Although Korea’s top four labels, HYBE, YG, JYP and SM Entertainment, are on everyone’s mind when we ponder over the best K-pop acts out there, a lot of these idol members are starting to enter the idol business scene themselves! Now, the rise of idols opening their own agencies or recruiting other idols under their wing continues to intrigue us as we witness more and more headlines regarding idols managing their own label. From older 2nd generation K-Pop group members to current celebrities you’d be surprised to know even owned a label, check out the list of idols who are productive on and off the stage.
EXO Chen, Baekhyun, Xiumin (CBX)
The legendary boy group members of EXO are not shy of entering the entertainment scenes as CEOs. While their group activities alongside EXO remain intact, solo activities and the promotions of CBX will be handled by their independent label, ‘I&B100.’ After much discussion and mutual consent with SM Entertainment, the announcement was made official at the start of 2024. Outside of music, the team plans to also pursue the individual dreams each member had regarding production and directing projects.
Another EXO member Do Kyung Soo joined Company Soo Soo, founded by his manager from his debut days. According to his new agency, he will continue his group activities as an EXO member under SM Entertainment and pursue his solo career under Company Soo Soo.
Wonder Girls’ Yubin
After the disbandment of the Wonder Girls, Yubin took it into her own hands to open up her own agency in 2020, Real Recognize Real, and produce music on her own. During this time, she has released a plethora of hits like “Ya Ya.” Yubin thanks JYP (literally, it’s in the lyrics of her song) but stated she felt freedom to explore more of her boundless artistry.
What can’t Jennie do? The amazingly talented member of BLACKPINK has taken all the things she’s learned on the stage since her debut in 2016 and has put it towards her talk-of-the-town label ‘ODD ATELIER.’
After the announcement, Jennie made her first “rebranded” appearance on KBS 2TV talk show with veteran singer Lee Hyori. When Lee Hyori asked why Jennie opened ODD ATELIER, she replied “I wanted to do solo activities more freely so I carefully established my own agency.” She added she would still work with YG closely.
BLACKPINK’s Jennie isn’t the only one working outside of YG. Even member Jisoo has partnered up with her brother at BLISSOO Entertainment. In order to start her own solo career, she felt it was necessary to only continue alongside Black Pink’s group activities. According to reports, Jisso was initially rumored to join Galaxy Corporation, alongside talent like G-Dragon, but chose to sign under ‘Blissoo,’ a subsidiary entertainment startup under Biomom, Inc. Fans eagerly await the kind of solo work Jisoo will produce alongside family.
The previous PENTAGON (2016) member had the courage to leave the group under Cube Entertainment in October of this year. All alone, Kino started fresh with his own agency after departing from the group. Now, he is promoting his song, album and agency of the same name “Naked.” The name Naked embodies Kino’s urge to be unapologetically himself and approach the public with honesty, according to the artist himself in an interview he had the day of officially launching the agency’s social media pages.
Among the slew of scandals and messy situations between BIGBANG (and the obvious breakup of a talented band of artists), it seemed a comeback was out of reach for the artist. Now, G-Dragon has announced his return to music under his new label Galaxy Corporation. Perhaps the scandals made for good publicity?
G-Dragon received blessings from his previous label YG and it was even revealed that they looked into recruiting BIGBANG member Daesung as well. Perhaps a new duo can emerge from the ashes?
Despite her time as a powerhouse vocalist in SISTAR, Hyolyn continuously shined through her solo activities. After SISTAR disbanded in 2017, Hyolyn immediately crafted her own agency ‘Bridge’ in hopes of being the bridge that communicates her music to the public. She produced hits like “Dally” feat. GRAY and has resurrected SISTAR19 for a comeback this year!
Kim So Hye
Who doesn’t love a woman in power? Although publicity criticized for her bold decision, after Kim So Hye‘s time on the stage with I.O.I, the hit group formed from survival show Produce 101, she immediately left her agency to start her own. Despite being a complete newbie, the wild risk paid off and her business savvy has led her to be known amongst the Korean public as a variety show queen and talented actress.
PSY debuted in 2001 and 10 years later found himself reeling in the world with his hit “Gangnam Style.” After much success, he launched P Nation and recruited various talents such as Jessi, Hwasa, HyunA, Dawn, Heize and more under his wing! P Nation was behind all the beauty that is “Like That” feat. Suga of BTS. Psy evolved from cowboy to CEO with due diligence.
Originally known as B2ST (BEAST) the amazing boy group that brought us hit songs like “Shock” and “Fiction” continued to work together and create a better working environment for themselves. After leaving Cube Entertainment, Around Us Entertainment was born in 2016 and reinvented the group as Highlight.
Being one of SM Entertainment’s first K-Pop babies, The six-member group debuted in 1998 with a series of hit songs such as “Hey, Come On!” and “Wild Eyes.” In 2011 they started their agency Shinhwa and we haven’t seen a nude photoshoot ever since.
Which agency seems the most interesting to you? If you could debut in any of these agencies, which one would you pick? Share your thoughts with us!