South Korea’s YG Entertainment Inc (122870. KQ) said on Wednesday that all four South Korean K-pop girl group BLACKPINK members have renewed their contracts with the label, sending shares in the company up by nearly a third. YG had been uncertain whether BLACKPINK would renew its seven-year exclusive contracts with the label. The firm’s shares had fallen by over a fifth this year before the announcement.
The YG-owned music agency, which also owns the South Korean football club FC Seoul and the American basketball team Los Angeles Clippers, operates as a record label, talent agency, entertainment production company, event management, concert production company, and publishing house. Its artists include Big Bang, iKON, and Treasure. It is one of SK’s Big 3 music companies.
YG has been focusing on boosting the profitability of its main artist groups and increasing the number of new acts it unveils each year to keep up with the competition. This year, it has already launched several successful new artists, including the boy band Block B, the girl band The Shadowboxers, and actor Kang Dong Won.
BLACKPINK’s global tour ’Born Pink’ last year was attended by more than 1.8 million fans over 66 shows in 34 cities, and the group made history as the first Asian and K-pop girl group to headline the Coachella music festival in California. They also became the first Asian act to headline London’s BST Hyde Park music festival in 2023.
With a hugely popular roster of artists, YG will likely continue focusing on developing its new acts. It is likely to launch more new artists this year and invest in reviving its existing ones.
Investors will be watching to see if the contract renewals of other artists at YG are going as smoothly. Last year, iKON members Taeyang and Daesung left the company to form their new company, THEBLACKLABEL, while G-Dragon remained in the original YG. It has been speculated that iKON members might follow suit and leave the label soon.
Meanwhile, there is speculation that Apink’s Naeun will join YG as the agency may not renew her current contract with Play M Entertainment, which she has been with since her debut in 2012. Naeun had not commented on the report. If she does join YG, it could boost the group’s sales and popularity. However, the decision is still not final, as the agency needs to agree on terms with Naeun.