K-pop’s next global moment came with the reveal of A2K, or America to Korea, which looks to create a new girl group with top label players from South Korea and the States.
After a successful strategic partnership in 2020 that’s led to crossover records and a No. 1 album in the U.S., JYP Entertainment and Republic Records will join forces with Republic’s film, TV and creative content wing Federal Films for a new competition series.
JYP (home to top K-pop acts like 2PM, TWICE, Stray Kids, ITZY and its namesake and founder J.Y. Park) and Republic (who have Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Drake in its roster as well as TWICE, Stray Kids and ITZY) deem the venture will create “the next global girl group.” After holding auditions across the U.S. in September, contestants will participate in a bootcamp in Los Angeles. Semifinalists from the camp will go to JYP headquarters in Korea for the full K-pop intensive that includes training in singing, dancing, production, language and more. The winners will ultimately be part of the new girl group.
Park, the JYP Entertainment founder and chairman, as well as Republic Records founder and chief executive Monte Lipman, are spearheading the series.
A press release for the show says that “for the very first time in history, A2K implements the legendary K-pop idol training model, formula and discipline into a Western framework, channeling the core elements of the music, fashion, talent, and fans.” While HYBE and Geffen Records (who work together on acts like BTS, Seventeen, ENHYPEN and LE SSERAFIM) have held a national “audition tour” for their upcoming joint girl group, JYP and Republic’s A2K seems to be indicating a larger production to spotlight the conjoining worlds.
“This is the biggest project ever for me and JYP Entertainment; making an American artist through the K-pop system,” J.Y. Park said in a statement. “Not only because America is the biggest market in the world but because I started this company based on an American model, which is Motown Records. I was so inspired how they developed their artists. We just took it to another level making it into a system. A system where we find raw talents and give them a perfect training system where they learn all things that are required to grow into a true artist/performer/leader. And 25 years later, to go back into the market where I got the idea from is truly unbelievable.”
Lipman added that “J.Y. Park remains an icon and pioneer of K-pop music. His impact in the music community and popular culture continues to resonate on an extraordinary level. Applying JYP’s values and curation with American artists will give us the opportunity to create an international supergroup for today’s marketplace.”
While no definite timeline on the group or series was shared, the upcoming group will be a partnership between JYP Entertainment and Republic for their future music releases. The team-up seems similar to the 2020 Japanese singing competition show Nizi Project that JYP produced along with Sony Music Japan for a new girl group that became NiziU. JYP and Sony Japan have handled the group together, leading to chart-topping albums and singles in the Japanese market.
TV has also helped create other JYP acts, including TWICE (through a 2105 show called Sixteen) and Stray Kids (through its 2017 show called Stray Kids).
See J.Y. Park and Monte Lipman share the official announcement in a virtual press release video, breaking down the major music moment: