Over the last seven years, BLACKPINK have gone from K-pop rookies to one of the biggest girl groups in the world. They’ve been the first K-pop act to headline Coachella, recently played their first stadiums in the US as part of their ‘Born Pink’ world tour, and broken tons of records online as both a group and individual artists.
Right now, though, the four-piece’s future is in doubt as they continue to negotiate a new contract with their label YG Entertainment. Typically, K-pop contracts last for seven years and BLACKPINK’s is reported to have expired on August 7, 2023. Both before that date and since, the four members have been locked in discussions with YG, the results of which could have a big impact on the band’s future.
It’s not just the group that will be affected by their decision to renew or move elsewhere, but YG too. At present, BLACKPINK is the label’s flagship group, with few other artists active. With each new report of the band looking elsewhere, the company’s stocks drop, adding to the pressure of the negotiations.
Boyband Winner’s group activities are on hiatus while their members complete military service and iKON recently left the label to join 143 Entertainment. BigBang were due to make a long-awaited comeback in 2020, which was postponed due to the pandemic. But in the time since then, both T.O.P. and Daesung’s contracts with YG have expired and the former announced he had left the band entirely. New girl group BabyMonster is due to debut this year but has seen that unveiling pushed back on more than one occasion.
Here’s the latest on BLACKPINK’s contract renewals, both as a group and as solo artists.
Although industry figures were optimistic that the group would renew with YG prior to their contracts expiring, now that outcome seems less likely. A new market analysis report from Hyundai Motor Securities on September 27 said: “The possibility of all Blackpink members renewing their contracts [with YG Entertainment] looks dim currently, though it is likely that Blackpink’s group activity will continue with some members extending their contracts. It will inevitably be bad news for YG Entertainment unless it renews contracts with all four members.”
All reports so far have suggested that the individual members are all committed to staying in the group, with some implying that the group will split its year in half, spending six months on solo promotions and the other six as BLACKPINK.
A few years ago, it would have proved difficult for the group to remain as BLACKPINK and under that name if they left YG. However, the recent departures of iKON from YG and GOT7 from JYP Entertainment have shown there is a way and a willingness now for groups to retain copyright over their brand when moving on to new labels.
According to reports, Jisoo has set up her own agency to look after her future career rather than re-sign with YG. The singer released her debut solo single ‘Me’ in March, but also has ambitions as an actor and secured the lead role in Disney+’s Snowdrop in 2021. As such, we’d expect any agency she teams up with in the future – whether her own or an established company – to promote her in both fields.
In response to the rumours about Jisoo’s plans, YG said: “Nothing has been confirmed regarding BLACKPINK’s contract renewals and their future activities.”
At the time of writing, Rosé is the only member of BLACKPINK reported to be renewing her contract with YG. Neither the singer or the label has confirmed this news, although a recent post on her Instagram page made fans question if she really would stay with YG. The photos she shared may have been innocuous, but the caption she chose has been read into as a cryptic hint about the band’s future. “Great minds think alike wink wink,” she wrote. Will the great minds of BLACKPINK all go to agencies anew or all remain with YG?
Much like Jisoo, Jennie is reported to be setting up her own agency to look after her future interests. The rapper has also recently branched out into acting, appearing in The Weeknd’s HBO series The Idol, and has spoken about working on new music for an imminent release. During BLACKPINK’s Born Pink world tour, she often chose to perform an unreleased song called ‘You & Me’ rather than her debut solo release, ‘Solo’. YG has also refused to confirm or deny the reports about Jennie.
Lisa has reportedly turned down a contract renewal offer from YG worth 50 billion South Korean won ($37.6million), with rumours suggesting she will either sign with Korean label Antenna or with a US label. It’s not just the news that the rapper has rejected such a huge contract suggesting that she’s looking for pastures new. As she departed Korea for Paris, where she is set to become the first K-pop star to perform at the legendary Crazy Horse Cabaret, fans noticed she wasn’t accompanied by any YG staff as usual but travelling just with a few security guards.
At the time the reports about Lisa’s future came out, YG responded: “We are still discussing contract renewals with Lisa. The rumours that are going around are nothing that is confirmed.”