Monday, November 13, 2006

Hyolee Moly!

Korea's most sex pop star, Lee Hyolee, is reportedly on the verge of signing the biggest contract ever for a Korean female singer, over $1.5 million for three years. No word on what exactly that sum would cover, since Ms Lee has never been much about album sales.

(And, yes, I know this news is a few days old. But since nothing has been signed yet and all is speculation, what the hey).

Hyolee is a curious figure (so to speak) in the new Korean music industry. Her albums do not sell particularly well. Her first album sold a tad over 144,000 copies back in 2003, and her second album, DARK ANGEL is not even listed on MIAK (not unusual, though, as often management companies decide for whatever reason not to cooperate with MIAK). In fact, at this point, Hyolee is all about mobile phone downloads and commercial endorsements -- like much of the local music business, only more so. She is one of the first post-sales pop stars, thriving in an age where musical success has little to do with moving CDs or filling stadiums.

Her new management company, Mnet Media is an interesting new affiliate of CJ Entertainment, a merger of some websites and GM Management (but strangely, not the TV station M-Net). CJE is certainly not shy about spending money, and this deal is incredibly rich, even by local, star-obsessed standards.

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