IVE 2023 North America debut

Kakao Entertainment accelerates global expansion in partnership with Sony Music, beginning with IVE's North America debut. Kakao Entertainment announced a new partnership with Columbia Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music, through Kakao Entertainment America. 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.

The partnership kicks off with the global management of one of Starship Entertainment's rising stars, IVE. With IVE's first full-length album titled 'I've IVE (I Have IVE)' set to be released on April 10th, the partnership will support the global music distribution, local marketing, and promotion of the album in North America as well as the group's pre-release track 'Kitsch' to be released on March 27th.

Since debuting in December 2021, IVE has become a K-pop powerhouse group, with consecutive hits such as "ELEVEN," "LOVE DIVE," and "After LIKE." Together, these three singles have already sold more than three million copies. Furthermore, in just two years since the group's debut, IVE has won 74 Korean and international music awards. IVE started its global activities by releasing the Japanese version of 'LOVE DIVE' last year in addition to holding concerts in Japan. With the release of this first full-length album, the group plans to expand its global reach, especially in North America.

Following IVE's North America debut, Kakao Entertainment will continue to support the growth of its artists' overseas careers while accelerating the global expansion of its music business. In addition to Starship Entertainment, Kakao Entertainment has various leading labels such as IST Entertainment, Antenna, and EDAM as subsidiaries, and popular k-pop artists. With Kakao Entertainment America as the center of the operation, the company will 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. In addition, Kakao Entertainment will pursue synergies within its vast IP value chain that connect music, story, and media businesses in collaboration with Tapas Entertainment, North American subsidiary in the story sector. The goal is to expand the company's influence as a global entertainment company representing K-culture and solidify its presence and status in the global market.

Joseph Chang, Head of Kakao Entertainment America, expressed excitement about the partnership with Columbia Records, saying "we're thrilled to be embarking on IVE's global journey with Columbia Records, a company with a rich history in pop music. This partnership holds significant meaning for us." He added "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."

Ear Up Music and Fashion Extravaganza

Following the success of cross-disciplinary "Music x Fashion x Heritage" online performance during the pandemic, "Ear Up Music", a music label established by the Renaissance Foundation Hong Kong, presented "Ear Up Gig On 2022", a crossover performance between music, fashion, and modish styles on stage during the "Ear Up Music Festival 2023" in January 2023 to bring the audience a delightful new audio-visual experience to start the year. Sponsored by Create Hong Kong of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 8 indie music units paired up with 8 most sought-after local designer brands from the Hong Kong Design Centre's Fashion Incubation Programme (FIP) and the Design Incubation Programme (DIP) to showcase the boundless imagination of the city's new indie music scene along with unique fashion designs to invigorate the spirit of local creativity.

Participating indie music performers and local designer brands:

Merry Lamb Lamb x Christian Stone

Merry Lamb Lamb is a local electronic musician with a talent for dynamic melodies and sweet styles. She collaborated with designer Christian Stone, the founder of the fashion brand "Christian Stone". With distinctive designs in bold, playful styles, wild silhouettes, and futuristic forms, this crossover created a new image for Merry Lamb Lamb's cute and vintage character, and brought people an exciting sense of a maverick with a diverse aura.

Higgo Raj x Kowloon City Boy

Higgo Raj is a new indie music producer, also known as a singer, lyricist, composer, model, and host. With a strong rhythmic style and a distinctive sound that embraces everything from "Indie Pop" to "Big Chaos", Higgo teamed up with Toki Wong, the designer of the fashion brand "Kowloon City Boy" to dress up his latest "Electric Love" collection as an introduction to his performance. Higgo explained: "We think modern love is rather like e-sports, communicating in short messages. We wrestle with our exchanges and immerse ourselves in this ambiguous and exciting performance like online dating."


METER ROOM is famous for its Noise Rock music style which is dominated by strong emotions and invariably described as flickering lights in the dark. The band collaborated with Wilson Choi, the designer of "REDEMPTIVE" for the show. Defining the brand as a group of rebellious teenagers concerned about the world and society, Wilson hopes to raise awareness of some unseen and unheard social issues through the design, while still outputting positivity and energy, offered a visual and auditory feast interlaced with music and fashion to audience.

Gordon Flanders x WILSONKAKI

Gordon Flanders is a 23-year-old Hong Kong R&B singer who just returned from studying in Japan and is well regarded for his romantic music. While collaborating with Wilson Yip, the designer of WILSONKAKI, Wilson transformed conceptual ideas into clothing through his professional skills and fashion sense and presented an alternative co-creation. Gordon believed that his breakthrough in wearing baggy and oversized outfits on stage would make the visual effect of his performance even more eye-catching.

The Lemon Ones x KEVIN HO

The Lemon Ones music style is fresh and energetic, with a unique style that combines British psychedelic and modern rock – 'as refreshing as lemons' – to lead the audience into a brand-new music experience. Working with Hong Kong-based label KEVIN HO, the designer applied his "Retro-futuristic" style to the performance costumes, bringing out the nostalgia of a past golden era with an eternal elegance. The outcome was an innovative visual style that perfectly matched the music style of the band.

Ragpickers x YMDH

Ragpickers is a unique band that integrates R&B and hip hop with Cantopop in a style that perfectly coincides with Jason Lee, the designer of YMDH, who is known for designing Hong Kong-style street culture fashion. Together, they presented a blue world that belongs to their generation on stage. In addition to Ragpickers' consistent melancholic style, the cooperation with YMDH encouraged the band to dare to try, making music a remedy to stress.


Sound art creator and composer Esther Wu concretises the abstract nature of her music through the fancy, yet classy European style clothing designed by Brun Chan, the designer of ROYKSOPP GAKKAI to construct a new meaning and interpretation to her music.

Andy is Typing... x Nilmance

With alternative rock as its core music style, local indie rock band "Andy is Typing..." believes that music is simply a record of life. The present continuous tense for "Typing..." in its name also suggests "as long as life continues, we will continue to write our stories." In collaboration with men's clothing brand Nilmance that focuses on functional outdoor sportswear, Nilmance designer Mike created a stylish and low-key style that merged with the surging sound of Andy is Typing... that surely offered an explosive experience!

Girl Group tripleS Makes a K-Pop Splash

tripleS, a K-pop girl group with 24 members, has caught attention with its new album “ASSEMBLE”. The eight-track album features the track “Rising”, which was released on February 13th as an EP album.

The fluid nature of tripleS’ composition means a selection of its female stars grace each album release. This selection and creation of sub-groups are determined by the fans through a blockchain-based voting process called “Gravity”. In addition, once a year, an album with all members will be released. “ASSEMBLE” is the first album with all 10 members that have been revealed thus far: SeoYeon Yoon, HyeRin Jeong, JiWoo Lee, ChaeYeon Kim, YooYeon Kim, SooMin Kim, NaKyoung Kim, YuBin Gong, Kaede, and DaHyun Seo.

For “ASSEMBLE”, fans participated by voting for the title track. Voting took place between December 1-8, 2022 on Modhaus’ mobile application “COSMO: the Origin”. Each day, fans were invited to choose one song over the other using a tournament format. In the final round, Song B won and became the lead track of “ASSEMBLE”. During the course of the voting process, approximately 57,340 COMO (or voting tokens) were used.

From Jan 30 to Feb 6, 2023, tripleS, including the Dimension who feature on ASSEMBLE, joined a Modhaus live hangout on Discord. It was the first time members had directly communicated with fans on Discord, making tripleS the first K-Pop group to ever hold a Discord event of this kind. Also, Modhaus is known for filming and uploading “SIGNAL” or vlog-formatted videos on its YouTube channel. Modhaus plans on further enhancing communication via its various social media outlets.

Modhaus CEO Jaden Jeong said: ​​“I’m very confident about the album ASSEMBLE, especially because its title track was solely decided by the fans. This is an unprecedented case of letting the fans listen and decide on the album's main song. tripleS and ASSEMBLE will prove that a fan-centered system is the future of entertainment.”

tripleS is a 24-member K-Pop girl group that uses blockchain technology to enable fans to control various elements of the experience. The fan community has voted to create two subunits of tripleS as well as selecting the main song for the album ASSEMBLE via their own Polygon-based voting mechanism.

Modhaus is a web3 project aiming to promote Korean pop culture via blockchain technology. The company brings fans closer to creators by putting them at the center of the experience. Modhaus seeks to include fans across all stages of production using NFT-powered governance mechanisms.

Top Music Academies

Korea is known for its vibrant pop culture and dynamic music scene. As such, the country’s music academies offer an incredible opportunity to hone your musical skills. From the internationally renowned K-pop Academy to the more traditional Korean Music Institute, Korea’s top music academies provide students with the opportunity to receive world-class training in a variety of music genres. Whether you’re looking to be the next K-pop sensation or just want to learn how to play the guitar, Korea’s music academies are sure to provide you with the skills you need to reach your wildest musical dreams.

Korea’s leading music academies range from universities and colleges to private institutions. The prestigious academies provide students with the opportunity to learn from professionals, gaining experience in the music industry. The curriculum at most academies focuses on both performance and theory, and the quality of instruction is consistently high. With the help of an experienced faculty, students can gain a comprehensive understanding of music theory, composition, and performance techniques.

One renowned music academy in Korea is the K-pop Academy. The academy was founded in 2001 and has since become a leading music institution for aspiring K-pop stars. The academy offers comprehensive education in all aspects of K-pop, including vocals, dance, music production, and songwriting. In addition to regular classes, the academy also hosts workshops and master classes, allowing students to learn from top industry professionals.

Also, Seoul’s National University of Music is among the prestigious music schools in the country. This academy is known for its innovative teaching methods, which combine traditional and contemporary music instruction. The SNU offers a variety of courses and specializations, giving students a comprehensive education in all aspects of music. The institution is a great place to meet and network with other musicians and industry professionals. Whether you're interested in becoming a K-pop star or a classical musician, Korea's top music academies offer an opportunity to hone your skills. With the help of an experienced faculty and the right resources, you can gain the knowledge and experience you need to make your musical dreams come true.

Are you enchanted with Korea’s other great music academies? Unsurprisingly, with the immense popularity of K-Pop and the ever-growing music industry, many aspiring K-Pop singers and musicians are seeking out the best music academies to develop their skills and become successful. We’ve noted that Korea is home to some of the best academies in the world. Also, Korea’s academies are renowned for their strict training regime and production of some of the biggest names in K-Pop. From training in vocal techniques, dance, and language, to gaining knowledge and experience in the music industry, these academies offer a comprehensive and well-rounded education for aspiring K-Pop stars.

Here are Korea’s other top music academies:

YG Entertainment: Located in Seoul, YG Entertainment is one of the most renowned music academies in Korea. It's home to the biggest names in K-Pop, including BIGBANG, BLACKPINK, and WINNER. YG Entertainment offers comprehensive training in vocal technique, dance, and language and provides the opportunity to gain experience in the music industry. SM Entertainment: SM Entertainment is another top music academy in Korea. Located in Seoul, it’s home to some of the most iconic K-Pop groups, including EXO, Super Junior, and SHINee. SM Entertainment is known for its strict training regimen and has produced some of the biggest K-Pop stars in the industry.

JYP Entertainment – Located in Seoul, JYP Entertainment is one of the biggest music academies in Korea. It's home to the biggest brands in K-Pop, including TWICE, GOT7, and DAY6. JYP Entertainment provides comprehensive training in vocal technique, dance, and language, as well as providing the opportunity to gain experience in the music industry. FNC Entertainment – FNC Entertainment is a top music academy in Korea located in the Gangnam district of Seoul. It's home to the biggest names in K-Pop, including FTISLAND, AOA, and CNBLUE. FNC Entertainment offers training in vocal technique, dance, and language, as well as provides the opportunity to gain experience in the music industry.

These are only a few of Korea’s top music academies that enthusiastic K-Pop singers and musicians can consider. With the right education, dedication, and hard work, these academies can help them become the K-Pop star they’ve always wanted to be.