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[Exclusive] Startups

K-pop copyright trading platform Music Cow prepares for IPO

The five-year-old startup is likely to go public in H2, 2022 or in 2023

By Oct 21, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

(Courtesy of Music Cow)
(Courtesy of Music Cow)

Music Cow Inc., South Korea's first music copyright trading platform, has embarked on the process to go public on the back of its eye-catching growth this year.

The startup, founded in 2016, recently appointed Mirae Asset Securities Co. to manage its initial public offering, which is expected to take place either in the second half of next year or 2023, according to investment banking sources.

Investors are allowed to buy or sell a stake in copyrights to K-pop songs in a public auction or in an online marketplace on the platform. They receive monthly copyright royalties and take profits from an increase in the copyright price.

Currently, shares in copyrights to 920 K-pop songs are being traded on the Music Cow platform. Their transaction value has surged almost eightfold to 246.4 billion won ($209 million) in the first nine months to September of this year, versus 31.3 billion won in the year-earlier period. They generated an 8.7% return on average in 2020.

The platform also shares part of the profits from the public auction of copyrights with the initial owners of the copyrights, which helped attract fans of K-pop idols. It also drew the attention of investors with the catchphrase: "Music becomes a stable asset."

Its user number has more than quadrupled year on year to 71,423 users as of end-September.

Last month alone, the transaction value on the trading platform reached 70.8 billion won, with Rollin' by K-pop girl group Brave Girls recorded as the most actively traded song for 2.5 billion won. A share in the copyrights to the dance song sold for 846,200 won on Oct. 20, an increase of 63% over the past six months.

Music Cow has raised a combined 32 billion won in three funding rounds from about 10 institutions since 2019. Its investors include Korea Development Bank, Hana Financial Investment Corp., LB Investment and Premier Partners.

Write to Jin-seong Kim at jskim1028@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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