Who Is Bang Si-hyuk - The Brand-New Billionaire Behind K-pop’s BTS?
On 6th April 2021, FORBES released their “World Billionaires’ List” which included the “Ten New Billionaires from IPOs in 2021” The annual report had been completed on 18th March 2020. FORBES reported that the number of billionaires on Forbes’ 35th annual list of the world’s wealthiest exploded to an unprecedented 2,755-660 more than a year ago. Of those, a record high 493 were new to the list roughly one every 17 hours, including 210 from China and Hong Kong. Another 250 who’d fallen off in the past came roaring back. A staggering 86% are richer than a year ago.
Bang Si-hyuk is among the 10 of the most notable moguls who joined Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list this year 2020 thanks to a traditional IPO; net worths are as of March 5, 2021. Bang Si-hyuk takes #7 of the top 10. #1 on the list is Canadian Pan Dong, CEO of Blue Moon Group Holdings in China, she is the richest female newcomer on the list worth $8.3 billion.
Bang Si-hyuk: Biography
Bang Si-hyuk (born August 9, 1972) is a Korean record executive, songwriter, producer, and founder of Big Hit Entertainment. He is currently best known for being the man behind the hottest K-pop boy band, BTS.
Born and raised in Seoul, Bang’s dream to pursue music began early in childhood when he started learning several instruments, but his choice of career was not supported by his parents. He was more encouraged to focus on his school studies instead and was educated at Seoul National University, majoring in Aesthetics.
In 1994, while he was still at university, Bang entered the Yoo Jae-ha Music Contest and was awarded Third Prize. This eventually paved the way for him to work in the music industry.
Bang Si-hyuk: Career Beginnings And Rise As A Producer
Bang Si-hyuk’s career began at Seoul National University, where he began songwriting.
Bang debuted as a composer while in college. He met Park Jin-young during the mid-1990s, and the pair often partnered together as a songwriting duo. When Park founded his company JYP Entertainment, Bang joined him as a composer, arranger, and producer. One of their early successes was the first-generation group g.o.d. They were largely responsible for the production of g.o.d's debut album Chapter 1, with Park serving as the producer and primary songwriter while Bang arranged the instrumentation and music. Some of g.o.d's most famous songs whose soundtrack was arranged by Bang include "One Candle" and "Road". His stage name "Hitman" originated from this period, when g.o.d enjoyed success as one of the country's best-selling and most popular boy bands of the early 2000s, earning himself and Park the reputation as "hitmakers". Besides g.o.d, Bang has also produced or composed for artists such as veterans Im Chang-Jung and Park Ji-Yoon, singer-actor Rain, groups Wonder Girls, 2 AM and Teen Top, R&B singer Baek Ji-young and many others.
Bang Si-hyuk: Big Hit And BTS Success
In 2005, Bang left JYP Entertainment and founded his own company Big Hit Entertainment, which later became home to boy bands BTS and TXT. He continues to write, compose and produce, and most recently co-wrote six songs in BTS' critically acclaimed album Wings, released in October 2016. The success of Wings garnered him the Best Producer Award at the Mnet Asian Music Awards and the Songwriter Award at the Melon Music Awards that year. In June 2018, he was named one of the International Music Leaders by Variety due to BTS' achievements.
In October 2020, Big Hit made its stock market debut, with shares opening at 270,000 South Korea Won (approximately $235) – double its initial public offering price of 135,000 South Korea Won ($117) per share. Bang Si-hyuk’s 36.6% stake is now worth 3.14 trillion South Korea won (approximately $2.8bn), reportedly making him the sixth richest person in Korea.
Bang featured in the 2020 edition of Variety’s Variety500, an annual index of the 500 most influential business leaders in the global media industry, and won Best Executive Producer of the Year at the 2020 Mnet Asian Music Awards.
In 2016, BTS’ second full album, Wings peaked at number 26 on the Billboard 200, which marked the highest chart ranking for a K-pop album.
In Korea, Wings became the best-selling album in the Gaon Album Chart history and BTS was awarded Artist of the Year at the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards.
In 2017, Love Yourself: Her, debuted at number 7 on the Billboard 200, marking the highest rank for any Asian artist in history.
The group also managed to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time with the album’s title track, DNA which entered at number 85 and peaked at number 67. Remix version for Mic Drop, by Steve Aoki and Desiigner, was released as the second single, peaked at number 23 in Korea and number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Due to the immense success of the record, Bang was given the Best Producer Award at the Mnet Asian Music Awards and the Songwriter Award at the Melon Music Awards.
When asked about the secret to BTS’ success, Bang revealed that the reason was due to the social networking service.
BTS has a huge worldwide fan base; people have retweeted or liked their posts on Twitter more times than President Donald Trump and Justin Bieber combined.
During a speech for 2017 MAMA, Bang stated, “BTS actively communicates through social media with the people who use this platform. This process allows people who didn’t know about BTS to take an interest. BTS is a good example of changing the flow of social media.”
Bang received a Presidential Citation for his contribution to cultural exchange and is reported to have donated the earnings to charity.
Bang Si-hyuk: Personal Philosophy
Bang Si-hyuk has spoken about the root causes of BTS’ popularity and how he has steered the group as a producer, but modestly attributes their success to luck.
He told Time: “I fundamentally believe BTS’ success in the US had a lot to do with luck. It wasn’t my brilliant strategy or BTS being such a perfect fit for the US market. It was rather that their message resonated with a certain demand, and through digital media, it spread quickly. And BTS touched something that wasn’t being addressed in the US at the time, so American youths reacted, and that was proven through numbers.”
Bang has described himself as an “old-school producer”, adding: “I place a lot of importance on the quality of the album. So I led an album-focused production. With good music and communication, the sales can follow.”
Bang Si-hyuk: Acquired Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande's Record Label
In April, Hybe acquired Ithaca Holdings, the US record label led by Scooter Braun that manages Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, J Balvin, and more. The deal was worth US$1 billion, Bloomberg reported.
The acquisition of Ithaca is the first major foray into the US market for Hybe. “The inevitable joining of Hybe and Ithaca Holdings marks the start of a new adventure no one could have possibly imagined,” Bang said in a statement. “The two companies will work closely together leveraging our proven track records of success, know-how, and expertise to create synergy, transcend borders and break down cultural barriers.”
Bang Si-hyuk: He’s Worth US$2.9 Billion
Bang only became a billionaire in October last year, after the public listing of Hybe. So, just how rich is he?
According to Forbes, Bang’s net worth stands at US$2.9 billion (S$3.8 billion). His wealth soared after the announcement of Ithaca Holdings' acquisition. As a newly-minted billionaire, Bang has also made his debut on Forbes’ Korea Rich List unveiled on Jun 2, ranking at number 16.
Bang Si-hyuk: He’s Inspired By Jeff Bezos
What has been the key to Bang’s mega-success all these years? Listening to the fans, of course. In a 2019 interview with Fast Company, Bang said that he draws inspiration from Jeff Bezos’ customer obsession when it comes to Amazon.
“I don’t read a lot of books by business leaders or CEOs, but I recently read something by Jeff Bezos about this obsession with the customer. We have always focused on the content and the fan,” Bang said.
Bang Si-hyuk: Things Might Not Know
1. He used references from his own life in the BTS Universe
According to Lumpens, the director of many of BTS music videos, the BU is partly inspired by Bang Si Hyuk’s own life. The “Spring Day” MV references Ursula K. Le Guin‘s The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, a book Bang Si Hyuk read and chose to include in BTS’s work.
2. Music was not his dream
Music has made Bang Si Hyuk a billionaire, but he didn’t know he would end up creating. At the 2019 graduation ceremony for Seoul National University, he said, “There was no critical moment at which I decided to do music. I kept floating on, and found myself doing it ]…] I’m not an ambitious man painting big pictures and grand dreams.”
3. He was ahead of the AI trend
When you think “K-Pop” and “AI” in 2020, Aespa or the virtual group K/DA might come to mind. Bang Si Hyuk’s first girl group GLAM was one of the first K-Pop groups to combine this kind of music and virtual technology on stage. GLAM performed with SeeU, a Korean VOCALOID, back in 2012.
4. He was born into a brilliant family
Bang Si Hyuk’s parents are as extraordinary and learned as he is. His mother, Choi Myeong Ja, was an intellectual trailblazer; she received an English Literature at Seoul National University at a time when women rarely did. Bang Geuk Yoon, Bang Si Hyuk’s father, was the chairman of the Korea Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service, a government organization for labor rights.
5. His parents wanted him to be a lawyer
Bang Si Hyuk followed in his parents’ footsteps by attending SNU, but not in the way they expected. They wanted him to become a lawyer, but he chose to major in aesthetics.
6. Even as a kid, he was a genius
According to his father, Bang Si Hyuk has been a book enthusiast all his life. As a kid, he read material that was years above his reading level.
" He read books all day as a child. He had an incredible ability to focus. He read Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans before he entered elementary school."
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