The reason Blackpink fans are so upset with YG Entertainment

Ever since their breakout performance at Coachella in 2019, the all-female K-Pop group, Blackpink, has made an indelible impression on a stateside audience — all at a time when Korean pop music has undoubtedly merged into the mainstream. So it’s understandable that fans of Blackpink — commonly known as BLINKs — are in an uproar over the girl group’s lack of a “comeback” in 2020, a term K-Pop fans commonly use to refer to the release of new material or a new tour. 

Rather than directing their ire at the band (who, to be fair, have very little control over when their material is distributed or when their performances are scheduled), BLINKs have instead targeted Blackpink’s agency and record label, YG Entertainment. And, honestly, there’s a good chance that their anger isn’t unwarranted.

So what’s the deal with YG Entertainment? And why are BLINKs so angry at the management agency?

Is YG Entertainment mismanaging Blackpink?

Complaints about YG Entertainment’s alleged negligence concerning the direction of one of their most popular acts have been brewing for some time. According to the U.K.’s Metro, as early as November 2019, BLINKs have been up in arms over a series of delays involving Blackpink’s new material. That same month, YG Entertainment released a statement that said (via Metro): “The comeback of girl group BLACKPINK is likely to be delayed until next year.”

The ensuing backlash from fans caused the hashtag #BLACKPINKLEAVEYG to trend on social media, per the outlet, with some citing sexism as a major cause for mistreatment of the group. According to the same report by Metro, a number of BLINKs took to Twitter to post messages like this one, noting that Blackpink’s release schedule differs vastly from their boy band counterparts: “Blackpink worked for years to debut only to be given a total of 13 songs in 3 years while male artists are given multiple cb’s [comebacks] a year.”

BLINKs go public about distrust of YG Entertainment

In December 2019, BLINKs decided to go even further with their criticism of YG Entertainment. As per Billboard, a group of anonymous fans launched an ad campaign in order to publicly shame the label for what they considered a slew of broken promises made to the fandom — most of which revolved around promotional events. 

The centerpiece of the campaign featured a truck that drove around the Seoul neighborhood where YG Entertainment is headquartered. The truck listed demands from the fanbase while also playing Blackpink’s most well-known tracks. Among the demands listed were a minimum of two comebacks a year for the group as well as solo records for three of the group’s members: Rosé, Lisa, and Jisoo. The fourth member of the group, Jennie, released her own solo effort in 2018. 

The bad publicity for YG at the hands of BLINKs doesn’t look great, but it’s not the only way YG has generated its own bad press. Other goings-on behind the scenes might indicate other reasons for fans to be worried over the wellbeing of their favorite K-Pop group.

YG Entertainment's shady practices

YG Entertainment’s precarious place in the music industry has only gotten more uncertain over the past year after the agency’s founder, Yang Hyun-suk, was forced to step down as CEO “amid a series of inter-linked scandals that stretch[ed] from drugs to prostitution,” per Variety. Later that summer, the former YG head was questioned by Seoul’s metropolitan police force over allegations involving overseas gambling, facilitating sexual services for foreign investors, and violating Korean exchange transaction laws with foreign parties, as the Korea Joongang Daily reported at the time.

Yang’s questioning was part of a larger crackdown, known as the Burning Sun sex scandal, in which members of another YG Entertainment music mega-group known as Big Bang were found to have engaged in a number of shady dealings — including prostitution, drug trafficking, and rape — at a Gangnam nightclub called the Burning Sun. In the wake of the scandal, Big Bang band member Seungri (real name Lee Seung-hyun) retired from the music industry entirely and a few of his fellow K-Pop cohorts faced serious jail time, while the club closed its doors for good in February 2019 (via AllKPop).

While Blackpink has managed to steer clear of the K-Pop fallout post-Burning Sun, their proximity to Yang — who still remains a partial YG Entertainment’s shareholder — via the label certainly hasn’t helped what BLINKs have opined as egregious mismanagement of the group.

Bad news for Blackpink?

So what’s in store for Blackpink under the YG Entertainment banner? If you ask the average fan, nothing good. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the release of a Blackpink mini-album was pushed back from February 2020 to June 2020, making it over a year since the girl group released their last EP, titled Kill This Love. 

That being said, rumors of an even more egregious affront to the Blackpink fanbase are in circulation. According to Koreaboo, the agency is reportedly rolling out another all-female K-Pop band for a debut. In February 2020, a number of superfans discovered that YG copyrighted the names “Baby Monsters” and “Baemon” — either of which could end up being the name of the new band.

If the rumors are true, fans could expect an even worse fate for Blackpink than leaving them in comeback purgatory — it could signal the end of the band as we know it. As Koreaboo pointed out, the delays upon delays for Blackpink’s comeback are similar to their YG girl-group predecessor 2NE1, whose reign in the K-Pop sphere was abruptly cut short right before the debut of — you guessed — Blackpink.

So yes, the fate of Blackpink might be a harrowing one at this point — but if anything that can be said for certain, their army of fans certainly have enough reason to be upset over the way YG Entertainment has done them dirty. 

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