aespa and SM Entertainment ink global deal with Warner Records – Music Business Worldwide

Warner Records has struck a global partnership with K-Pop giant SM Entertainment and girl group aespa.
In a press release issued today (June 1), Tom Corson, COO & Co-Chairman, Warner Records, and Aaron Bay-Schuck, CEO & Co-Chairman, Warner Records, noted that, as the Warner label’s “first-ever K-Pop group”, they “look forward to achieving unprecedented success together”.
Launched in October 2020, and featuring four human members and four virtual counterparts, aespa is described by SM Entertainment as a ‘Metaverse Girl Group’.
The name “aespa” is a combination of ‘ae’ (initials for ‘avatar’ and ‘experience’) and ‘aspect’, which, SM says, represents “the meeting of another self and experiencing a new world”.

The group’s debut single Black Mamba, released in November 2020, surpassed 21 million views within its first 24 hours.
As a ‘metaverse girl group’, aespa form part of the so-called SM Culture Universe (SMCU), a character-led universe akin to cinematic universes like those created by comic giants Marvel or D.C.
Lee Soo-man, founder and Chief Producer of K-Pop giant SM Entertainment, recently delivered a speech at Stanford University where he provided rare in-person insight into the thinking behind the SMCU, which the K-pop company says, is at the centre of its content strategy.
The first release from aespa under the new partnership with Warner Records is the single, Life’s Too Short, set for release on June 24, taken from the group’s forthcoming EP, Girls – The 2nd Mini Album, which is out on July 8.
SM’s deal with Warner Records also coincides with Apple Music naming aespa as its newest global ‘Up Next’ artist.
In addition to aespa, SM Entertainment artists include the likes of NCT, Red Velvet, SUPER JUNIOR and EXO.
“We are thrilled to be welcomed into the Warner Records’ family.”
aespa
aespa, said: “We are thrilled to be welcomed into the Warner Records’ family and so grateful to have them on board as we embark on our next chapter.
“We are excited for what’s in store, including the release of our new project, Girls – The 2nd Mini Album this summer and being named Apple Music’s Up Next artist!”
“KARINA, WINTER, GISELLE and NINGNING of aespa have already made an impact around the world.”
Tom Corson, and Aaron Bay-Schuck, Warner Records
Tom Corson, COO & Co-Chairman, Warner Records, and Aaron Bay-Schuck, CEO & Co-Chairman, Warner Records, said: “KARINA, WINTER, GISELLE and NINGNING of aespa have already made an impact around the world under the leadership of SM Entertainment founder and chairman Soo-Man Lee and his incredible team.
“We’re honoured to welcome them to the Warner Records’ family as our first-ever K-Pop group and look forward to achieving unprecedented success together.”
“We are well aware of Warner Records’ long history of success with global artists.”
Sung Su Lee and Young Jun Tak, SM Entertainment
Sung Su Lee, CEO, SM Entertainment, and Young Jun Tak, COO, SM Entertainment, added: “We are well aware of Warner Records’ long history of success with global artists, and we are grateful for their belief in aespa’s rising future.
“Together with Warner Records, we are confident that aespa can continue to showcase groundbreaking music and grow into a global group.”Music Business Worldwide
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