Even with their 10 billion won predebut project, LOONA is on the verge of collapse after a series of issues.
The unfortunate recent issues surrounding the girl group LOONA (Heejin, Hyunjin, Haseul, Yeojin, Vivi, Kim Lip, Jinsol, Choerry, Yves, Chuu, Gowon, Olivia Hye) and their agency seem to reflect the invisible dark side of the Kpop system. The desperation of the trainees, who are forced to enter infinite competition, and the desperation of the agency, which has to go through a considerable amount of time to generate profits immediately after discovering them, was a series of tense relationships reminiscent of thin ice. At the same time, there are many cases of conflicts and disruptions, and in the end, Blockberry Creative, the agency of LOONA, also seems to have been unable to overcome this hurdle.
LOONA has a different concept from other idols ever since pre-debut. In particular, it took 2 years to plan and introduce the group. In 2016, member Heejin made her first public appearance, and ever since, additional members being revealed monthly under the title “Girl of the Month”. In the end, a total of 12 members were introduced over the course of a year, with the intention of them starting activities first and gaining recognition for the overall team. This was the big picture of CEO Lee Jong Myung, who had an MBA in the United States and was a driving force behind the popularity of g.o.d Kim Tae Woo’s hit song “Love Rain”. Blockberry Creative was newly launched as a label at the time, and was actually investing a lot of time and money in order to be able to go all-in on producing Loona.
In fact, Blockberry Creative had its own confidence and eventually spent 10 billion won on LOONA’s pre-debut project alone. Alongside each member’s solo introductions, sub-units such as LOONA 1/3, LOONA Odd Eye Circle, LOONA yyxy, etc, were also promoted with different worldviews. The group also boasts a wide diversity of concepts, going from innocence, liveliness, girl crush, to fairy-like and dreamy.
LOONA’s career eventually peaked in 2019, surprising everyone by becoming the first Kpop girl group to take the top spot on the iTunes single charts. Gathering momentum, LOONA succeeded in entering the Billboard 200 chart at number 112 with their 3rd mini album “[12:00]”, making them the first girl group from a small agency to enter the Billboard main chart. This record clearly proves that even though LOONA lacks domestic recognition, the influence of the group’s overseas fandom is not at all small.
At this rate, LOONA’s career seems to be going smoothly, but in the end, challenges begin to creep up unexpectedly through member Chuu. In particular, with her cute charm, Chuu managed to improve her presence in the entertainment beyond the title of a LOONA member, and rumors of an exclusive solo contract began to surface. Then, she started missing group schedules, suspicions were raised even further against information that Blockberry allegedly never pay Chuu, other members, and often delayed salaries of staff.
There were also bad rumors surrounding Loona members. They even signed a world tour contract and proved their global influence, but there were also articles such as “The quality of the performance has declined”, “Members are constantly falling ill during the world tour”, and “there is no control tower on the concert stage, so the members just perform on their own”, though nothing was confirmed.
Then, from around 2021, some officials claimed that the company was facing a precarious financial situation, and was on the verge of collapse. In addition, the rumor of 9 LOONA members terminating their exclusive contracts, which recently gained attention, has already been leaked around the middle of 2022.
Until now, Blockberry Creative has stayed silent on various issues, and only announced Chuu’s departure due to an alleged “abuse of power” towards staff. Nevertheless, the company hasn’t released any evidence, and countless colleagues and other staff in the industry have stepped up in defense of Chuu. It seems that the LOONA project, which received an investment of more than 10 billion won, is currently in danger of collapsing altogether.