With MAMAMOO‘s contracts with Rainbow Bridge World up for renewal in 2021, it was reported recently the three of the four members had renewed, but Wheein would be leaving the company. Those reports were recently confirmed through a company statement, though with the wrinkle that Wheein would remain a member of MAMAMOO and promote with the group for at least a couple more years.
“Hello, this is RBW. First, we would like to sincerely thank everyone, including MooMoo [fandom name] both in Korea and abroad, for loving and supporting MAMAMOO. We have renewed our contracts with three members of MAMAMOO: Solar, Moonbyul, and Hwasa. [The contract renewal was] based on mutual faith and trust, and we promise to give them our generous support so that they can fulfill their dreams in music activities and various fields. MAMAMOO’s Wheein has been in in-depth discussions with us like the other members for a long time, but in the end, she decided not to renew her contract. Hence, we would like to inform you that our exclusive contract with her will be terminated. We fully respect Wheein’s choice, and we sincerely wish Wheein, who is starting a new chapter in life, happiness and good fortune. We would like to thank Wheein for shining with us for the past 7 years. However, all four members have unchanging affection for MAMAMOO, so Wheein signed an extended agreement to participate in some activities, including albums and concerts, until December 2023. MAMAMOO’s music will continue as much as the great love fans have sent them, and we will inform you about the specific future activities later. MAMAMOO is currently preparing for their summer concert. They will show good music and activities separately and together as MooMoo’s best friend, so please continue to give them warm encouragement and support. Thank you.”
I was surprised to see other people were surprised by this conclusion as reports circulated. I don’t say this because there was an issue with the group’s sales or between the members, but most idols want the freedom to do their own thing, and the usual reason they stay together is they can prosper more as a unit than individually if they like each other enough to be at least cordial. MAMAMOO already have basically solo careers carved out, so the incentive to do the idol thing was minimal, and quite frankly the only surprising thing to me was that three members stayed.
Wheein hanging around the group despite leaving the company is probably close to the best-case scenario even if it might not be the same. In practice, sure, it’ll probably be just another comeback or two, but at least it’s in writing that she’ll promote with the group, unlike other scenarios where that’s promised but never really achieved again. Definitely sucks to see things changing, but really this is more of a success than anything.