Last month during the rush of K-pop comebacks, Loona (often stylized in all capital letters or as LOOΠΔ) made a unique return that differed from their previous work.
Their fifth extended play (EP) or mini-album # (literally a hashtag) had music that was edgier — especially their title track song, So What.
It is believed the biggest reason why Loona’s latest comeback was different was that Lee Soo-Man, the record executive and founder of SM Entertainment, helped in producing their album.
Needless to say, the comeback was a huge success and even earned even more international appeal.
Lee Soo-Man is reportedly not just giving a hand in production, but also investing in the K-pop girl group formed under Blockberry Creative.
After the EP’s release, SM Entertainment responded to the news.
From lending a hand to investing
According to a report by Korean entertainment news outlet Daily Sports, Lee Soo-Man — the record executive, former CEO, and founder of SM Entertainment — is investing in Loona.
He is doing this by taking part in their agency’s paid-in capital increase.
Reportedly, Lee Soo-Man is making a one billion won (approximately $827,900) personal investment into Loona, separate from SM Entertainment.
However, the initial reports may not be the whole truth. A representative of SM Entertainment released a statement about Lee Soo-Man’s investment in Loona.
“The reports of producer Lee Soo Man’s investment are groundless. I’m aware that Lee Soo-Man, who sees high potential in Loona, is in the process of making an investment.”
Why would Lee Soo-Man invest in a K-pop act outside of SM Entertainment?
For those who don’t know, the reason why Lee Soo-Man helped produce the latest album by Loona is that he was impressed by their cover of Cherry Bomb, one of the hit songs by SM Entertainment artist, NCT 127.
When Blockberry Creative and Loona asked Lee Soo-Man for this assistance, he obliged. The EP, #, would mark the first time he took part in producing for an artist outside of SM Entertainment.
With how successful # and its title track song, So What, is, it is only natural for Lee Soo-Man to be proud of Loona. But he probably also saw the potential as them being the next big girl group in K-pop.
It should be noted that the last girl group SM Entertainment debuted was Red Velvet, and that was six years ago (2014). Since then, they’ve become one of the “Big Three” girl groups in K-pop alongside Black Pink and Twice.
What if Lee Soo-Man is investing to turn Blockberry Creative into a subsidiary for SM Entertainment and have Loona become the next SM Entertainment girl group after Red Velvet?
Usually, the lifespan of most K-pop acts is about seven years, meaning Red Velvet possibly has only one year left (though they are just too good to disband after seven years).
In short, Lee Soo-Man is looking to the future. Instead of having to train a new group from scratch (for now), why not just acquire one that has potential.
Big Hit Entertainment did it when they acquired Source Music, making GFriend their first girl group (that is co-owned by another agency).
We will have to wait and see what Lee Soo-Man has planned concerning the news of possibly investing in Loona. Until then, the K-pop girl group is busy with post-release promotions for # and its title track song, So What.
For international fans who may want to own a physical copy of the album, it is available for purchase at YesAsia.
Take note there are four versions of the album with or without the option of having a poster included.