Seoul’s Olympic Stadium was packed during pop band BTS’s three sold-out shows last October, but some fans bypassed long merch lines by preordering items via the e-commerce app Weverse Shop (formerly called Weply), which offers exclusive band-related products. Others checked wait times for food kiosks and posted messages to BTS members through the social networking app Weverse. These services weren’t built by tech startups, but by a subsidiary of Big Hit Entertainment, the Seoul-based music management and production company that represents BTS and other artists. Launched last June, the apps are part of Big Hit’s plan to build a “one-stop service within the music industry,” says co-CEO Lenzo Yoon, akin to the transactional “super apps” popular in parts of Asia. Weverse Shop now boasts 1.8 million users from 200 countries; Weverse has 1.4 million daily users.
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A version of this article appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of Fast Company magazine.