FROM disbandments and member departures to hiatuses, senior K-pop idol groups have faced very rough waters in the first seven months of 2016.
At the beginning of the year, there were about 49 active groups who debuted between 2000 and 2010.
One popular group out of the 49 have since disbanded but several have suffered from member departures or an unpredictable future.
In June, 4Minute shocked everyone with their disbandment. Poster girl Hyuna the only member who resigned with CUBE Entertainment. The group was not necessarily struggling, as their last few tracks did not flop on the charts and other members outside of Hyuna were holding their own. But discrepancies in opinions amongst members marked the end of 4Minute.
International stars KARA was hanging on their last breath in 2014 when popular members Nicole and Jiyoung quit the group. In came youngster Youngji who rejuvenated the group but ultimately, the older members decided to leave DSP Media. Leader Gyuri previously said she did not believe KARA truly disbanded and hoped to release albums in the future.
The question is when will they make a comeback?
2AM were in a similar situation to KARA however the members still promoted under the 2AM name. The ballad quartet still kept in contact and was active in the music industry, so a comeback would possibly happen faster than KARA.
Trendy boy group MBLAQ’s career was up in the air. Main vocalist G.O hinted he may quit the music industry post-military. Maknae Mir appeared on many variety shows as a regular and Seungho released his first solo track, “Say You Love Me” for the drama, When One’s Home is Happy. But there were not any reported plans for a group comeback, especially when Seungho was due to enlist soon.
Member departures seemed the norm judging by the amount of big-name members who left their respective groups in previous years.
2016 was not an exception.
Successful boy group BEAST saw lead vocalist Hyunseung leaving the line-up which hit its peak with “Fiction” in 2010 due to continuous controversy and differences in music direction. It was ironic to see CUBE’s famed duo Troublemaker leaving their groups but staying within the company as solo artists. However, Hyunseung was tipped to depart soon.
CUBE’s neighbours JYP Entertainment also lost miss A’s Jia, who decided not to continue her contract and reportedly ending her career as a girl group member. Jia’s position in miss A remained a blur to Say A’s and K-pop enthusiasts alike as JYPE released a photo of her calling fans to sign up for membership after the announcement. It was expected for the remaining members to attend the upcoming JYP Nation concert as they were in contention to sing a new company song. Fei recommitted and would be debuting as a solo artist this year, while Suzy and Min both have one more year left on their contracts. Ultimately, miss A’s lifeline is in limbo and fingers crossed they would not walk the same path as 4Minute.
Major scandals may jeopardize a group’s career, for example the well-covered JYJ Park Yoochun sexual assault case. JYJ always focused on individual activities and have only released four group albums in six years. If Yoochun was found guilty and goes by his word to end his entertainment career, JYJ might be at risk of disbandment or be put on hiatus, with Jaejoong and Junsu continuing their solo work.
Financial struggles and a smaller fan base were also factors of disbandment. Groups like After School, Rainbow and Secret were popular but were arguably past their prime and dropped behind to newer, fresher groups on the girl group spectrum. The three groups were still promoting and had successful individual activities but if a bigger named group like 4Minute disbanded, the risk factor would be higher for them.
Despite the fall of some pre-2010 groups, the remaining plus the ones who have not disbanded may prove everyone wrong and extend their careers for the long haul. Who knows, those groups could preserve their longevity and last for 15-20 plus years like their seniors in Shinhwa, H.O.T and Fly To The Sky.
Seeing your bias group disband would be understandably devastating but some fans should reduce the hate and respect their group’s decision. Rooting for them and their future endeavors post-idol life whether it be solo music, acting, education or marriage would likely put them at ease and…
Fans would then simply move on.