The Evolution of HYBE: How One Small Company Took the World by Storm


It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of megastars BTS, the biggest musical group in the world today. Those who don’t follow them closely probably don’t know that the septet did not come from the privilege of an established record label despite their meteoric success – it was quite the opposite experience. They were the dark horse that catapulted a near bankrupt company to industry powerhouses. That company is HYBE Corporation. BTS’ beginnings were mixed with struggles and sacrifices. At the time, HYBE was known as ‘Big Hit Entertainment’ prior to its company name change last year. The BTS members would practice dancing and singing for long hours every day and live together in a small dorm to pursue their dreams as Idols even if that meant having a less than comfortable lifestyle with meager financings.

Their fanbase, known as “ARMY,” have deep admiration and respect for the group for their humble start and organic rise to the top without the crucial advantages and connections that are exclusive to artists signed with major record labels. The unexpected rise of BTS opened a whole new door for their company, which has grown phenomenally and built itself into the empire that it is today.

Bang Si-hyuk and Park Jin-young, Head of JYP Entertainment

Often called the pillar of BTS’ success, world-class CEO Bang Si-hyuk (popularly known as “Hitman” Bang or Bang PD) also had humble beginnings. The music composer was born on August 9, 1972 in Seoul and graduated from Seoul National University. He later teamed up with producer Park Jin-young of JYP Entertainment. Bang Si-hyuk eventually became the chief composer of the company and gained prominence for his composition work for the K-Pop band g.o.d. and collaborations with Rain (Jung Ji-hoon), a popular and acclaimed singer and actor in South Korea.

Old Big Hit Building

In 2005, he founded his own record label called Big Hit Entertainment. The company did not achieve immediate success and recognition and even came very close to bankruptcy back in 2007. At the time, the “big-three” companies in K-Pop (SM, YG, and JYP) were continuing to rise within the music industry, with numerous artists under their labels hitting pinnacle success and recognition.

This caused the CEO to cast his own doubts and insecurities in his business endeavors. It wasn’t until an incident that fans claim as “written in the stars” occurred in which he stumbled upon a demo tape from BTS member RM who was just a teenager at the time. RM, the group leader of BTS, was only 15-years-old by the time he was signed to Big Hit Entertainment. Bang Si-hyuk subsequently discovered the rest of the members: Suga, Jin, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook—combining their unique personalities and skills together, a K-Pop boy group that specialized in hip-hop and rap was formed in 2013. While the group first struggled due to their lack of exposure and limited opportunities to showcase their talent and artistry, Big Hit entertainment never gave up on the group despite numerous setbacks that almost caused the group to disband. Bang Si-hyuk and his company truly believed in the group’s capabilities and knew that they would inevitably peak when the time was right time

The astonishing triumph of BTS in the industry helped the company to build a name for itself, further ascending its impact in music and business. While the K-Pop group continued with its success globally, breaking numerous records and garnering enormous fanbases across the world, Big Hit Company went public in 2020 and soon changed its name to HYBE Corporation. HYBE stands strong as a dominant global leader, which was further solidified when it had reached a major milestone through its billion-dollar international acquisition deal with Ithaca Holdings, representing big artist names including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato. Many K-Pop groups are also within the HYBE family: Tomorrow X Together, Enhypen, Seventeen, and the newly formed girl group Le Sserafim. HYBE was named TIME’S 100 most influential companies consecutively for two years now, with their portrait on the cover of TIME’s issue. According to the magazine, HYBE is applauded for “transforming the music business”


Today, nearly 17 years ago, Bang Si-hyuk had only just started building out what was a far-fetched and seemingly outlandish dream at the time. He has since ushered the music industry into an impressive new era where rules were re-written, and success redefined all the while perplexing industry leaders along the way. HYBE is a force that has challenged the norms, broken barriers culturally, and introduced new music and entertainment to the world. With the company’s promising and diverse new talents, entertainment lifestyle platforms, and merchandise that are vastly supported by passionate global fans—there is no doubt that this is only the beginning of HYBE’s influence in the industry. From the origins of Big Hit Entertainment to the rise of HYBE, this company’s journey has been nothing short of astonishing and in its unceasing evolvement.