South Korean news outlet Pulse reported on September 27 that the entertainment giant had acquired the startup for approximately ₩45billion (roughly £28.3million), following an investment it made last year when it acquired an 18 per cent stake in Supertone.
Valued at about ₩22billion (roughly £13.8 million), Supertone is known for its “adversarially trained end-to-end Korean singing voice synthesis” technology founded in 2020. Dubbed commercially as the ‘singing voice synthesis’ (SVS), Supertone’s AI technology first gained traction when it was featured on a local television programme last year, for mimicking the voice of the late Korean musician Kim Kwang-seok on the Kim Bum-soo classic ‘I Miss You’.
According to Pulse, several unidentified sources claimed that HYBE made the decision to acquire Supertone in order to synergise its own artist intellectual property with Supertone’s technology for future endeavours in content production. The report also claimed that HYBE has plans to utilise Supertone’s technology “to create digital content that can convey comfort and emotion to fans”.
Official HYBE representatives have yet to respond to the reports and claims surrounding its acquisition of Supertone.
In other HYBE news, the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) has announced that it will make a decision on the possibility of BTS‘ exemption from military service by December, as public debate over the possibility of the group receiving an exemption from the country’s military mandate intensifies.
“Member Jin’s enlistment is set to be sorted out by December, but the MCST will finalise our stance as soon as possible before then,” tourism minister Park Bo-kyun said, before adding that the ministry is currently “comprehensively reviewing the issue” by considering the various factors affecting their decision.