LOEN Entertainment

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LOEN Entertainment, Inc.
Native name
주식회사 로엔엔터테인먼트
Public Jusikhoesa (J.H.)
Traded as
Founded 1978
Founder Min Yeong-bin
Headquarters Seoul, South Korea
Key people
Park Seong-hoon (CEO)[a][1]
  • Music Production
  • Record Distribution
  • Licensing
  • Publishing
Revenue Increase US 323.2 million (2014)[2]
Increase KRW 65.9 billion (2015)
KRW 58.4 billion (2014)[2]
Increase KRW 50.6 billion (2015)
KRW 45.7 billion (2014)[2]
Total assets Increase KRW 303.8 billion (2014[2])
Owner Kakao Corp. (67.76%)[3]
NH Investment & Securities (6.03%)[4]
Number of employees
361 (as of October 2016 (2016-10))[2]
Parent YBM Group (1978–2005)
SK Group (2005–2016)
Affinity Equity Partners (2013–2016)[5]
Kakao Corp. (2016–present)[3][6]
Divisions Melon
Website iloen.com
LOEN Entertainment
Hangul 로엔 엔터테인먼트
Revised Romanization Roen Enteoteinmeonteu
McCune–Reischauer Rŏen Ent'ŏt'einmŏnt'ŭ

LOEN Entertainment (Hangul로엔 엔터테인먼트; formerly Seoul Records (Hangul서울 음반), is a South Korean entertainment company established by Min Yeong-bin in 1978. It is currently one of the largest co-publisher companies in South Korea. The company operates as a record label, talent agency, music production company, event management, concert production company and music publishing house.

As of 2015, LOEN is the leading record company in South Korea by net revenue according to the statistics compiled by the Korea Music Content Industry Association (KMCIA) through the Gaon Music Chart (30.4%); it is also the second leading company in terms of album sales (25.4%).[9] Since January 2016 LOEN has been a subsidiary of Kakao.[3]

Online music sales account for most of the company's profit, with 93.9% of revenue coming from online music sales. The label also distributes CDs of some other entertainment agencies in South Korea through its branch LOEN Music, but makes less than 5% of its revenue through them.[10]

As of October 2017, the company's chief executive officer is Park Seong-hoon.[1]


LOEN Entertainment was founded as Seoul Records in 1978 by Min Yeong-bin as a subsidiary of YBM Sisa, a company mainly involved in creating language-learning tapes.[11] The company was officially registered in 1982, and in 1984 it began to produce and distribute records of classical and traditional music. It was registered as a venture capital company in 1999 when it began to sell albums while operating an online shop. In 2000, the company's name was changed to YBM Seoul Records and it began to operate on KOSDAQ. The company joined the IFPI in 2003. Korean conglomerate SK Telecom bought a 60% share of the company in 2005, and YBM Seoul Records subsequently became part of SK Group.[12] As of 2008, the company has been known as LOEN Entertainment.

LOEN took charge of SK Telecom's online music distribution service, MelOn, in 2009. MelOn is currently the most used online music sales site in South Korea.[13][14]

In 2012, the company signed a deal with streaming site Viki so that content from their artists (such as IU, Brown Eyed Girls and Drunken Tiger) would be featured on their site.[15]

In August 2012, the recording artists under LOEN collaborated to release a collaborative EP titled LOEN Tree Summer Story under the collective title 'LOEN Tree'.[16]

Acquisition by Affinity[edit]

On July 18, 2013, Affinity Equity Partners, through its subsidiary Star Invest Holdings Ltd., bought 52.56% of LOEN's shares, leaving SK Group with only 15%.[5] Five months later, Star Invest Holdings acquired RealNetworks, Inc.'s 8.83% stake in the company.[17] The company was reorganized to include two labels: "LOEN Tree" (Jo Yeong-cheol) and "Collabodadi" (Shinsadong Tiger).[18]

On December 18, 2013, LOEN acquired 70% of shares in Starship Entertainment, making it as an independent subsidiary of LOEN.[7]

Acquisition by Kakao and future plans[edit]

On January 11, 2016, LOEN was acquired by Kakao Corporation.[3][6]

On May 11, 2017, LOEN announced its strategic drama production alliance with CJ E&M's drama production subsidiary Studio Dragon Corporation. Among the plans under the alliance is producing dramas based on web novels and webtoons on KakaoPage and Daum Webtoons (which copyrights are managed by Podotree, the web literature subsidiary of Kakao).[19] (LOEN first entered the drama production industry three years ago through the cable-web drama Another Parting, which starred Seo In-guk and Wang Ji-won.) On August 25, LOEN announced that its joint venture with Studio Dragon will be called as "Mega Monster".[20]

LOEN Entertainment is currently in the process of making a new girl group ready to debut next year with fellow Produce 101 and Kpop Star contestants, Park Soyeon and Lee Soomin.[21] The company has also signed actress Kim So-hyun through setting up her own independent label, E&T Story Entertainment, which is led by her long-time manager Park Chan-woo.[22]

Upon approval by the company's board of directors in a December 20 meeting, LOEN Entertainment will be known as Kakao M Corporation (Hangul주식회사 카카오엠) starting March 2018. The letter M in the new corporate name stands for three things: Melon (the company's flagship online music service), Music (the company's core business) and Media (another business that the company will advance to in the future). The company will now also have a corporate catchphrase, "We Entertain”.[23][24]

Corporate identity[edit]

Company name[edit]

The name LOEN stands for:

  • Live On Entertainment Networks
  • LOve + ENtertainment


One of the company's former logos as YBM Seoul Records

The company's first logo was the two small letters s and r (SR, for Seoul Records) combined. At the bottom of the logo was the English name (SEOUL RECORDS), while the Korean name ((주)서울음반) was at its right corner.[25]

Catalog numbers[edit]

As of 2015, LOEN currently uses two types of catalog number codes for its releases: the L10000**** series (now at the -5000 suffix) and the L20000**** series (now at the -1000 suffix).


Price fixing[edit]

LOEN, along with then-parent SK Telecom, was one of the 15 companies fined and sued by the Korean FTC for price rigging in 2011. The company was fined $9.6 million for its role in the scheme.[26]

On October 9, 2016, the Supreme Court of South Korea handed out a 100 million won fine each to LOEN and its closest competitor Genie Music (then known as KT Music) for colluding in price fixing, dating back to a case filed in 2008. Co-CEO Shin Won-soo, who was the sole CEO at the time being, was also sentenced to pay 10 million won.[27]

Incredible promotion conflict[edit]

In 2013, LOEN made a deal with C-JeS Entertainment to promote and distribute Junsu's second studio album Incredible. Days before the album's release, C-Jes was reportedly notified by LOEN that they would distribute the album but had scrapped plans for promotional marketing and broadcasting Junsu's upcoming showcase on MelOn, although they would be able to broadcast it on LOEN TV. Promotional banners regarding the album's release on MelOn also disappeared from LOEN's social media accounts. C-JeS subsequently threatened to remove mentions of LOEN from Junsu's upcoming showcase and to file for a civil appeal to the Fair Trade Commission and Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission.[28]

In response, LOEN stated that they were still in discussions regarding the album's promotion and that nothing had been confirmed prior to the relevant article's release. They pointed to the showcase event page on MelOn's homepage still being up as evidence that promotions were going ahead as planned. C-JeS responded saying that they had begun receiving pre-orders for the album and entries for the showcase event without a response from LOEN.[29][30]

Following media attention, the two companies met on July 8 and resolved the dispute. Incredible was promoted and distributed by LOEN as planned.[31]


MelOn Biz[edit]

MelOn Biz is LOEN's online music service division, operating MelOn, short for 'melody on'.[32][33] MelOn is the most popular music service in Korea, with 59% of all users in South Korea as of November 2013. That year Soompi ranked MelOn as the third most influential entity in the K-pop industry.[34]

Contents Biz[edit]

The logos of LOEN Music and 1theK

Contents Biz is responsible for LOEN's content production division 1theK, which was known as LOEN Music before February 2014.[35] The name '1theK' indicates its aim of creating one source for worldwide K-pop content.[36] According to LOEN it distributes over 300 titles per year, working with independent agencies to invest in music production.

Production Biz[edit]

Production Biz is LOEN's artist management division, formerly known as Artists Biz. LOEN Entertainment manages their artists separated into house label LOEN Tree and Collabodadi, established in September 2013. Collabodadi artists were moved to LOEN Tree in September 2015 and later LOEN Tree renamed as Fave Entertainment in February 2017.

In 2015, LOEN acquired independent label Starship Entertainment and Plan A Entertainment now also belongs to this division, as well as King Kong Entertainment (which Starship acquired in 2015).



Year Recipient Award Category Result
2011 MelOn Digital Chosun Ilbo Awards Most Trusted Brand (Online Music Service) Won
App Awards Korea Best Entertainment Application Won
2012 Digital Chosun Ilbo Awards Most Trusted Brand (Online Music Service) Won
LOEN Entertainment Korean Digital Business Innovation Awards Grand Prize (Digital Contents) Won
2013 Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards Music Distribution (Online) Won[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Park Seong-hoon is also the chief security officer (CSO) of Kakao Corp.


  1. ^ a b "로엔엔터 박성훈 대표 단독 체제…"멜론 등 사업부 CIC로 격상⋅자율권 확대"". The Chosun Ilbo. October 9, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Loen Entertainment on the Forbes Asia 200 Best Under A Billion List". Forbes Asia. Forbes Inc. July 2014. Retrieved May 14, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Kim Min-soo (January 13, 2016). "카카오, '멜론' 로엔엔터테인먼트 1.8조에 인수…종합 모바일 콘텐츠 플랫폼 서비스 나선다 (Kakao acquires "MelOn" company Loen Entertainment for 1.8 billion dollars... sets out an entertainment platform for comprehensive mobile content services)". The Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved January 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ http://finance.daum.net/item/company.daum?code=016170&type=11
  5. ^ a b Private Equity Korea: SK Planet to divest stake in LOEN Entertainment to Affinity
  6. ^ a b Lee Se-young (January 12, 2016). "Kakao to buy South Korea's top music streaming operator for $1.6 billion". Reuters. Thomson Reuters Corp. Retrieved January 13, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b alim17 (December 18, 2013). "Loen Entertainment takes over majority stake in Starship Entertainment for 15 billion won". allkpop. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  8. ^ "LOEN Entertainment buys majority of A Cube Entertainment's shares". Allkpop. November 25, 2015. 
  9. ^ Kim, Jin-woo (December 11, 2015). "2015년 음악시장 결산 (2015 Music Market Closing Review)". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean). Korea Music Content Industry Association. Retrieved March 18, 2016. 
  10. ^ "SKT, 국내최대 서울음반 인수 (Seoul Records, SKT's largest acquisition)". Kyunghyang Shinmun. 2005-05-27. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  11. ^ "1978 - Founding of "Seoul Records"". YBM Group. Archived from the original on 2013-12-28. 
  12. ^ "Korean Telco Takes Control Of Seoul Records". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. May 27, 2005. Retrieved August 16, 2013. 
  13. ^ "(주)로엔엔터테인먼트 (LOEN Entertainment, Inc.)". Naver Terms. Naver Corporation. 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  14. ^ "로엔 vs KT뮤직... 음원株 '지각변동' (LOEN versus KT Music... "Music cataclysm")". Chosun Biz. Chosun Ilbo. 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  15. ^ "Video Subtitling Site Viki Puts K-Pop Content in Spotlight". The Chosun Ilbo. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  16. ^ LOEN Tree Summer Story on Hanteo
  17. ^ "어피니티, 리얼네트웍스 보유 로엔엔터 지분 인수 (Affinity acquires RealNetworks' stake in Loen Ent)". The Bell. November 17, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  18. ^ starsung (September 24, 2013). "LOEN Entertainment undergoes reorganization to become a multi-label system". allkpop. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  19. ^ U. Kim (May 10, 2017). "Loen Entertainment To Create New Drama Production Company With Studio Dragon". Soompi. Viki Inc. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  20. ^ http://www.dt.co.kr/contents.html?article_no=2017082502101231043001
  21. ^ https://www.allkpop.com/article/2017/06/loen-entertainment-open-social-media-accounts-for-their-new-girl-group
  22. ^ "배우 김소현, 로엔과 손잡고 독립 레이블 설립". Maeil Business Newspaper. December 26, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Loen Entertainment Changes Its Name To kakao M". Busan Ilbo News20 via Soompi. December 20, 2017. 
  24. ^ "(주)로엔엔터테인먼트 수시공시의무관련사항(공정공시)". Maeil Business Newspaper. December 20, 2017. 
  25. ^ "CD의 추억3 - old OSTs (1)". bluo.net. 
  26. ^ "Korea's Fair Trade Commission fines 15 music distributors for collectively rigging prices". allkpop. March 1, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  27. ^ Yoon Sung-won (October 9, 2016). "Loen, KT Music fined for music source price-fixing". The Korea Times. Retrieved October 12, 2016. 
  28. ^ "씨제스 "로엔, 준수 홍보 파기는 갑의 횡포"- 로엔 "긴급회의 중"". 네이트뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2016-05-09. 
  29. ^ "김준수 계약파기? 로엔 측 "계약 협의단계일뿐…결정된 사항無"". 네이트뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2016-05-09. 
  30. ^ "김준수 측, 로엔 해명 재반박 "협의단계일 뿐이었다고?"". 네이트뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2016-05-09. 
  31. ^ "XIA 준수 측, "로엔과 원만한 합의..예정대로"  :: THE STAR". thestar.chosun.com. Retrieved 2016-05-09. 
  32. ^ lordbordem (September 25, 2013). "LOEN Entertainment to Split Their Artist Division into Multiple Labels". Soompi. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  33. ^ Seung Si-yeon, Park Jong-geun (December 3, 2011). "Shin Won-soo, representing Korea's largest OMS, "MelOn"". JoongAng Ilbo. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  34. ^ jun2yng (November 3, 2013). "The Top 10 Most Influential Entities of K-Pop". Soompi. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  35. ^ alim17 (February 17, 2014). "LOEN MUSIC changes its name to 1theK". allkpop. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  36. ^ Jeon Ji-yeon (February 20, 2014). "로엔, 글로벌 케이팝 대표 브랜드 `1theK(원더케이)` 론칭 (LOEN launches global K-pop flagship brand 1theK)". Electronic Times. Retrieved February 8, 2016. 
  37. ^ jnkm (February 13, 2013). "Winners & Best Moments of the 2nd Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards". Soompi. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 

External links[edit]