Back in 2018 when SM Entertainment‘s IT affiliate Dear U first launched LYSN, an “interest based fan community” mobile application…

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| Google Play

… it didn’t quite take off — despite the extensive line up of all the agency’s artists from BoA to SuperM. Being dubbed “one of SM Entertainment’s biggest money-draining affiliates“, Dear U struggled with creating legitimate profit from the application.

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SuperM | @SMTOWNGLOBAL/Twitter

Then, in February 2020, LYSN began featuring a service called “Bubble” — which allowed fans to send and receive realistic text-like messages with their favorite SM Entertainment idols for $3.49 USD per artist per month.

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“Private messaging between you and your bias”. | LYSN

Fans immediately fell in love with “Bubble” and the super personal interaction it provided.

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Red Velvet’s Irene. | Twitter

And thanks to the arrival of “Bubble”, Dear U has seen a spike in quarterly revenue!

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NCT Jisung’s “Bubble” messages. | NCT’s LYSN

Jisung: Noona, do you know what red bean yanggaeng (jelly) is…?
Paid User: Yanggaeng is delicious.
Jisung: But everyone says only old people like yanggaeng

Post February 2020, SM Entertainment is reportedly to have garnered over ₩4,200,000,000 KRW ($3,672,944 USD) in the single second quarter of 2020.

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SM Entertainment | Insight

Meanwhile, the now-cash-cow feature did find itself involved in a sexual harassment controversy. SM Entertainment announced legal action to be taken against all offenders who abuse the “Bubble” feature in inappropriate ways.

SM Entertainment Warns Legal Action After Lysn Users Harassed Red Velvet’s Irene & Seulgi With Inappropriate Messages