New music from NCT, Aespa and other K-pop acts coming in 2021, says SM Entertainment as label teases multimedia SMCU concept
- NCT and its subgroups will release LPs and other material, and members will serve as mentors for a televised US contest to form an NCT Hollywood group
- SM also gives more details of its ‘creative universe’ inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such as cartoons, apps and games featuring multiple groups
NCT, the 23-strong K-pop mega group with shifting line-ups, have a big six months ahead, their label SM Entertainment has revealed.
There are also plans for new combinations of NCT U, the rotational project arm of NCT that brings together different members in temporary units for one-off songs. In the past, different NCT U teams have released popular NCT songs including 2016’s The 7th Sense, 2018’s Boss and l2020’s Make a Wish (Birthday Song).
SM founder Lee Soo-man hosted the event. During it, he talked with girl group Aespa about their new single Next Level and its accompanying music video as the latest episode in the SMCU storyline, and revealed that they would continue to explore the story through further releases.
The company announced it would be releasing remastered versions of earlier music videos, including a remake of H.O.T’s 1997 classic Free to Fly to commemorate that band’s 25th anniversary in September. It will feature H.O.T’s Kangta, Aespa’s Winter, and NCT’s Sungchan, and incorporate some of the SMCU’s sci-fi elements.
SM also shared news of upcoming content from SM Studios, which it launched in May 2021, including drama series and variety shows, several of which will feature K-pop stars.
June 29’s live-streamed SM Congress came amid continuing talk that the publicly listed label, which has struggled to please investors, will be acquired by a major South Korean tech company, most likely Kakao or Naver.