Twenty-seven years ago, the starting point of K-pop was ‘The moment with Haksun Kim’s music.’

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The dispute over the acquisition of SM Entertainment is creeping in. Hive, Kakao, and who will take over SM will be decided at the shareholders’ meeting on the 31st of this month.

One thing stood out in the public opinion battle between each other. It was a remark that “I respect SM’s legacy (legacy),” Hive CEO Park Ji-won said while explaining the acquisition of SM at his in-house briefing session. Legacy. It is a word often used when talking about heritage or tradition, as it is in the dictionary. K-pop was the music most distant from the legacy.

It was true that it was awkward to use the term K-pop as a tradition or legacy, as in the cases of rapidly changing trends, small and medium-sized agencies that disappeared in a short period, and idol groups with inherent limitations that had to contemplate their career path after a standard contract period of 7 years.

But when I think about it, 27 years have passed since the K-pop industry started. The starting point of K-pop in the music world was the debut of HOT in 1996. HOT was a symbolic group as the starting point of K-pop, which introduced the current nurturing and management system.

For almost a generation, the music of K-pop has been established in Korea. Of course, there was SM, which raised HOT in the beginning. It is a company created by former general producer Lee Soo-man after taking his English initials.

Since then, SM has been the first to experience everything that can happen in the K-pop industry and has spent years of glory and shame. Along with the issue of slave contracts, it was SM that made them write standard agreements, and it was SM that first introduced their singers to the market outside of Korea, along with the word ‘Korean Wave.’ SM began to attach the now-familiar production system of ‘song camp’ and the absurd term’ world view’ to idol groups.

It doesn’t seem too much to add the expression “legacy” to SM, which has spent that time of glory and shame. At the end of last year, SM’s group ‘NCT Dream’ re-sang ‘Candy,’ released in 1996 by HOT.

It is the song that gave SM and HOT their first popular success. HOT debuted as ‘descendants of warriors’, but at the time, it was an image close to ‘dislike’ by the general public, excluding fans. However, the follow-up song ‘Candy’ was able to secure popularity. Because of SM’s heritage, a junior group from the same agency might have reinterpreted a song 26 years after its release and took the concept similar to 26 years ago.

Not long ago, Lee Seong-soo and Tak Young-jun, co-representatives of SM, said, “SM is a music company. No matter what happens in the future, I will not lose the essence of ‘music.'” SM had a lot of criticism, but it also produced many good songs. HOT’s ‘Candy’ and Girls’ Generation’s ‘Into the New World’ have become classics worthy of the term’ legacy’ without any worldview. There was the charm of SHINee’s freshness and a unique style called SMP (SM Music Performance).

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