Fans become more concerned for BLACKPINK’s future when the contract renewal deadline is approaching.
BLACKPINK debuted in 2016 and has attained global success after 7 years of work. According to the fan’s calculation, the members’ respective contracts with YG will end on August 8, 2023. As fans become more and more worried about the future of BLACKPINK as a group, there have been many discussions and guesses about the members’ plans.
Recently, rumor has it that BLACKPINK members are having different plans for their future. On July 10, only Rosé is said to have chosen to stay with YG. On July 12, Lisa was revealed to have not reached a new agreement with the company about her contract. These rumors further worry fans and raise questions as to what caused these rumors in the first place. More importantly, will BLACKPINK continue their activities as a group in the future?
What are the reasons behind the rumors?
Hypothesis #1: YG increases pressure on BLACKPINK members
One hypothesis claims that YG is the one behind the rumors. By doing so, they hope to pressure the BLACKPINK members into signing the contracts that best benefit YG.
Making clear the future of the group will help ease fans’ and investors’ worries. Moreover, the company can start building long-term plans for its artists. BTS renewed their contracts in 2018, 2 years before their deadline. TWICE members were announced to have renewed their contracts in June 2022, four months before their deadline.
For BLACKPINK, there is approximately one month left, but there has been no news about the result of the renewal processes. While the YG girl group still has one encore concert on August 8, 2023, it is still too weak a sign to ease fans’ anxiety about the future of BLACKPINK.
Because the deadline is coming, fans come up with a theory that YG is spreading rumors about the members’ contracts to put the BLACKPINK girls at a disadvantage. They try to make use of fans’ reactions to guilt BLACKPINK and get the best out of the renewed contracts.
In 2021, RBW Entertainment announced that only two out of four MAMAMOO members – Solar and Moonbyul – renewed their contracts, while Hwasa and Wheein were still in talks.
RBW’s actions were met with backlash, as netizens believed the company was exerting pressure on the members who had not reached a final decision with the company or the one that could benefit them.
Netizens also said that YG’s indifference to Jennie’s private photo leaks was an indirect way to pressure the group. They referred to Taeyeon’s case in 2017 when only her manager went with her to Indonesia. The idol was mobbed and pushed and eventually cried out of fear. Netizens believed it was SM’s way to pressure the idol about her contract renewal.
Hypothesis #2: Rival companies
A second hypothesis goes that it is rival companies that are behind the rumors. By taking advantage of the current situation, the rumors can deal a blow to YG’s reputation and stock prices and spread fear about BLACKPINK’s future.
Recently, EXO-CBX and FIFTY-FIFTY sued their company for “slave contracts.” In response, their management companies said there were “external forces” that “lured” artists with fame and perks.
According to industry insiders, the BLACKPINK members have received lucrative deals from foreign companies. Lisa is said to have received 100 billion won in guarantee from a company based in China, while three other members are said to have also found new places to expand their careers. YG reportedly had to pay at least 20 billion won to keep the idols from moving to new agencies.
Moreover, after a series of controversies, more artists have moved on from the company, leading to a drop in YG’s stock. When the news BIGBANG G-Dragon would be leaving the company came out, YG’s stock suffered a major drop of 10.33% in two days.
Hypothesis #3: Internal conflicts
After many idols left YG, some chose to move to THEBLACKLABEL – a YG partner company.
THEBLACKLABEL is a music-producing company headed by Teddy. It was YG’s subsidiary with 50% stakes belonging to YG. However, THEBLACKLABEL became a partner company in 2020, signaling a drop in YG’s share in the company and new competition between them.
If BLACKPINK moves to THEBLACKLABEL, YG may suffer a major loss when TREASURE is still on the rise, BABYMONSTER is about to debut, and WINNER cannot work as a full group because there is a member in the military.
Can BLACKPINK continue activities after YG?
While idols leaving companies may seem daunting to fans, it is a different story from idols leaving their groups.
In 2017, Tiffany, Sooyoung, and Seohyun left SM Entertainment but still maintained Girls’ Generation’s group activities. Other groups such as KARA, 2PM, and EXID also followed in their footsteps and arranged a group comeback. It is possible as long as all group members can arrange their personal schedules, and the group has a good relationship with their old companies.
YG has also had an amicable relationship with other groups whose members of a group or the whole group left the company. In 2022, when fans were worried about the copyrights of 2NE1’s songs, YG said that they had no dispute with the girl group’s performances at Coachella. Lee Hi and AKMU can continue with their YouTube channel after leaving the company, and iKON can use the group’s name after they departed from YG.
Nevertheless, fans hope that BLACKPINK can renew their contracts and continue activities as BLACKPINK.