The k-pop idols we have known and love are quickly rising in popularity. But backing them up are the mighty companies that manage and take care of them. While we know the majestic HYBE Labels managing BTS, there are other entertainment agencies and companies that manage different groups of k-pop. Hence, here we are, introducing you to the agencies that made successful groups like EXO, BLACKPINK, and TWICE.
1. The Big 3:
A. JYP Entertainment
Founded by Park Jinyoung, the company was founded way back in 1997 and is known for its hit star groups and talented actors. Notable artists under the label are Rain, Jeon Somi, Bae Suzy, and Sunmi along with popular groups like TWICE, Stray Kids, Xdinary Heroes, Itzy, and the new group, NMIXX. Kdrama heartthrob Ahn Hyo Seop is also a part of this agency, whereas the former JYP artists include GOT7, MAMAMOO, and HyunA.
B. SM Entertainment
The company that has been known to lead the “Hallyu Wave” or “The Korean Wave”, SM Entertainment is a treasure chest of brilliant artists and groups. Founded by Lee Soo Man, the company has an array of different talents in its belly. The company first came into existence in the year 1989 as SM Studio but later changed its name to SM Entertainment in 1995. Leading the Korean Wave and popularising it early through artists like H.O.T and BoA, it now represents genius groups like the whole NCT Unit (NCT 127, NCT Dream), EXO, SHINEE, TVQX, Super Junior, Red Velvet, WayV, SuperM, and the most recent debutante, Aespa. The company also possesses super-talented actors such as D.O., Sehun, Siwin, Cho Bo Ah, and Yoona who are both idols and actors. Mun Ka Young is one of the most popular actors in the company. In Japan, SM co-publishes Avex Trax releases for artists including Ayumi Hamasaki, Namie Amuro, and Koda Kumi, as well as Johnny’s Entertainment artists such as Arashi and KAT-TUN.
C. YG Entertainment
Another company that makes up the Big 3 is YG Entertainment, founded by a former idol himself, Yang Hyun Suk. Yang was a member of Seo Taiji and the boys, which is one of the first k-pop groups. Yang Hyuk Suk founded YG Entertainment was founded in 1996 and has been popular with house artists like BLACKPINK, Big Bang, and the new group which is rising quickly to fame, TREASURE. It also includes actors such as Lee Soo Hyuk, Lee Sung Kyung, Jang Ki Yong, Kang Dong Won, and Yoo Seung Woo.
2. P Nation
Founded by the iconic PSY, the one who brought k-pop into the limelight with his hit track “Gangnam Style”, it came into existence in the year 2018, probably one of the newest record labels. PSY was previously with JYP Entertainment before starting his own company. Despite the late beginning, the label has been rising quickly into popularity for two reasons, one being its owner, PSY. Second, the artists under it. Since its foundation, it has roped in talented artists like Jessi, HyunA, Dawn, Heize, and Crush, to name a few. Known for its almost family-like environment, P Nation is a company every idol yearns to work under.
3. Cube Entertainment
Founded by Hong Seung-sung in 2006, the company is known to have talented artists like Apink, Pentagon, and BTOB under its flag. Infamous for the mistreatment of its idols, the company is now constantly in the warm waters for k-pop fans. The most popular scandals or rather an unfair firing of HyunA and Dawn made its unfair treatment more apparent as they were fired just because they were dating. Another unfair removal was of Soojin of (G)-IDLE, on false bullying accusations. Hence, due to these reasons, it is regarded as one of the worst k-pop companies to work in.
4. KQ Entertainment
Founded by Kim Gyu Uk in 2016, KQ Entertainment or even Stone Entertainment is known to have the rising group ATEEZ under its label. While the company is not really popular, the group ATEEZ’s fame is increasing its popularity on a different level.
5. AOMG/HIgher Music
AOMG was founded by former JYP Idol, Jay Park. The idol who had left JYP and his group, 2PM, went on to make this company in 2013 and has been going above since then. The label is known to house popular artists like Lee Hi, Loco, DeVita, and the newest addition, Kim Yugyeom from the group GOT7. Yugyeom and Jay Park’s stories are similar as they both left JYP Entertainment. But the difference is, while Yugyeom didn’t leave his group as Jay Park did, he still left the same company. Basically, a junior following his senior’s diligent footsteps.
6. Konnect Entertainment/ Swing Ent.
Founded by another popular idol and former k-pop group member, Kang Daniel made his company in the year 2019. The label has been managing idols like Chancellor and CL and Daniel himself. In 2020, HYBE Labels, the k-pop entertainment giant, also housing global stars like BTS, acquired Konnect Entertainment.
It is actually the norm for companies to manage and have idols under their labels, it makes the idols rest a bit more easily when they have a helpful staff in the company. Although mistreatment is also prevalent in the k-pop industry, we wish nothing but success to the better companies of k-pop.