HYBE, the home of BTS, blew past US $1 billion in revenue for the first time in 2021 thanks to the South Korean entertainment company’s acquisition of Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings.
Formerly known as Big Hit Entertainment, HYBE posted revenue of $1.06 billion, up by 58% from 2020 and 114% greater than 2019. At the same time, operating profit lifted to $158 million, up 30.8% from the prior-year period.
Ithaca Holdings helped HYBE’s album sales grow about 110% in 2021. Sales of HYBE’s Korean artists grew 18% to 15.1 million (in South Korea only). Ithaca Holdings contributed 7.5 million album equivalent units by SB Projects artists, mostly from Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, and another 4.8 million album equivalent units from Big Machine (HYBE’s earnings release gave U.S. sales only).
Gains were reported across its activities, which include merchandise, concerts and more. The albums segment — recorded music — grew 41% to $440.6 million and was the largest segment with 30% of total revenue. Contents grew 120% to $311.2 million and was 29% of company-wide revenue. Concerts rebounded from a big drop in 2020 and grew 884% to $38 million but was still well below 2019’s $161 million.
Last year, HYBE acquired Ithaca Holdings and combined the two companies’ broad range of services, including management, label services and publishing, for an impressive roster of marquee global artists, such as K-pop supergroups BTS, TXT and Seventeen, and U.S. pop stars Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, among others. Also included in the deal was Big Machine Label Group, which sold its prize assets, Taylor Swift’s recorded music catalog, to Shamrock Capital in 2020.