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SM founder Lee Soo-man urges K-pop industry's quick adoption of AI, blockchain technology

May 30, 2024 - 17:35 By Kim Jae-heun

Lee Soo-man, founder and former chief producer of SM Entertainment, delivers a keynote speech at the General Assembly of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) in Seoul, on Thursday. (Yonhap)

K-pop pioneer Lee Soo-man urged a speedy adoption of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to strengthen the competitiveness of the cultural content business and maximize economic efficiency in the global music industry, Thursday.

“I am a believer in AI chatbots. AI and chatbot technologies are changing how creators and consumers communicate at the speed of light. AI will help K-pop connect with its fans around the world. It’s a convergence of culture and technology that I’ve been talking about for a while now, and it will allow deeper engagement between celebrities and prosumers, or fans,” said Lee, founder and former chief producer of SM Entertainment in his keynote speech at the General Assembly of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) held in Seoul, Thursday.

While the evolution of technology is quickly changing the business landscape of the content industry and creating a competitive advantage, the K-pop mogul also warned of AI’s impact on copyright. In particular, Lee expressed concerns about intellectual property infringement, illegal distribution of content and plagiarism that could lead to economic loss for creators.

Lee also said he has been advocating AI chatbots and robots be issued government IDs and be registered with a real name. He urged every website and online platform – be it minor or major – to adopt a real-name system.

“If the standards for smart-contract systems (of blockchain) related to content royalties, license management, etc are unified globally, it will be optimal for protecting the creators’ property rights,” Lee said.

Before Lee’s speech, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Yu In-chon opened the general assembly with a welcoming speech. Actor and filmmaker Yoo Ji-tae, singer and Rebuilding Korea Party lawmaker-elect Kim Jae-won, also known as RIAA, along with three other creators joined a panel discussion to share opinions on the cultural and economic benefits of creative endeavors. The discussion was moderated by Anna Neale, director of presidents and creators at CISAC.

Meanwhile, the General Assembly of CISAC, the world’s largest international conference on copyright, returned to Korea for the first time since 2004. Often dubbed the United Nations of the copyright industry, CISAC has 225 members from 116 countries and 225 copyright organizations worldwide. The non-profit organization drives major policies for the copyright industry and covers a wide range of cultural fields including music, drama, literature, sculpture and visual arts.