“It is clear that my dream is not accumulation of wealth or expansion of business. As I have been asked that question a lot recently, I myself have thought about what my dream is, and nowadays, I think I wanna be a patriot. In the past, patriotic martyr Yoo Kwan-Soon or Ahn Joong-Geun were regarded as great men, but as we are not in war now, I think the one who promotes Korea in the world or who earns a lot of foreign money is a patriot of our times. Of course, I didn’t begin my music career to be a patriot, but I think the role I can play in my current circumstances with my current status is to promote Korea’s music and culture widely throughout the world. I have this kind of ambition to be the world’s No.1, not the No.1 only in Korea, and PSY and BIGBANG are playing such a role well enough, I believe.”
Q: Some say that SM is made by a system and YG is made by YANG HYUN SUK.
“Contents are not something that can be made by a system. If that is the case, large companies with good system like Samsung will become the world’s best in the entertainment field. I think it may be because of the market capitalization of YG that I’m compared with President Lee Soo-Man of SM some times, but I believe that is not polite. Rather than competing with someone else and being compared with someone else, I just wanna do my best for my job.”
Q: What do you think of the globalization of the contents of the Korean Wave?
“I think that name is too much. Many Korean women golfers win world championships, but we do not say that is globalization of Korean golf. Just like that, rather than globalization of Korean contents, I would call it competition of Korean contents in the already-globalized contents market. I think being competitive with differentiated contents is much more important.”
Q: People refer to YG, SM, and JYP as three major music labels in Korea.
“I don’t see that the sales volume should be the criteria to judge who the three major labels are. In terms of sales, Loen, YG, and SM are the three major labels. The reason why SM, YG, and JYP are referred to as the three major labels is, I guess, the owner of those three companies were singers themselves and they have the story of giving birth to a lot of famous singers for a long period of time.”
Q: People say that YG is expanding into fashion, restaurant, and even game business.
“YG had been a small music label, but now it is better-organized and has a lot of good staff members. I also have my own younger brother, president YANG MIN SUK right beside me. I believe that every area of business must be led by the person who has the best capabilities in that field. As we have a lot of brilliant talents in my company, I’m in charge of music as well as fashion and restaurant business for which I have the biggest interest, and president YANG MIN SUK and other experts are sharing different responsibilities. Plus, we do draw a clear line between each one’s area of expertise.”
“On the day when NONAGON was launched, I said something. Korean drama series “Jewel in the Palace” created sensation in China and some Korean designers are famous in Japan. However, there is no single most famous Korean fashion designer or Korean restaurant brand that can represent Korea in the world. You know, Chinese food and Japanese food are something that anyone can enjoy anywhere in the world, but Korean food is something you can have only in Korean town. I felt bad about that and decided to change such situation. A Korean drama series recently exported to China created sensation for “Chicken & beer” in the country, and that shows contents can create a new business opportunity. Now, people say that Korean department stores in downtown Seoul cannot survive without foreign tourists, which shows that the Korean culture so far has been enjoyed mostly by foreign visitors who come to Korea to enjoy it. However, now is the time when we have to actively go outside to promote and sell our culture. I thought the reason behind the unsuccessful globalization of Korean fashion and food was because of the lack of attractive story, but now that we have such a story based on quality Korean contents, I see great global business opportunity for Korean fashion and food as well.”
Q: What do you think of the popularity of Mnet’s “Show Me the Money” show?
“I see it very positively. The most popular shows of Mnet recently are “Show Me the Money” and “Unpretty Rap Star”. I believe every success has its rightful reason. It is not just that those shows are well-made, but they well understand the interest and personality of the young generation. The reason behind falling viewership of public TV’s shows and drama series is just because they are not fun. Young people are not interested in shows made by the older generation based on cliché or stereotype. The reason why “Show Me the Money” and “Unpretty Rap Star” could achieve such a big success was because those shows aroused viewers’ curiosity with some wild aspects of the current young generation, which cannot be seen on public TVs. I’m a very optimistic person, and I have a tattoo of Yin and Yang on my ankle. Just as the night always follows the day, almost everything in this world has the cause and effect and the in and out. I mean, pros and cons always exist together for anything. I always try to highlight advantages over disadvantages. Even though “Show Me the Money” has created a lot of controversies, I’m quite positive about that as it arouses the public’s interest in the Korean hip-hop scene. The rappers whom I saw in the past had to work part-time at restaurants during the day, to perform their music during the night. They had financial difficulties in doing the music they want. However, they can now make themselves more recognized and more famous by performing in a show like “Show Me the Money”, so I think it plays a positive role. On contrary, the rappers who appear in “Show Me the Money” cannot perform in public TV’s music shows where idol groups mostly perform. So, a program that can show those underground musicians is necessary, too, I believe. The target market of the two different kinds of shows is different, as well. ‘Show Me the Money’ made Dok2 and Illionaire who had been underground musicians for a long time stand under a big spotlight, and made BOBBY to be iKON reveal his talent in hip-hop. Seeing the trend on music charts lately, I don’t think there still is the distinction between major and underground. A lot of idol groups fail to be ranked in high places on charts, but musicians like Hyuk Oh and Zion.T are taking top rankings. Seeing the songs of ‘Show Me the Money’ and ‘Unpretty Rap Star’ climb up to top places on charts, I thought the trend of the Korean music scene has completely changed.”
Source Ilgan Sports via YG-Life