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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lee Soo-man
Born (1952-06-18) 18 June 1952 (age 66)
Seoul, South Korea
Nationality South Korean
Education M.A. in Computer Engineering
Alma mater California State University, Northridge
Seoul National University
Occupation Record producer, record executive
Kim Eun-jin
(m. 1984; d. 2014)
Korean name
Hanja 滿
Revised Romanization Lee Suman
McCune–Reischauer I Suman

Lee Soo-man is a South Korean record producer and executive best known as the founder of the SM Entertainment, a prominent South Korean entertainment company.[1] He is also called the President of Culture, as he was a pioneer of the Korean Wave known as Hallyu. Lee Soo-man made his debut as a singer in 1972, when he was a student at Seoul National University. He founded S.M. Entertainment in 1989, which is now the largest management and record label in South Korea.


1952–1980: Early years and singing career

Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea on 18 June 1952, and attended Seoul National University between 1971 and 1979.[2][3] He debuted as a singer in South Korea in 1972, releasing songs such as "Happiness" and "One piece of dream". Besides singing, he also worked as a DJ and TV host.[3]

In 1980, he formed the band 이수만과 365일 (Lee Soo Man and 365 days). However, media censorship policies under the Chun Doo-hwan government discouraged him from a career in the Korean music industry.

1980–1985: Studying in U.S.

In the early 1980s, Lee decided to leave the entertainment world in order to pursue a career in computer engineering. He moved to California to work on a master's degree at California State University, Northridge,[4] where concurrently he witnessed the rise of "superstars of the MTV generation" such as Michael Jackson.[1] Inspired by the rise of the MTV era in the United States, the ambitious Lee focused on setting his sights on forging and laying the foundation for the modern South Korean pop music industry similarly modeled after the United States. In 1985, he returned to Korea "with a vision of what the Korean music industry could be."[3]

1985–present: Founding S.M. Entertainment

Following his return to Korea, Lee ventured back into the entertainment world working as a DJ and presenter. In 1989, after four years of saving money and gaining experience in the industry, he established an entertainment company called 'SM Studio' in the Apgujeong neighborhood of Seoul (naming the business after his initials) and signed singer Hyun Jin-young. During the 1990s, SM Studio developed an "in-house" system that looked after all aspects of its artists' careers.[3] Lee's approach was targeted at teenage audiences, and took a holistic view of the qualities needed to become a successful musician.[5] The business eventually reemerged and traded as S.M. Entertainment in 1995.

In February 2010, Lee resigned from his position as a member of the board of directors at S.M. Entertainment, but maintained a role in the business's "management and artist development" division.[6]

Personal life

Lee Soo-man's wife, Kim Eunjin, died from cancer on 30 September 2014.[7][8][9] He is also the paternal uncle of Sunny of Girls' Generation.[10]



  • Lee Soo-man, 1977
  • Lee Soo-man, 1978
  • 애창곡집, 1978
  • Greatest, 1980
  • Lee Soo-man, 1983
  • Lee Soo-man, 1985
  • 끝이 없는 순간, 1986
  • NEW AGE 2, January 1989
  • NEW AGE, November 1989


  • 1976 MBC Music Festival: 'Top 10 Male Rookie of the Year'
  • 1977 MBC Music Festival: 'Top 10 Artist of Year'
  • 1997 SBS Seoul Music Award for 'Best Record Producer'
  • 2000 Good Deed Artist Prime Minister Commendation Award
  • 2002 Korean Culture Content Exportation Awards in Music
  • 2003 Korean Culture Content Exportation Awards in Music
  • 2004 SBS Music Awards Festival: 'Producer of the Year'
  • 2005 Certificate of Merit as Honorary Ambassador of LA given by the Mayor of LA
    • The Most Influential Person to Drive the Entertainment Industry from the weekly newsmagazine <Sisa Journal>
    • China's South-East Music Chart Awards 'Best Overseas Producer'
    • The 12th Korean Entertainment and Art Awards'Entertainment and Art Development Award'
  • 2007 1st place as “The No.1 Power in the Entertainment Business” in both overall and music industry from the 3rd anniversary survey of Moneytoday Starnews
    • ‘Global Frontier Award’ from the ‘Global CEO Award Winning Company Case Presentation and Awards’ (organized) by the International Business Society
    • ‘Global CEO Award Winning Company Case Presentation and Awards’ (organized) by the International Business Society: 'Global Frontier Award'
  • 2008 Mnet Golden Disk Award for 'Record Producer of the Year'
  • 2009 Château Mouton Rothschild: 'Commanderie de Bontemps'
  • 2011 1st place as “The Power Leader of Popular Culture” selected by The Herald Business
    • Seoul Cultural Arts Awards for 'Best Popular Music Producer'
    • The 2nd Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards The Orders of Cultural Merit (the highest honor awarded at the Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards)
    • 1st place as “The 100 Powerful People in Korean Popular Music” selected by the “SOUND”, a popular music magazine
    • The 13th Academic Conference by Business Released Society: The first “Small but Strong Business Entrepreneur Award“
    • The 2nd Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards: “The Orders of Cultural Merit” (the highest honor awarded at the Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards)
    • The 6th Korea-EU industrial cooperation day: 'Korea-EU Cooperation Award’
    • The 1st Korea Music Copyright Awards: 'The Best Record Producer'
    • The 11th Proud Korean Awards: “National Prestige Award”
  • 2012 The 1st Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards 'Kpop Contribution Award'
    • The Korea Society 55th Anniversary Gala: 'Dinner Culture Award Honoree'
  • 2016 'Best Producer of Asia Award' / Top Chinese Music The Annual Festival
    • First Korean to receive 'Asia Game Changer Award' / Asia Society
    • Ranked #1 in 'Cultural Leaders of the Year' / 2016 e-daily Culture Power
  • 2017 First cultural figure to receive '2016 Youngsang Diplomat Award'
    • 'Best Marketer Award' / 2017 Kotler Awards
  • 2018 Selected as "International Music Leader 2018" by Variety Magazine
    • 2018 Korea-China Management Awards‘Best Marketer’
    • 4th place as “An executive who shows best leadership”
    • 6th place as “An executive who contributes to the nation’s economic development”
    • 10th place as “The best CEO by University students”


  1. ^ a b "Lee Soo Man: Taking Korean Pop Culture Global". Stanford Graduate School of Business. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  2. ^ "KPOP NEWS - SM's Lee Soo Man Speaks at Seoul Natl. University as Alumni Speaker | Mwave". Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  3. ^ a b c d "The History of K-pop, Chapter 4: How Lee Soo Man's First Big Fail Resulted in Korea's Modern Pop Star System | MoonROK". Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  4. ^ Asia, Forbes. "Korea's S.M. Entertainment: The Company That Created K-Pop". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  5. ^ Keith Howard Korean pop music: riding the wave 2006– Page 95 "together in 1996 by Lee Soo Man, a graduate of Seoul National University and a product of the campus-led song movement. Lee surveyed teenage girls, then advertised for dancers who most closely fitted what the girls said they wanted."
  6. ^ Kun-ouc, Park (25 February 2010). "Lee Soo-man steps down from SM board of directors". 10 Asia. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Lee Soo Man's (Former SM CEO) wife dies of cancer" (in Korean). Seoul: 5 October 2014.
  8. ^ "SM Entertainment's Lee Soo Man's wife passes away |". Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  9. ^ "SM Entertainment Founder Lee Soo Man's Wife Passes Away After 2-Year Battle With Cancer". KpopStarz. 2014-10-05. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  10. ^ lastdance2 (2017-09-07), SNSD Funny Clip #5- When you thought that your teammate is just a small fry..., retrieved 2018-02-10

External links

This page was last edited on 15 October 2018, at 06:20
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