YG Entertainment is a record label and talent agency founded by Korean band Seo Taiji & Boys member Yang Hyun Suk and based in Seoul, South Korea. It specializes in producingR&B and hip hop music. YG stands for Yang Goon and are also the initials of the chief executive officer, Yang Hyun Suk. Its current roster of recording artists include Big Bang,2NE1, Seven, Psy, Tablo and Gummy.
The label is one of the “big three” record companies of Korea along with S.M. Entertainmentand JYP Entertainment because of strong market share and international operations. Records release through YG Entertainment’s distributor, Mnet Media. Avex Entertainmentand YG Entertainment have recently formed a new project in Japan called YGEX.
In March 1996, Yang Hyun Suk, a former member of Seo Taiji and Boys, founded YG Entertainment. The first group to debut on the label was Keep Six, with their only album Six in tha Chamber released in May the same year. Jinusean was the next artist to debut on the label and was the first to achieve mainstream success. Group 1TYM followed along with CEO Yang Hyun Suk’s album release. 1TYM and Jinusean are often credited with bringing hip hop to the mainstream Korean audience. In 1999, the company’s artists created a collaboration album under the name YG Family.
The label soon released albums by artists Perry, Swi.T, Wheesung, and a second YG Family collaboration in the following years. In 2003, Big Mama debuted as the first group famed for their voices as opposed to appearance. Seven debuted after, along with Lexy and Gummy. In 2005, the YG Underground label was created and grew to contain the artists 45RPM and Stony Skunk. In addition, Se7en began to go abroad to sell records in Japan in a joint effort between YG Entertainment and Nexstar Records. Big Bang debuted in 2006 and was the company’s first idol group.
Big Bang skyrocketed in popularity from the time of their debut to the release of their second Korean album, Remember. 2008 was also marked by new releases from Gummy and Uhm Jung Hwa. In 2009, 2NE1 debuted and also quickly became one of the K-pop industry leaders. Big Bang branched out into Japan during this time and released their first Japanese language album, Big Bang. G-Dragon, leader of Big Bang, released his solo album in Korea and it became the highest selling album of 2009.
Psy, an already renowned rap artist, signed onto the label in 2010 and released the album Psy Five. In addition, the company applied to the stock exchange but was rejected. It is suspected that the reason was because YG Entertainment had too few music groups and an unstable cash flow, despite increasing earnings in Korea and Japan in 2009. YG Entertainment eventually passed the Stock Exchange Commission’s screening to go public on the KOSDAQ. The stock price is anticipated to be set around 24,600~28,800 WON (around $22 – $26 USD with a face value of 500 WON). Around 35 billion won (around $33 million USD) will be up for trade on the initial public offering
On September 27, 2011, YG Entertainment announced that Tablo from Epik High signed an exclusive 4-year contract with them.
Domestically, YG has had partnerships with M-Boat Entertainment and EunGun Entertainment, Yamazone Music, and Booda Sound. After the contracts for Big Mama and Soul Star ended, EunGun and M-Boat have ended their activities with YG Entertainment.
Starting in 2005, YG expanded into the foreign market. Se7en is the first YG artist to expand into the rest of Asia. YG has partnerships with Nexstar Records, a Nippon Columbia label, to manage Japanese releases for Se7en. Universal Music Japan manage Big Bang’s Japanese activities,and Avex Group manage 2NE1’s Japanese records. YG Entertainment releases its Korean albums under 21 East Entertainment in China, GMM International in Thailand, and Universal Records in the Philippines.
In 2011, YG Entertainment partnered up with S.M. Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, KeyEast, AMENT and Star J Entertainment to create United Asia Management in an effort to promote Korean pop music internationally.
With the rise of hallyu and Big Bang’s popularity, YG announced in 2012 that they were working with eBay Korea to launch a YG Store on eBay for foreign customers.
Last March 2010, KMP Holdings was established via a joint venture between YG, S.M., JYP, Star Empire, and other companies. KMP is the official distributor of releases from these companies. KMP stands for Korean Music Power.
United Asia Management
SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, KeyEast, AMENT and Star J Entertainment will be joining forces to create a huge Asian management agency named ‘United Asia Management‘! This joint investment corporate body was created in an effort to develop an industry that will push ‘Hallyu’ to ‘Asianlyu’. United Asia Management aims to pioneer a global market, and all artists under the six agencies will be under a database system that manages intellectual property rights. A new contents production system will be utilized as well for movies, dramas, and other media. UAM will also be acting as the global agency for artists planning to advance, or currently promoting, overseas. UAM will be officially established as of April 2011.
YGEX was established as a partnership between Avex Group and YG Entertainment for the promotion and release of YG artists’ materials in Japan. Current artists under YGEX include all active YG Entertainment artists.YGEX operates as a joint-label venture between the two companies.
Initial Public Offering
YG is seeking as much as 35.9 billion won ($31 million), less than the 39.9 billion won it had earlier sought as Big Bang played to full stadiums in Japan and fans flocked to female quartet 2NE1, which is also managed by the company. YG has decided to reduce it’s IPO size stating it as a risk to their operation.
YG Entertainment is heavily involved in charity work, creating their community service campaign WITH. They donate 100 won for every album sold, 1% of all merchandise sales, and 1,000 won for every concert ticket to charities. In 2009, they raised US$141,000. They surpassed it the following year with US$160,000. Of the total, US$87,000 were towards a scholarship for Holt Children’s Services while US$69,000 were towards children with rare diseases. YG Family have also directly delivered US$4,400 worth of charcoal to families in need during the winter time.The company has also announced that it would be donating around US$500,000 for disaster relief to Japan after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
|Debut||Artists||Gender||Members||Leader||Disbanded||Fanclub name||Official color|
|1998||Yang Hyun Suk||Male||Solo||–|
|1998||1TYM||Male||4||Teddy Park||–||Hip Hop Village||Black|
|2002||Wheesung||Male||Solo||–||left the company|
|2003||Big Mama||Female||4||–||left the company|
|2003||Seven||Male||Solo||–||–||Lucky 7||Lime Green|
|2003||Lexy||Female||Solo||–||left the company|
|2005||45RPM||Male||3||Smash||Left the company|
|2012||Epik High||Male||3||Tablo||–||High Skool||Black|
- E.knock (aka Kush of Stony Skunk)
- G-Dragon (leader of Big Bang)
- T.O.P (main rapper of Big Bang)
- Choi Pilkang (PK)
- Lydia Paek (member of Quest Crew)
- Rovin (Jeon Jung Hwan)
- Jung Hye Young
- Ku Hye Sun
- Kang Hye Jung
- Sandara Park (Dara of 2NE1)
- Choi Seung Hyun (T.O.P. of Big Bang)
- Kang Daesung (Daesung of Big Bang)
- Lee Seung Hyun (Seungri of Big Bang)
- Yoo In-na
- Kang Seung-yoon
- Big Mama
- Heo Yi Jae
- Lexy (Red Line Entertainment)
- Park Han-byul (now under of Barunson Entertainment)
- Soul Star (LOEN Entertainment)
- Stony Skunk
- Brave Brothers (now a CEO of Brave Entertainment)
- Wanted (LOEN Entertainment)
Former notable trainees
- May Doni (now under LOEN Entertainment)
- Jang Hyun-seung (now under Cube Entertainment a member of B2ST)
- Park Bohyung (now under B2M entertainment a member of SPICA)
- Kim Junsu (now under JYP Entertainment as a member of 2PM)
- Go Kyung Pyo
- Jeong Eugene (UJIN) (now under D-Business Entertainment a member of D-UNIT)
- Nam Gyuri (former leader of Seeya)
- Crazy Girls Dance Team: Kim Ji Hye, Yun Hee Jin, Yun Hee So, Bock Mi Ran, Won A Yeon, Kim Min Jung, Oh Hye Ryeon. Park Eun Young
- Hi-Tech Dance Team : Kwon Yong Deuk, Kwon Yong Don (Kwon Twins), Park Jung Heon, Seo Ki Chul, Jo Sung Min, Kim Byung Gon, Kwon Cheol Jun, Kim Kwang Won, Kim Hee Yun, Hansol Lee, Song Won Ki