K-pop juggernauts BTS are reportedly parting ways with Sony Music’s Columbia Records in favour of Universal Music Group.
According to reports by Billboard and Variety, the boyband, under agency HYBE, will no longer be working with Columbia Records and The Orchard. BTS were apparently on a month-to-month contract with the latter company, and only needed to notify Sony Music of their intent to end their partnership.
This marks the end of the group’s three-year partnership with Sony Music, which had been signed in 2018. The boyband’s move to UMG is expected to come into effect from December 1 onwards.
Billboard claims that Columbia chairman and CEO Ron Perry had never met HYBE founder and chairman Bang Si-hyuk throughout their entire partnership despite the former having flown to South Korea on numerous occasions to work on BTS’ music. Notably, Perry had co- written and produced the act’s English-language hit ‘Butter’, which was released earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Bang and his team have allegedly formed a close relationship with UMG CEO Lucian Grainge over the years. Record executive Scooter Braun — who had merged his company, Ithaca Holdings, with HYBE in April — reportedly played a role in the deal with Universal due to his close relationship with both Grainge and HYBE America co-CEO Lenzo Yoon.
Earlier in February, HYBE and UMG had announced their new strategic partnership, which also includes an upcoming joint-venture label to debut a global K-pop boyband. “I strongly believe that UMG and Big Hit, two companies that endlessly pursued innovation, will create a synergy that will rewrite global music history,” said Bang at the time.
In other HYBE news, BTS’ label Big Hit Music has announced its new online global auditions for 2021. The label, which is also home to boyband Tomorrow X Together, is “looking for individuals with talent and passion” to be “the next global superstar.” Males born in 2002 or later worldwide are eligible to apply, with applications are open from October 18 to December 20.