Members of BIGBANG and BLACKPINK all stand out and lead successful solo careers. According to experts, this may be due to YG’s unique strategies in building personal brands.
On June 24th, TWICE Nayeon will finally release her first solo album, which draws a lot of attention from the public. However, many also question why it took the female idol a long 7 years from her debut with TWICE to finally go solo.
Why Kpop idols have limited solo activities
In addition, some Kpop idols started their solo careers only after their groups disbanded or had their activities halted, like in the back of GFriend Yerin and Lovelyz Baby Soul, who are now promoted as Lee Su Jeong.
Many fans highly anticipate the solo careers of their favorites, seeing that it is via these activities that Kpop idols got to show newer sides of themselves. They get to experiment with more styles and musical genres, which may be better suited for them as an individual.
In addition, many get to try producing, writing lyrics and contributing to their solo works. They no longer have to put behind their respective styles to blend in with other members.
Despite these expectations, however, music critic Jung Min Jae believed that entertainment agencies will not allow earlier solo debuts, saying: “For many labels, releasing a solo album for each member is never a priority.”
She also added: “The strong rise in the number of Kpop fans in the past few years has lengthened the lifespan of most Kpop groups. In the past, it’s hard for a group to last more than 7 or 8 years, but now, they can stay popular for over a decade with strong international fandoms. The diversity of platforms through which fans can interact with their idols also play an important part.”
Finally, she explained that groups bring more stable profits than solo artists, so companies will always prioritize group debuts. .
While some Kpop idols managed to make names for themselves, such as SNSD Taeyeon, SHINee Taemin, and EXO Baekhyun, they are rare cases. In addition, not all members of a group will be successful soloists.
Finally, she concluded: “Through a group, a label can showcase different styles and personalities that cater to a wide variety of people. Meanwhile, a solo artist has to be good at everything, making it hard to determine on a specific track or concept.”
YG Entertainment is an exception
Still, some agencies managed to make it big despite the aforementioned issues, and YG Entertainment, along with their artists BLACKPINK and BIGBANG, are prime examples. According to Min Jae, this is due to YG having long focused on building personal brands for each member.
After Jennie, Rosé, Lisa, and Jisoo all achieved great success with their respective solo activities. WINNER Mino and Kang Seung Yoon also made a notable mark with their individual projects.
“From BIGBANG to BLACKPINK, YG strongly established their individual artists, especially in the fashion field. The agency worked with various brands like Celine, and many YG artists became the ambassadors for those. For BLACKPINK, YG’s strategies allowed every member to form their own loyal fan bases, which enabled quicker solo debuts,” the critic said.
For now though, most Kpop idols outside of YG will still follow the old trend of late solo careers, due to different priorities.
“IVE, for instance, is getting massive popularity, but their company Starship is unlikely to allow solo debuts for at least the next 2 to 3 years, especially when it’s harder for female artists to go solo compared to their male counterparts. The reason lies in boy groups’ loyal fanbases, who are willing to support individual members as well,” Jung Min Jae said.