The news that Chae Won and possibly 2 more IZONE members will be joining the new girl group under HYBE has surprised fans.
On the morning of August 17, Star News reported that Kim Chae Won, a former member of IZ*ONE, will debut as a member of a new girl group under HYBE Labels. Woolim Entertainment, Chae Won‘s current agency, and HYBE Labels (the parent corporation of Big Hit Music, Source Music…) have signed a secret agreement since the end of June.
Accordingly, Chae Won is still an artist under Woolim, but will be joining Source Music’s new girl group. The upcoming girl group will consist of 5 members, including Chae Won and is expected to add 2-3 other former IZ*ONE members. An undisclosed member of IZ*ONE is still in talks and has yet to decide whether she wants to pursue an acting career or continue the idol path. Many netizens guess this member is Kim Min Joo. Another member, Miyakawi Sakura, is also reported to be in the midst of discussion with HYBE Labels, but the process of contract negotiation has been delayed due to Sakura‘s management company in Japan. Previously, there were also many rumors that HYBE would recruit Sakura, but no source has confirmed this information.
Fans were surprised by the news that Chae Won will debut in Source Music‘s new girl group. This will be the company’s next girl group after GFriend’s sudden disbandment in May. Many fans believe that if this project has 2-3 IZ*ONE members, it will definitely attract fans, but it is also likely to stir controversy among the public. The reason is because after the Produce series was investigated for vote rigging, the image of IZ*ONE in the eyes of the Korean public has been negative. Many IZ*ONE members are considered the results of vote manipulation and those who “robbed the debut” of other trainees. The way Source Music “collected” already well-known members to form a new girl group has also received criticism for lacking thorough and long-term preparations. If this girl group debuts, their contract will not last as long as regular K-pop groups.
Some comments: “Source Music’s new girl group has 2-3 IZONE members? Are they trying to profit from an existing fandom?”; “Only GFriend is pitiful”; “Hopefully Chae Won will do well in the new project”; “As far as I understand, this girl group is also a project group like IZONE. The members are still under their current agencies, but they will come together in a project group under another company. The companies will share the profits with each other.” ; “With Kim Chae Won, Sakura, Kim Min Joo and Heo Yun Jin, this will be a great visual combination”; “I’m just looking forward to Min Hee Jin’s new girl group (Big Hit’s new group – PV). I’m excited to see new faces”; “Turns out they disbanded GFriend to invest in this girl group. This company sucks”…
Previously, in March 2021, Big Hit Labels Group changed its name to HYBE Corporation. HYBE is the parent company of many subsidiaries, including Big Hit (BTS, TXT…), Belif (Enhypen), Source Music (GFriend…), Pledis (Seventeen, NU’EST…), KOZ (Zico…). In addition to the new upcoming girl group of Source Music mentioned above, HYBE also has another girl group project that is expected to debut in 2022, produced by Big Hit Music. With many rookies planning to debut, including 2 groups under HYBE, YG’s and also JYP’s, the girl group battle of the 4th generation promises to be very intense in the near future.