Millionaire Music Maker: BTS Producer Is South Korea's Highest-Paid Employee - Lifestyle Asia

The paycheck is at $34 million from January to July of this year alone.

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BTS is currently the highest-paid boy band and K-pop act in the world with a net worth of $50 million collectively.

A South China Morning Post report reveals that J-Hope has the highest net worth at $24 to 26 million. Suga trails behind at $23 to 25 million, while RM earns $20 to 22 million a year. The rest of the members—Jimin, Jungkook, V, and Jin—all have around $20 million of net worth.

Si Hyuk Bang, HYBE’s former CEO and now chairman of the board of directors, is reportedly worth $3.2 billion as of July this year, according to a Bloomberg.

But it’s not just the South Korean group and their boss that’s raking in the money. Their longtime music producer, Hyo Won Kang, who goes by the name Pdogg, is cashing in, too.

From January to July of this year alone, he earned a total of ₩40.7 billion or $34 million.

This makes the Hybe music producer the highest-paid employee in South Korea. He out-earned business chiefs from fellow conglomerates like Hyundai, Samsung, and LG.

In a Korea Herald report, regulatory filings by listed companies showed that Kang’s official wages stood at ₩38 million ($32,875) most likely from royalties, streaming services, to name a few.

He also earned ₩39.9 billion ($34,423,581) from stock options and ₩111 million ($95,764) in bonus payments.

These figures—though jaw-dropping for someone who does not hold an executive position at the K-pop conglomerate—shouldn’t come as a surprise. Kang has been with Big Hit Entertainment—now known as Hybe—even before the idea of forming BTS even existed.

Bang first discovered the songs that Kang produced in an online music community. Soon after establishing a collaborative relationship with the then-CEO, Pdogg would discover a young RM, around whom BTS would begin to be formed.

As the chief music producer of BTS, Kang was behind many of BTS’ biggest hits, including Fire, Blood Sweat & Tears, Spring Day, DNA, Idol, and Boy With Luv.

In a Fast Company interview, Pdogg says he considers himself as a music coach for the BTS members.

“I try to make it a comfortable environment where I provide motivation for further exploration,” he says. “If there are ideas from the artist that I feel need to be built up a bit more, then I try to explain it to them and provide some sort of guidance.”

For him, this approach is crucial for the growth of the artists. 

“All of this is based on absolute trust between the artists and the producers. Whether it’s BTS or [fellow Big Hit group] Tomorrow x Together, or even our trainees, we communicate a lot with the artist before debut, when they’re still training,” he says. “This builds trust over time and motivates them from a very early period of their career.”

The BTS members confirmed this in a KBS interview as translated by a Koreaboo article. In it, Jin says Pdogg taught them about the history of hip-hop and recommended movies to watch when they didn’t know much about it.

The group’s leader, RM, also described the producer as “the root of BTS’ music.”

“I wish that many people will know (his) name because as artists who perform and sing on stage, (he) has contributed the most to this,” he says. “He has helped in finding the direction for most of our title tracks.”

Banner Photo from @pdogg428 on IG

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