In 2009, the Korean government created a new law that all K-Pop idol contracts are to a maximum of 7 years. That means every group that debuted in 2014 will soon be starting contract renewal talks with their companies in 2021. If these idols choose not to renew their contracts, the end could be near for them; specifically for these 5 groups. Do you think any of them will disband?
1. Red Velvet 레드벨벳
Red Velvet debuted in August 2014 under SM Entertainment which means they could face disbandment as soon as August 2021. However, SM Entertainment rarely formally disbands its groups.
For example : f(x) and Girls’ Generation but once members leave the company, it becomes harder to organize comebacks. Unfortunately, Girls’ Generation is yet to have an OT8 comeback since Tiffany, Sooyoung and Seohyun left the company.
Since Yeri, who is the maknae of Red Velvet didn’t join the group until 2015 when the group released “Ice Cream Cake”, her contract probably won’t expire until 2022.
Will Red Velvet discontinue their contract in 2021? In my opinion, this is really a 50/50 situation. Red Velvet is known not only for their versatile discography and vocals, they are also known for their genuine close bond that they have with each other ever since debut. Due to that, many including me think that the girls will not disband, rather continue to promote and make music together as Red Velvet.
However, the other 50% is that the girls might disband as SM Entertainment is really the worst when it comes to promotions. They are so bad at promoting the girls' success, comebacks, reality shows and even their solo projects. Isn't it weird that Red Velvet has more popularity overseas compared to in their own country? It might be a huge possibility that Red Velvet would want to cut ties with their company in 2021.
2. GOT7 갓세븐
GOT7’s contract decisions will be announced around January 2021 since they debuted in January 2014 under JYP Entertainment. The group has spoken openly about the so-called “7-year jinx”, which claims that most groups will disband by their seventh year or earlier.
In an interview in 2019 before their “Spinning Top” comeback, GOT7 revealed that they’re not worried about the jinx. JB (leader) said all the members would find it difficult to promote alone without their teammates by their side. In my opinion, I do not think that the boys will choose to disband next year. They are also one of the K-Pop groups who are known for their genuine bond, even though the 7 of them have been living separately since 2017.
“All seven members share the same opinion. We plan to keep going as seven members.” – JB.
3. Mamamoo 마마무
MAMAMOO made their official debut in June 2014 under RBW Entertainment, meaning June 2021 could be their last month as a group. The future of this girl group is in talks right now as they are widely known for their self-written songs and powerful rap and vocals.
Some K-Pop fans speculate that the members may leave RBW Entertainment to focus on their own music. Others believe that since the members are currently successful as soloists while pursuing a group career, they have no reason to leave their group or company in the future.
Personally, even though the girls are really close I do feel like they will not renew their contract. The reason being is that they are not the same young girls who debuted in 2014 and I can see them growing out of the girl group phase and into more of themselves individually with their own solo music as they continue to grow successful. Sometimes, I really don't see the point of them staying as Mamamoo anymore.
I think they would consider venturing into the music individually to make their own mark in this industry as themselves but obviously will still stay really good friends with each other; and possibly a few reunions here and there for their Mamamoo fans.
4. WINNER 위너
WINNER was formed by YG Entertainment in 2013 but faced several delays in their debut. They finally released their first album and single in August 2014 which made fans to believe their contracts will end in August 2021. Many WINNER fans agree that the group has been treated unfairly for years, even from the beginning of their debut.
In 2016, WINNER made their first comeback after an alarming 1.5 year hiatus. While finally promoting on Yoo Huiyeol’s Sketchbook, WINNER’s Seunghoon warned aspiring idols to steer clear of auditioning for YG Entertainment.
So, will WINNER choose to continue on as a group in 2021?
Honestly, I might be wrong but I can really see an end for this group. Not in their career of course but them in a group. The reason why is because there have been so many red flags on the mistreatment they've been getting from their own company. One of their members', Tae Hyun, left the group in 2016 and he stated that he was unhappy at YG Entertainment.
Therefore, if the members are still unhappy with their current company, there is a high chance that they might disband next year.
5. Lovelyz 러블리즈
Debuting in November 2014 under Woolim Entertainment, Lovelyz will be discussing their contracts and deciding whether to stay on in November 2021. Since debut, Lovelyz has consistent good chart performance as a group and the members have toured all across Asia together.
In October 2019, Lovelyz’s Kei even got to release her first solo, “I Go” along with a six-track EP.
Netizens worry that while it’s possible for one or two members to leave a group without causing a disbandment, it is possible if several members decide not to renew their contracts and it will be hard for Lovelyz to continue promoting together.
I guess K-Pop fans have something to dread for in 2021. After reading this post, do you have any opinions on the said K-Pop groups and their contract renewals? Let's all remember that no matter their decision, we should continue to wish and hope for the best for our favourite K-Pop idols!