CJ E&M acquires hip-hop label AOMG

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From top: CJ E&M logo, Hi-Lite Records logo and AOMG logo (CJ E&M)

CJ E&M announced Wednesday, Jan 6 that it has acquired hip-hop label AOMG, continuing to strengthen its presence in the music genre.

AOMG is famously headed up by two artists — Jay Park, a former member of JYP Entertainment boy group 2PM, and Simon Dominic. The label, formed in August 2013, is the home of trendy artists who perform both in mainstream music and in the underground scene such as Gray, Loco and Ugly Duck.

Ahn Seok-joon, the head of CJ E&M’s music division, said in a statement that CJ would provide “support through infrastructure and know-how” to AOMG to help the label grow into “the trendiest label in Korea and a lifestyle leader both in Korea and abroad, starting with R&B and hip-hop music.”

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From left: Simon D. and Jay Park (CJ E&M)

AOMG will continue to control its own operations and music production, while taking advantage of CJ E&M’s distribution and marketing networks. Jay Park and Simon Dominic will remain as CEOs.

The announcement comes just a few months after a similar move by CJ E&M in October 2015, when the entertainment company acquired the hip-hop label Hi-Lite Records headed by rapper Palo Alto. In October, Ahn had said through a statement that “quality hip-hop labels such as Hi-Lite Records would lead to diversification (of genres) in the Korean music market.”

The acquisition of AOMG is notable as it is a much more mainstream label than Hi-Lite Records, with a wider following than the mainly underground Hi-Lite.

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Unpretty Rapstar (Mnet)

CJ E&M is growing its influence in the hip-hop market not only through music, but also through television. The group’s music TV channel Mnet was behind the rap competition programs “Show Me the Money” and “Unpretty Rapstar,” which helped to popularize the genre.

Ho-jung Won
The Korea Herald