Resolving one of the key unanswered questions of the Blackpink contract renewal saga from earlier this month, YG Entertainment announced on Dec. 29 that, while the group renewed its contract as Blackpink, the four members will not renew their individual contracts with the South Korean entertainment giant.
Per Soompi, YG’s release reads, in full:
“Hello, this is YG Entertainment. Blackpink recently renewed their contracts with YG for their group activities, and we have agreed not to proceed with additional contracts for (the members’) individual activities. We will do our utmost to support Blackpink’s activities, and we will cheer on the members’ individual activities with warm hearts. Thank you.”
What exactly does this mean, you ask? Allow us to recap:
In the world of South Korean pop, fledgling stars usually sign initial contracts (typically for seven years) with one of the country’s entertainment conglomerates. For the next seven years, those agencies shepherd the stars’ careers, either launching them as solo performers, or assembling them into groups. Once those contracts are up, stars are free to go their own ways, or else sign on again.
Several major K-pop groups have broken up at the end of those initial contracts. Hence the worldwide trepidation when Blackpink, among the most visible and internationally successful of K-pop’s current wave of crossover artists (and thus blessed with considerably more leverage than they’d had as unknown aspirants seven years ago), did not immediately re-sign with parent company YG (which created the group in 2016) when its contract expired earlier this fall. No, really, it was legitimate business news: YG’s stock price once fell 13% in a single day after Korean news reports that the group was not planning to re-up with the company.
Eventually, the parties came to an agreement, and Blackpink (as a group entity) re-signed with YG on Dec. 5, sending YG’s stock price soaring by 29%. But by declining to sign new individual contracts, the group’s members — Jennie, Lisa, Jisoo and Rosé — are now free to pursue their own bliss outside of Blackpink activities.
As for what sorts of solo projects the four might be cooking up, please refer to Q’s previous Today in Blackpink News installment. In short, Jennie has already launched her own company, OA (Odd Atelier), about which all we know is that the company “aims to create new things that attract attention in a different way from what is usual or expected.”
Meanwhile, Lisa released a Christmas Eve cover of Britney Spears’ “My Only Wish (This Year),” complete with a luxe-looking Paris-shot music video. Future activities for Jisoo and Rosé are unknown as of press time, though both have previously released YG-associated solo albums in 2023 and 2021, respectively.
Blackpink, of course, is one of the the two most internationally successful current K-pop acts, along with BTS. The group’s debut LP, The Album, reached No. 2 in both the US and the UK in 2020, with 2022 follow-up Born Pink reaching No. 1 in both countries. Blackpink’s most recent world tour was reportedly attended by 2.1 million people, and in spring of 2023, the group became the first Asian act to headline California's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
In addition to Blackpink, YG also represents veteran K-Pop act Sechs Kies, boy band Treasure and rising girl group BabyMonster. The company made its first major incursion into Western pop music thanks to previous act Psy, whose surprise 2012 hit “Gangnam Style” became a worldwide smash.