Music Convention Business Manager of CJ E&M
"2017 MAMA will be a place of co-existence where different cultures are exchanged, different languages are communicated and different kinds of music are understood."
2017 MAMA dreams of co-existence among a range of different cultures, regions and kinds of music. Let's listen to what Kim Hyun-Soo, Music Convention Business Manager of CJ E&M, who has created MAMA, reveals to us about co-existence.
For some time, your name has begun to appear frequently in the media whenever MAMA is at hand. As you have led MAMA for years, you might have some special affection for MAMA.
Yes. I am deeply moved when I look back on the path that MAMA has followed. What makes MAMA special is that it keeps evolving rather than just growing complacent with what it has already achieved. The Awards began in 1999 under the name "Mnet KM Music Festival" (MKMF), the first and only Korean music video awards at that time. In 2009, it was renamed to the current name, MAMA, advancing into Asia, first in Macao in 2010. Two years ago, the Awards expanded its scale with the new MAMA Pre-Week event and MAMA Professional Categories, solidifying its position as a global culture platform covering the overall music industry ecosystem. This year's MAMA will be held in three different locations, Vietnam, Japan and Hong Kong, for the first time ever. And this is truly meaningful for us.
This year, MAMA will be held in three different cities: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Yokohama, Japan, and Hong Kong. Is there any particular reason that these cities were chosen?
When we select a host city, we consider a wide range of factors ranging from the size of the local music market to the level of interest in K-Pop or K-Culture. Ho Chi Minh City, Yokohama and Hong Kong are all attractive cities in this respect. First, Japan is the largest music market in Asia. We are also familiar with the location as we organized KCON there. It should also be noted that recently new K-Wave is emerging in Japan. When it comes to Hong Kong, the city has already been collaborating with us as a host city of MAMA for many years. The city is also important as a hub of Asian culture and economy. Lastly, Vietnam is one of the most prominent emerging markets in Southeast Asia and a place where a new K-Culture wind blows. We have lofty expectations about Vietnam.
As we said earlier, MAMA made another expansion in 2015 by holding MAMA Professional Categories. Can you explain the purpose of the new awards?
Now, MAMA is the undisputed leader of music awards in Asia. And every year, we think over how we can be more responsible and what roles we should take on as the organizer of the event. A cultural platform that aligns with the Asian pop music ecosystem.That is what we are pursuing now. And this is also why we added Professional Categories. We wanted to give some spotlight for not only singers but also professionals who make these singers, and share their vision and insights with everyone.
As the creator of MAMA, do you feel the global influence of MAMA?
Of course. First of all, local partners react differently. In fact, in the early days of MAMA, we had difficulties in arranging meetings and casting performers. Now, they come to us first and say they want to participate in the event. They email or call us and ask how they can participate in MAMA.
How do consumers respond?
I think consumer response is also getting hotter. From when we made our first move into the global market in 2010, many K-Pop fans in Asia supported us. Every year when we opened up ticket sales, many K-Pop fans waited and would freeze up the ticket selling site as soon as it opened. Most of all, the response you can feel on the site is really hot.
2017 MAMA will be held under the concept "Co-existence."What do you want to co-exist?
I would like to say "Co-existence of Asia." Asia has many different cultures and languages.We want to recognize such differences and try to form them into one. 2017 MAMA will be a place of co-existence where different cultures are exchanged, different languages are communicated and different kinds of music are understood.
It seems that MAMA in three different regions also corresponds to the theme "Co-existence.
Yes.We want to talk about the same story in different locations.We intend to expand the theme, "Co-existence," starting from Vietnam to Japan and Hong Kong. First, MAMA Premiere will be held in Vietnam to announce the start of the event. Next, MAMA will head to Japan and promote K-Pop and K-Culture to local consumers. At the final destination, Hong Kong, a festival that will combine the three locations into one will be held.
What does CJ dream of through MAMA? And what is the role of MAMA in that dream?
Every year, CJ tries to find out how we can take the lead as a global culture company while introducing our platform to Asia. And MAMA is the focal point of our commitment to this. MAMA will continue to evolve as a cultural platform where everyone becomes one through music and many differences co-exist. What I do is mostly global business, where I travel around the world every year.
Along with K-Wave, K-Lifestyle seems to gradually permeate the daily lives of people all around the world. It could be said that MAMA also plays an important role in this. As the organizer of the convention, what is your impression about this?
I feel great every time I witness these trends. Young audiences enjoy our contents and feel really inspired. Many fans shed tears with happiness. To them, K-Pop and K-Culture are vital parts of their life, or their daily life itself. As the maker of the contents, I am blown away by such responses from them. And I come to think of my responsibilities and roles once again. I work hard every year, while reflecting on all this feeling.
What is your message to fans for this year's MAMA?
Music has always been with me since my childhood. Music has the power to connect everyone together. Whichever culture they live in, whichever language they use, they become one through music. There are so many different people in Asia. What I would like to say is that we should recognize and respect such differences. I hope this year's MAMA can deliver the message of diversity, respect and co-existence.
Do you have any words to say to global fans waiting for MAMA?
When you travel around the world, you can see that there are so many different cultures, appearances and languages. It might seem easy to exclude them just because they are different from us. But we strive to deliver a common culture to people around the world through MAMA or KCON. Of course, we are not perfect but we have done our utmost. We hope you enjoy our contents to the fullest while recognizing that we are all different while co-existing and respecting each other.
2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards