Columbia Records, Kakao Entertainment America Partner on K-Pop Group IVE

Kakao Entertainment America and Columbia Records have partnered to co-manage K-pop girl group IVE, it was announced on Thursday (March 23).

The collaboration is expected to boost IVE’s presence in the North American market, with Columbia, a subsidiary of Sony Music, supporting their upcoming album, “I’ve IVE,” due out April 10.

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International distribution will be handled by The Orchard, an arm of Sony Music, with Columbia leading local marketing and promoting the album, which will begin with the pre-album release of the single “Kitsch,” dropping March 27.

IVE is produced by Kakao Entertainment subsidiary, Starship Entertainment.

Columbia’s roster includes many popular artists, including Harry Styles, Lil Nas X, Miley Cyrus and Beyoncé.

“This partnership aims to expand Kakao Entertainment’s music distribution network and elevate its position in the global market by leveraging Columbia Records’ unparalleled expertise in the North American music business,” reads a statement from Kakao released on Friday morning in Korea.

Since their debut in 2021, IVE have steadily become one of K-pop’s rising stars, with a trio of consecutive hit singles — “Eleven,” “Love Dive” and “After Like” — which have resulted in numerous accolades and millions of albums sold. “I’ve IVE” is their first full-length album.

“We’re thrilled to be embarking on IVE’s global journey with Columbia Records, a company with a rich history in pop music,” said Joseph Chang, head of Kakao Entertainment America. “This partnership holds significant meaning for us. By strengthening the production and distribution capabilities of our music and artists in North America, we look forward to increasing the global competitiveness of Kakao Entertainment’s music business.”

The move comes shortly after Kakao Entertainment’s public fight for control of historic K-pop company SM Entertainment, which is home to many popular Korean acts, including NCT 127 and NCT Dream, aespa, EXO, and many more.

Kakao Entertainment, a subsidiary of South Korean tech giant Kakao, has grown in recent years, expanding its reach and publicly stating its intention to focus more on global audiences as Korean pop culture’s presence has expanded internationally through the success of recent films, television shows, and musical acts.

In recent years, both SM and Kakao have focused on creatively expanding IP related to K-pop talent. SM recently announced NCT 127 will feature in a graphic novel, “Limitless.”

Along with IVE, Kakao Entertainment’s talent under a variety of subsidiaries are expected to also look to international markets. Other popular K-pop acts, including Monsta X and IU, are also under the Kakao banner.

Per the announcement: “With Kakao Entertainment America as the center of the operation, the company plans to implement a comprehensive management system to support its artists’ overseas tours, promotions, and album releases in partnership with leading global entertainment companies, and seek diverse collaboration to expand its music investment and distribution businesses.”

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