Makestar's 'poca albums' featuring different K-pop singers / Courtesy of Makestar

As one of the founding members of the leading K-pop management company FNC Entertainment, Kim Jae-myun, also known as Jay Kim, witnessed the explosion of Korean music’s global popularity first hand in the mid-late 2000s as the second-generation K-pop acts raised their international profile. FNC’s boy band F.T. Island and many other groups like Girls’ Generation and Super Junior captured the hearts of people worldwide, actively expanding their fan bases with their music and performances.To promote his company’s artists, Kim often had to go abroad and analyze different markets to gain insights. However, as he continued his work, he realized one big thing: the number of international K-pop fans was massive, but there was no proper platform or channel connecting them to K-pop singers and their content.This is why Kim decided to build such a platform on his own, establishing Makestar in 2015 after leaving FNC. The CEO defines Makestar as an “entertainment-technology (enter-tech)” company that adds a touch of technology to entertainment to cater to both producers and consumers of K-pop.

“We attempted to go global from the very onset,” Kim said during an interview with The Korea Times at the headquarters of Makestar in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, Monday.”Today, people from more than 230 countries use our service and approximately 80 percent of our sales are made in the global market. We actually have sustained consistent sales growth, recording 95.6 billion won ($70 million) in 2023. This represents more than a 20-fold increase from 2019.”One of its main business models is crowdfunding, in which Makestar organizes different fan events or produces K-pop goods after identifying the fan’s demands through surveys or voting. So far, the company has collaborated with more than 700 groups like BLACKPINK, aespa and Stray Kids to run over 2,200 projects, partnering with 369 record labels including K-pop powerhouses SM Entertainment and HYBE.”It was not a piece of cake to secure partnerships with major K-pop labels in the beginning, but we managed to do so after demonstrating our potential with the artists 슬롯놀이터 from smaller companies,” Kim explained.