Genie Music invested 46.4 billion won ($39.2 million) to acquire a 38.6 percent stake in Millie's Library to become the largest shareholder. The online music service company will develop new audio content-based business models using Millie's technologies and infrastructure. Millie's Library is a popular audiobook platform with some 232,000 monthly average users who pay for subscriptions of 9,900 won.
KT's combined platform subscription service provides unlimited access to digital book services run by Genie and Millie for a monthly fee of 13,000 won. "Genie Music will continue to collaborate with Millie's Library to create audio content based on KT's artificial intelligence audio technologies," KT said in a statement on December 17.
Audiobooks gained popularity in South Korea in 2020 after many people chose to stay at their homes due to a coronavirus pandemic. Readers enjoy listening to books narrated by famous actors and narrators. In 2020, Millie's sales stood at 19.2 billion won, up 75 percent from a year ago.
Competition has become fierce in South Korea's online music streaming service market, which was projected to stand at $801 million in 2021, after foreign online music services including YouTube Music and Spotify started to increase their presence in South Korea dominated by domestic operators such as Genie Music, Melon, and Bugs. Foreign service operators garnered popularity among young consumers who are eager to try new services and gain access to foreign content.
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