ATEEZ Collaboration with Hello82 Leads to Virtual Reinvention of Record Store Experiences


In pre-pandemic times, musicians could grab headlines and turn heads with events for their major releases. Whether it’s an album or DVD signing in Virgin Megastores (now mostly closed) and Tower Records, arranging a casual interview surrounded by supporters, or delivering merchandise to fans , interactions with superstars never go unnoticed. While COVID-19 has forced these experiences to be scaled down or put on hold altogether, hello82 seeks to safely create similar multidimensional and interactive moments starting with one of the largest groups in the world.

While hello82 has served global K-pop culture and fandom by connecting Korean talent with the world through multilingual YouTube events and channels, an exclusive album deal with K-pop boy group ATEEZ can shed light on how the excitement of these same personal experiences of record stores can be translated for international fandom online.

In this specific case, hello82 has become the exclusive physical retailer of the collaborative Songs of the seasons album between ATEEZ (who are currently a roll with four consecutive No.1 albums in their native Korea including that of March Zero: Fever Part.2 to over half a million copies to date) and legendary Korean singer-artist Kim Jong Kook (who entered the 1990s as a member of K-pop / rock band Turbo before moving to add variety shows and act to his CV). While the album packaging itself is a collector’s item with photo cards and a cassette-type USB stick inside, buyers also got access to the exclusive content hello82 creates with ATEEZ, an event. virtual fan and entry into a video call fan sign event where selected people get 82 seconds of FaceTime with ATEEZ.

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While these purchases don’t include the same guarantees that an official bracelet gets you an autograph at Virgin, the process certainly works for a fanbase as digitally connected as ATINY’s beloved ATEEZ fans (ATEEZ was the 10th most mentioned K-pop act on Twitter worldwide in 2020) and may be more manageable for the size that is available to a global audience (Songs of the seasons moved nearly 15,000 copies during its first day of tracking sales, according to Korean chart Hanteo).

As the K-pop industry shifts from a digital orientation to entering more traditional media spaces, including physical retailers, hello82 sees its path evolving in the same way.

“Hello82 was designed to allow K-pop groups to access fans around the world with shortened content on our YouTube channels, in multiple languages, and expanded to include virtual events and experiences fans love,” explains Jae Yoon Choi, CEO of Kai Media which is the parent company of hello82. “We are ‘for the fans and by the fans’ and the next logical step was for us to tap into the physical merchandise space and tie up exclusivity wherever we can. We have a unique understanding of what want fans like us, wherever they are in the world, and we’re building a solid experience by offering them new ways to connect with their idols – and with each other – through exclusive content, experiences and collectibles. “

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Choi notes that physical album sales in Korea have been steadily increasing since 2016, including dramatic growth from international buyers, as the global K-pop market evolves “dramatically” during the pandemic. year and a half last. “Before the pandemic, the typical album release cycle for artists involved promotional activities based largely in Korea… the pandemic created a new business model that relies on virtual interaction that will continue after activities return. no one because of the access they give to fans around the world.

The CEO adds that the Songs of the seasons is a first step in showing the larger vision of how the company can extend and elevate the artist-fan experience by going beyond one-off events and even addressing different territories.

“We know that a virtual event can’t be everything and that’s why the tactile experience of receiving an album and other exclusive collectibles is so important to keep fans involved,” said Choi. “For example, ATEEZ’s next mini album will not go through an American distributor: hello82 will sell a version of the album specially designed for the American market, for American fans with a special benefit just for them – Korean fans. have special benefits with the release of their album … we’re there for the fans and even when they’re millions of miles away from their favorite stars. Pandemic or not, we want to bring them together. “


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