YG Entertainment is currently undergoing an exodus of talent, with all of iKON, BIGBANG‘s Daesung and Taeyang, and actor Kang Dong Won all confirmed to be leaving the group, with further rumors swirling around the company with regards to G-Dragon and BLACKPINK.
iKON have left the agency but will continue as a group, according to a statement released by YGE.
We are informing you that after a long discussion with the iKON members (Kim Jinhwan, Bobby, Song Yunhyeong, Goo Junhoe, Kim Donghyuk, and Jung Chanwoo) about their future activities, out of respect for each other’s opinions, we agreed to end our exclusive contract following the expiration of their contract period.
The six members of iKON will of course be continuing their activities as the group “iKON” in the future, and we are also letting you know that they will continue to communicate with iKONIC [iKON’s fans] through their official social media accounts, including their official fan community Weverse, just as they are now.
This comes after earlier (denied) reports that Bobby would be leaving the company.
Kang Dong Won has also left YGE following a seven-year stint with the company, according to a YGE statement.
After discussing the matter, YG Entertainment and actor Kang Dong Won have decided to end our management [of his activities].
All of this follows BIGBANG’s Daesung and Taeyang leaving, with the latter signing for subsidiary The Black Label.
However, later that same day, YG Entertainment went on to announce, “Daesung has decided to end his contract with us.” They also elaborated, “He’s looking for a fresh start.”
Just like with Taeyang, YG Entertainment emphasized that while Daesung was leaving the agency, he was not leaving BIGBANG.
“The fact that Daesung is a BIGBANG member has not changed,” stated the agency. “We support Daesung’s choice and new start, and we are always open to cooperating with him.”
After working together as producer and artist for a long time, Producer Teddy and artist Taeyang are taking on a fresh start at THEBLACKLABEL based on their musical trust in one another.
Of course, T.O.P announced earlier this year that he was leaving YGE, and later announced he would be trying to leave Earth, while Seungri is (thankfully) in jail.
There was also Bang Yedam and Mashiho suddenly leaving TREASURE back in November.
Additionally, there has been speculation about G-Dragon’s status due to being the only BIGBANG member still with the company, and BLACKPINK have been reported to be leaving for The Black Label as well.
They will never escape Teddy.
For what it’s worth, YGE has denied that report, but that’s basically expected, regardless of the truth.
Now if most of these artists end up at The Black Label or something, it does seem like more of a soft rebrand away from YGE’s recent checkered history than a true mass exodus, but this could end up being a significant shift in the industry regardless.
If they’re leaving for a reason, though, it does make me wonder what that is exactly. I mean they’ve certainly gone through worse in terms of the company’s image and management before. Perhaps it’s due to Yang Hyun Suk‘s rumored return to the company following his acquittal-but-still-shitty-person decision.