K-Pop Stocks Down 17% Overall in 2024, Spotify Soars on Joe Rogan News & Earnings Anticipation

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K-pop is having amazing charts and sales success and selling out large venues around the world, but the South Korean companies behind those artists are off to a terrible start in 2024. 

Through Friday (Feb. 2), four K-pop stocks — HYBE, SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and YG Entertainment — have fallen an average of 17% year to date. HYBE, home to BTS and its members’ various solo projects, has had the best performance with a 12% decline, while JYP Entertainment is the worst of the group with a 24.1% loss. Elsewhere, YG Entertainment has lost 14.7% and SM Entertainment is down 17.4%. Korean stocks in general have gotten off to a much better start: Through Feb. 2, the KOSPI composite index of Korean companies increased 5.5%. 


Investors may feel K-pop’s finances are less than reliable after news broke this week that Kakao Corp. is auditing SM Entertainment’s financial practices following its acquisition of a 40% equity stake in 2023, according to reports out of South Korea. Kakao’s audio committee is investigating “the appropriateness of investment decisions made by SM management without holding prior consultations with Kakao,” a Kakao official told The Korea Times. For the time being, Kakao is only auditing SM Entertainment’s books, not overhauling its management or considering selling its shares. Amidst heavy media coverage in Korea, Kakao went as far as to issue a statement on Monday (Jan. 29) to dispel rumors it will sell its stake in SM. 

Spotify, on the other hand, is soaring ahead of its fourth-quarter earnings report on Tuesday (Feb. 6). The music streaming giant gained 3.8% to $222.31 this week, bringing its year-to-date gain to 18.4%. Spotify shares rose 1.6% on Friday after news broke the company had signed a new distribution deal with popular podcaster Joe Rogan. Spotify will sell ads for and distribute The Joe Rogan Experience on several multiple podcast platforms, according to the Wall Street Journal. So, unlike the previous deal, Rogan’s show will not be exclusive to Spotify and will be available on YouTube and elsewhere. 

Although Rogan is no longer exclusive to Spotify, the deal could be extremely lucrative. An upfront minimum guarantee and ad revenue share could be worth up to $250 million, according to the report. While Rogan has proved to be enduringly popular, Spotify kept its relationship with the comedian while maintaining distance from its previous strategy of high-priced, exclusive content deals. Call Her Daddy is no longer exclusive to Spotify, Barack and Michelle Obama departed for Amazon’s Audible, and the former royals, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, were not renewed.  

Investors’ enthusiasm for Spotify hasn’t spilled over to other music streaming companies, however. Abu Dhabi-based music streamer Anghami fell 10.1% to $0.98 this week, bringing its year-to-date decline to 5.8%. Three other music streaming companies also posted losses: France’s Deezer fell 2.3%, U.S.-based LiveOne sank 5.3% and China’s Cloud Music dropped 6.2%. Tencent Music Entertainment, China’s largest music streaming company, rose 0.4%. 

The Billboard Global Music Index fell 0.4% to 1,588.68 this week as 13 of the 20 stocks posted losses and only seven stocks finished the week in positive territory. Stocks were broadly up in the United States: the Nasdaq composite gained 1.1% to 15,628.95 and the S&P 500 improved 1.4% to 4,958.61. In the United Kingdom, the FTSE 100 dropped 0.3%. South Korea’s KOSPI composite index gained 5.5%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index sank 6.1% to 2,730.15.

German concert promoter CTS Eventim was the greatest gainer this week with a 4.1% gain. Two other live entertainment companies, Sphere Entertainment Co. and MSG Entertainment, ended the week up 2.8% and 0.7%, respectively. 

Among the week’s biggest losers was Hipgnosis Songs Fund, which fell 7.5% to 0.653 pounds per share. Hipgnosis fell 2.5% on Friday after news broke that Merck Mercuriadis is stepping down as CEO of the fund’s investment advisor, Hipgnosis Song Management, and will become chairman. President/COO Ben Katovsky will take over the CEO role. 

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