The decision of whether the BLACKPINK members stay or leave will create significant changes for YG, and even for the whole of K-pop
All the rumors surrounding the contract negotiations of the four BLACKPINK members with their management company, YG Entertainment, have recently been the center of attention. So, what significance does the re-signing of BLACKPINK’s contract hold for YG? How will BLACKPINK be affected if they do not renew their contracts, and who will benefit from this?
YG is not ready to say goodbye to BLACKPINK?
It has been 2 months since the 7th-anniversary celebration of BLACKPINK’s debut, yet YG has not officially announced the contracts of the four idol members. In the cases of WINNER, BIGBANG, or AKMU, the contracts of these artists were all announced before their 7th-anniversary. The common factor among them is that most or all of the members remained with the company.
At this time, fans are paying attention to two artists who did not renew their contracts, iKON and Lee Hi. Information about the contracts of both was announced 2-3 months after their 7th anniversary. Therefore, it can be assumed that BLACKPINK is currently going through a similar situation, with at least 2 members possibly planning to leave the company. It is likely that fans will only receive official information in October or November.
Information about unfavorable negotiation processes has been circulating since late June until now. The continuous appearance of negative information about the possibility of re-signing could be a tactic used by competitors, a market test by YG, or pressure created by the company to persuade BLACKPINK to renew their contracts.
In reality, YG Entertainment is not prepared to let go of BLACKPINK at this time. When 2NE1 disbanded or members of BIGBANG and iKON left the group, YG still had core artists in the company. Currently, there is no artist in the company capable of offsetting the loss if BLACKPINK were to depart. Although TREASURE has decent sales figures, its reputation falls short of other male idol groups, and “BLACKPINK’s younger sister,” BABY MONSTER, keeps postponing her debut, requiring more time to generate profit.
BLACKPINK is the factor keeping investors tied to YG. Even if the group doesn’t disband, if even one member does not renew their contract, it will significantly impact the company’s reputation and finances. Many believe that if three members renew, BLACKPINK’s sales will remain at around 70-80%. However, if fewer than three members renew, sales could drop below 50%, which would be alarming for YG. With unconfirmed contract renewal information in recent times, the company’s stock price has fallen by more than 10%.
The difficulties faced by BLACKPINK open up opportunities for their junior groups
In reality, groups with members who do not renew their contracts often do not operate as energetically and effectively as when they were together under the same company. It would be challenging for the company to coordinate schedules and plan promotions for such groups. The management company also cannot invest too much in a group with members who have chosen to leave, leading to disparities in rights among the members.
Girls’ Generation (SNSD) is perhaps the most successful group with the “same group, different management companies” model, with 4 out of 8 members leaving SM Entertainment. However, it took them a full 5 years to make a comeback. Some members faced health difficulties because they had to balance personal projects with group activities, and their promotional activities were shortened, disappointing many fans.
A similar situation has also occurred with groups like GOT7, 2PM, Infinite, and Block B. MAMAMOO had slightly better luck, with more opportunities for comebacks. However, unlike SNSD, the comebacks of these groups did not generate as much buzz as before.
Apink is a regrettable case where member Naeun chose to move to YG Entertainment to pursue an acting career but did not leave the group. Initially, YG announced plans to allow Naeun to simultaneously promote with Apink. However, in her first comeback, she could not promote with the group despite participating in the recording process. Ultimately, she had to decide to leave Apink to avoid affecting the other members.
The management situation at YG Entertainment has long had many issues. The company rarely releases new music for its artists, and the situation would worsen if a member were to leave the company. BLACKPINK’s revenue comes not only from music products but also from advertising contracts, high-end brand endorsements, and profits from global tours. Many opinions suggest that YG will try to maximize profits from low-investment activities, even if it affects the group’s long-term reputation.
However, this situation also opens up opportunities for new girl groups. Groups like NewJeans, IVE, aespa, and LE SSERAFIM are rising strongly not only in South Korea but also internationally. Currently, BLACKPINK remains the representative female artist in K-pop. But everything will gradually change if the group’s activities become less effective due to members not renewing. The mentioned groups can seize the opportunity to capture the market and audience of their senior group, increasing their chances of becoming trendsetting K-pop girl groups in the future.
Predictions for the future of the members
Currently, there are many predictions and information about the future of BLACKPINK, with most indicating that at least one member may leave the company. Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa are all idols with personalities, ambitions, and a clear sense of what they want.
Many times, the members have expressed a desire for the group to release more songs than their current limited number. The company has continuously extended tours and arranged schedules inappropriately, impacting the members’ personal projects. After 7 years, BLACKPINK has not been able to fully realize their potential, and some fans feel that the group is more like influencers than idols or artists.
However, considering the current situation at YG and the fact that the company is allowing the members to pursue their individual desires in the final year of their contract—Lisa performing at a topless nightclub in France, Jennie participating in acting in “The Idol,” Rosé attending music artist gatherings, Jisoo accepting acting roles—it’s possible that all the members may choose to renew their contracts, which is what many people hope for the most.
In any case, with their current fame, it is certain that the four BLACKPINK members will still have successful individual careers.