Hybe buys Atlanta rap label Quality Control to expand in the US market

South Korea’s Hybe Co. will buy Quality Control, the Atlanta-based label behind rap stars Lil Baby (picture) and Migos, as the manager of K-pop sensation BTS aims to bolster its presence in the US music market.

Hybe America will buy QC Media Holdings, the label’s parent, for 314 billion won ($248.7 million) in March, Hybe said in a regulatory filing on Thursday. Hybe will also issue 62.8 billion won in new shares to QC’s two co-founders Pierre “P” Thomas and Kevin “Coach K” Lee. 

The acquisition is the latest major US deal for Hybe following its $1 billion acquisition of Ithaca Holdings LLC, the media group behind the careers of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, in 2021. The music impresario Scooter Braun, who previously led Ithaca Holdings, has since become the head of Hybe America. 

Since its founding in 2013, Quality Control has backed groundbreaking acts like such as Migos, Lil Yachty, Lil Baby and City Girls, becoming one of the world’s biggest and most influential rap labels. 

“QC is one of the most significant independent labels in the world,” Braun said in a statement. “Incorporating the hip-hop genre into our business strategy is essential to building the future of Hybe.” The acquisition will provide artists on the Quality Control label greater exposure to the Asian market, Hybe said. 

Hybe, formerly known as Big Hit Entertainment, has been trying to diversify its business portfolio beyond BTS, which has accounted for about 60% of its revenue. The group announced in June that it was taking a hiatus and one of its members enlisted in mandatory military service. In January, Hybe acquired a controlling stake in Supertone, a company specializing in artificial intelligence audio, or fake voice capability, by investing 45 billion won. –BLOOMBERG