SM Entertainment held their SM CONGRESS 2021 on June 28 where the company celebrated its groundbreaking achievements in the K-pop industry and gave exclusive insight into the company’s innovative work of the past, present, and future, featuring exciting announcements, special appearances from artists, and presentations detailing their vision and strategy for the year ahead.
Executive Producer Soo-Man Lee sat down with some of SM’s artists in a talk show set-up to discuss upcoming projects and announced forthcoming releases from NCT units NCT 127 and WayV, as well as all members together as NCT 2021, aespa, and more. He also shared additional insight into the upcoming K-pop competition series in partnership with MGM Television, featuring a video message from its chairman Mark Burnett. SM Entertainment will debut a new unit of NCT based in the U.S. – NCT Hollywood – and the show will select 21 eligible members to compete for a spot in the group. Existing NCT members will serve as mentors to the competitors.
Additional special appearances included KANGTA, TVXQ!‘s MAX CHANGMIN, SUPER JUNIOR‘s LEETEUK, EUNHYUK, and HEECHUL, and celebrities Kang Ho-Dong, Shin Dong-Yeob, Lee Su-Geun, Yoon Jong-Shin, Lee Yong-Jin, Lee Jin Ho, and Jang Ye Won.
During his opening speech, Soo-Man Lee said, “SM is a content company from its birth to the present,” and SM STUDIOS Group CEO Young-Min Kim shared that “content experts belonging to SM C&C, KEYEAST, and MYSTIC STORY have united under the name of SM STUDIOS to take another leap forward in the content industry,” announcing further plans for upcoming variety programs and drama series.
CEO Sung Su Lee explained through his speech that he plans to promote various projects that only SM can create, advancing the company into the “K-Pop 2.0” era. This includes the announcement of the upcoming PINK BLOOD project — a project in which SM will highlight the creativity of fans and “prosumers” who recreate the company’s content in their own original way. Additionally, SM shared plans for the remastering of over 300 music videos, highlighting SM’s rich history in the K-pop industry. Furthermore, the project ‘SM Classics’ will breathe new life into some of SM’s most popular songs with orchestral rearrangements.
In addition, SM continues to expand SM’s unique worldview “SMCU” (SM Culture Universe), a fictional storyline that connects many of SM’s artists and releases. CEO Sung Su Lee described SMCU as “SM’s metaverse inviting K-pop fans around the world to appreciate our music and stories via various platforms. It will not only include our original content but also ones recreated by the fans.” Plans include ‘CAWMAN’ (which stands for Cartoons, Animations, Webtoons, Motion graphics, Avatars, and Novels), a multimedia genre that contains girl group aespa’s worldview.
The company also shared a re-branding of the SM Online Commerce Shop, “&STORE,” which connects fans and artists in innovative ways, and ‘DearU bubble,’ a platform where fans can have private conversations with artists. Additionally, SM announced SM INSTITUTE, which will provide the best talent development curriculum for students with dreams of becoming a pop culture artist. SM INSTITUTE students will be provided with basic courses, personalized curriculums, and a mentoring system. Students will experience SM’s existing development and education process and have the opportunities to explore various career paths while receiving educational support all around from 360 degrees to grow into a pop culture artist.
Soo-Man Lee shared, “Ultimately, the message we would like to share is that through our music, we hope to make a better world and restore the humanity that we have in loving each other,” and that “SM’s history is not a story of the past, but a story of the future.”
Watch the SM Congress below.
Adriana Chavez is the editor for Vacancy. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org