Was BLACKPINK really held back by YG?

BLACKPINK’s limited song releases for 7 years

BLACKPINK has only released 33 Korean tracks since their 2016 debut. As of now, BLACKPINK has released only 2 full albums (The Album – 2020; Born Pink – 2022) and a handful of singles within their first 2 years of debut.

In comparison to 3rd gen girl groups like TWICE or Red Velvet, BLACKPINK’s discography is indeed limited. TWICE, with over 8 years in the industry, boasts a staggering 132 Korean songs (excluding English and Japanese singles – as of December 2023).

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It’s undeniable that YG’s strategy for BLACKPINK has been quite effective, as the scarcity of releases ensures high recognition and achievements for each comeback. However, the fact that a top girl group like BLACKPINK has less than 40 songs in nearly a decade of activity has stirred up much debate.

Some netizens even argue that BLACKPINK is merely a successful product of media and image-building tactics. 

Their infrequent releases also mean that BLACKPINK rarely makes comebacks. In fact, in the entire year of 2017, they only released “As If It’s Your Last,” despite their debut just a year prior. Typically, rookie groups need to actively promote to raise their reputation. 

YG’s scheduling has sparked much criticism. The members themselves even chose “As If It’s Your Last” as their least favorite song due to its excessive performances.

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The hiatus between BLACKPINK’s comebacks always leaves fans eagerly anticipating their return. The peak was between the two albums “The Album” and “Born Pink.” In November 2020, BLACKPINK wrapped up the promotion for “The Album” and its title track “Lovesick Girls.” 

The group went into a hiatus throughout 2021. There were no group comebacks, only Lisa and Rosé had their solo debuts. BLINKs waited for BLACKPINK’s comeback as if waiting for their idols to return from military service.

At the end of August 2022, BLACKPINK finally made a comeback with the pre-release single “Pink Venom,” paving the way for the promotion of the album “Born Pink” and a long world tour ending in September 2023. 

Following BLACKPINK, BLINKs often hunger for music to the extent that even a hint of a comeback accidentally revealed is enough to go viral everywhere. While a BLACKPINK comeback seemed distant during their time at YG, it’s even more so now that the members no longer maintain individual contracts with YG.

The members’ individual activities 

“The number of BLACKPINK magazine covers is enough to ‘bury’ the number of albums the group has released.” BLACKPINK is a rare K-pop group that releases music infrequently but maintains top-tier fame, especially in the fashion industry.

BLACKPINK members grace magazine covers like clockwork, maintaining a luxury, high-fashion image.


While this strategy boosts the group’s fashion-related endeavors, it inadvertently limits their presence in other fields. For instance, reality shows, which are fertile ground for idol groups to broadcast their national fame, are not BLACKPINK’s domain.

YG seldom allows BLACKPINK to participate in entertainment programs, even though some members have huge potential. Fans explain that this helps BLACKPINK maintain a high-end image befitting their status as luxury brand ambassadors.

Looking at it objectively, YG has achieved something rare in managing BLACKPINK for 7 years. That is, allowing all members to debut solo, establishing a solid individual fanbase for each member.

Although only 1-2 songs are released for each member, all of BLACKPINK’s solo releases were successful. Jennie, Rosé, Lisa, and Jisoo have each set records individually with their solos.

Jennie implies being “restrained” by YG, BLACKPINK thrives after the end of individual contracts

In November 2023, BLACKPINK decided to renew their group contract with YG. However, none of the four members extended their individual contracts. 

Jennie, Lisa, and Jisoo have all announced their own companies – where they will develop themselves as multi-talented artists. Rosé is up next. Since leaving YG, the four members have been busy engaging in diverse activities and even preparing solo albums.


In a recent TV show, Jennie subtly hinted at being restrained by YG. She talked about a promising future, completing her debut album, and wanting to try new things that hadn’t been attempted in the past 7 years. 

The idol also teased a new collaboration with rapper Matt Champion. Jennie has been consistently appearing on popular entertainment shows.

It cannot be denied that YG has brought global success to BLACKPINK, but the evidence also confirms that YG has squandered the group’s resources in recent years. BLACKPINK could achieve much more than what they currently have. Ending their journey with YG, the members are embarking on a promising and explosive new beginning.

Source: K14

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