Sep 01, 2021

Kakao Entertainment merges with Korea’s No. 1 music streaming platform Melon as it eyes global growth

SEOUL, Sept. 1, 2021 — Kakao Entertainment today announced the completion of its merger with Melon, Korea’s No. 1 music streaming platform. With this merger, Kakao Entertainment is set to overhaul its business structure into three divisions: Story, Music, and Media. The move is expected to further strengthen the company’s IP value chain, connecting different categories across the entertainment industry to produce greater synergy.  

The story division will drive growth in Korea through two powerful mobile content platforms: Kakao Webtoon and KakaoPage. Launched last month in Korea, Kakao Webtoon delivers a new content IP experience (IPX), bringing to life the dynamism behind Kakao Entertainment’s premium IPs. 

Kakao Webtoon is also growing fast in Thailand after first launching in June. It has outperformed competing platforms based on cumulative sales for the month of August, taking first place in the local market. Kakao Entertainment will continue to expand into other markets worldwide to introduce Korean webtoons to global audiences. 

In North America, Kakao Entertainment acquired two digital storytelling platforms Tapas and Radish in the first half of the year, which will become the main entry point for localized Korean webtoons. Kakao Entertainment will also spur the development of original stories from local creators and writers, who are part of the creator community for both platforms. 

On the music front, streaming, producing, and distribution capabilities will be integrated into one division. Kakao Entertainment produces some 12,000 new tracks a year through collaboration with various artists, including those from subsidiary labels such as Starship Entertainment, Play M, Flex M, and Cracker. The company also holds a vast distribution library of over 70,000 songs. With Melon, which boasts 33 million users and 5 million paid subscribers, now integrated into the music division, the company is expected to gain a much stronger competitive edge within the K-pop industry. 

The media division will accelerate development of its video content business, encompassing content for mobile storytelling, TV shows and movies, capitalizing on its production capabilities and network of strong creatives and talent. The media division includes production subsidiaries such as Logos Film, Baram Pictures, and Moonlight Film as well as some 80 star writers and 150 actors under management.  

With its unique business portfolio and vast IP value chain, the company will also seek opportunities to build synergy between its story, music, and media divisions to maximize the value of its content IPs and introduce its stories and music to fans worldwide. 

“This merger that we have been working on since the beginning of the year has completed an exclusive IP value chain that only Kakao Entertainment can offer, spanning stories, music, and media,” said Kakao Entertainment co-CEOs Jinsoo Lee and Sungsoo Kim. “These powerful content IPs will act as a stepping stone for us to become a top leader in the Korean entertainment industry and expand our presence in the global market.”