KQ Entertainment has reportedly signed a deal with Sony Music–here are some Korean versions of the story and here’s a version that basically has just been shoved through Google Translate, hopefully a better translation will show up soon. [ETA: Billboard covered it!] In any case, it looks like Sony Music Taiwan KPOP already has Block B featured on their Facebook page. (Taiwan loves Block B!)
From what I can gather by, yes, shoving stuff through Google Translate, Sony Music has an equity investment in KQ (which typically means they now own a minority stake in the company), and in return they will help promote the label’s artists (i.e. not just Block B) in Asia and beyond. (Although…presumably not Japan? There’s nothing on Block B’s Japanese Web site to suggest it, and since they’re coming out with the Japanese version of Montage next month, the timing would be peculiar.) A Sony Music subsidiary distributes BTS in the United States, so hopefully Western markets won’t be completely neglected.
Anyway, that’s interesting. And you know, once again while certain fans remain convinced that this whole thing should be about them, Kim Kyu Wook is doing his fucking job, keeping the company liquid as it expands, and making sure everyone makes money.
ETA: A couple of additional observations, in Q&A form because I’m pedantic.
Q. How will KQ promote abroad?
A. They won’t, just like they don’t in Japan. Sony Music will handle it—that’s the point of this deal.
Q. What if Block B doesn’t renew their contracts?
A. That would sure suck for Sony Music, right? KQ’s biggest, most international asset taking a hike a year after this deal was signed?
Which is why they’ve already renewed. Large companies don’t sign deals like this without guarantees.
Q. People are saying that I shouldn’t get excited about this because Sony Music is just a distributor and doesn’t do any promotion. What do you think?
A. Some people define “promotion” as “appearing on a lot of music shows.” If that’s your thinking, then definitely don’t get your hopes up, now or ever. Music shows are a time-consuming and cost-ineffective method of promotion, so Block B does them as little as possible. This deal isn’t going to change that.
If instead you define “promotion” as “selling music to people”–well, folks, distributors actually do promote. That’s a big part of the job, especially these days when it’s so easy for musicians to do basic distribution on their own. KQ wouldn’t be giving away equity if all Sony Music was offering in return was to upload some songs onto iTunes.
(The very act of distribution can be a form of promotion, by the way. Having BTS CDs available for sale in U.S. Target stores all by itself generates sales, and having those CDs appear on end rows or in special displays generates even more sales.)
EATA: If you’re wondering who the guy in the photos with Kim is, it’s Denis Handlin, who is pretty freaking high up in the Sony executive ranks.