily recreate and distribute content” and argued that, “through the recreation of [content] by these prosumers, who participate and create as creators, the value of [the] original content increases”.

“Just like how culture began and evolved as we moved from an agricultural society to a more stable economy, playful activities will soon become creative activities in the age of P2C.”

In February, SM Brand Marketing (SMBM), a subsidiary of SM Entertainment, signed a memorandum of understanding with cryptocurrency exchange Binance to build a “global partnership” to establish, what they call, a global Play2Create (P2C) ecosystem.

The partnership will begin in the NFT sector, allowing fans to “recreate content and products in the form of games, music, dance and goods”, using “the tools and intellectual property provided in e-commerce platforms and metaverse”.

SM explained in February that this will allow “users to make profits while gaining recognition for their [own] originality”.

In his speech at Stanford, Lee said, “The Play2Earn model – playing games and making money – more common in blockchain, is a model that is just the beginning stages of the web and the metaverse.”

He added, “Just like how culture began and evolved as we moved from an agricultural society to a more stable economy, fun activities will soon become creative activities in the era of P2C.”The music industry around the world

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