Kpop bands have undergone major evolutions in the last 12 months. The number of bands that have split up during 2016 and in the beginning of 2017 could make anyone’s head spin. Several popular bands including 2NE1, KARA, 4Minute, Rainbow, and The Ark have ceased to continue their journey together in the music industry. In addition, many individuals have left major Kpop bands to pursue solo careers. These idols include Hyunseung, who left Beast; Taehyun, who left Winner; Jia, who left Miss A; and Junhyuk, who left Days6.
And now, Wonder Girls have called it quits.
— Wonder Girls (@WonderGirls) January 26, 2017
Many have suspected that the popular girl groups who have announced their splits will not be the only Kpop bands to break up by the end of 2017.
The industry has had a pretty predictable norm of a seven-year span between the artists’ debut to the end of their contract. According to Billboard, major acts like f(x), INFINITE, Sistar, and Miss A are in precarious positions.
In 2015, members of the band were asked if their individual activities have helped to bond the group as a whole. INFINITE member Dong Woo said that doing individual activities were great, however, group activities created synergy.
“I think what the members learned while doing individual activities is that there’s a synergy effect when we’re all together.”
At the time, the members of INFINITE laughed off and even joked about the possibility of a break up.
“We still have time in our contract period, so I don′t think we′re going to break up.”
The South Korean Kpop group, Wonder Girls, is the latest group to disband. The band’s agency, JYP Entertainment, announced the news last Thursday. Wonder Girls had been together for 10 years, according to Soompi. Fans of Wonder Girls were pleased in the manner in which the band decided to say farewell. JYP Entertainment said the Kpop group will release a final single on February 10. The release date of the single also falls on the 10-year anniversary of the band’s debut. Many presumed this was their way of saying “Thank You” to their loyal fans.
Rumors of Wonder Girls breaking up swirled in 2016. Two of the four members have renewed their contracts with the company. Yubin and Hyerim will continue to pursue their careers in the acting and music industries. However, Yeeun and Sunmi will exit Wonder Girls and pursue new paths.
In 2007, Wonder Girls started off as a five-member group. When the group’s popularity reached its peak in 2009, it crossed over to the U.S. The band was assumed to make it in the world’s top pop market. With their hit song, “Nobody,” Wonder Girls rose to No. 76 on Billboard’s singles chart. Since then, the band failed to make a further impact in the industry.
Wonder Girls underwent several transformations; however, the current lineup has remained since 2015, according to Soompi. Read JYP Entertainment’s official statement below.
“Hello, this is JYP Entertainment. We are announcing that Wonder Girls, after 10 years, is disbanding. The decision happened after much discussion among the members and with our agency. Yubin and Hyerim of Wonder Girls have re-signed with JYP Entertainment, and they will be continuing with music, acting, MCing, and other activities. Yeeun and Sunmi, after much deliberation, have decided to leave JYP Entertainment. As a thank you to all the fans that stayed faithful to Wonder Girls over the past 10 years, the group will be releasing a final digital single on February 10, their 10th anniversary. Thank you to all the fans all around the world for being with us, JYP and Wonder Girls, for 10 years.”
Just days ago, 2NE1 said farewell with their heartbreaking song, “Goodbye.” According to PopCrush, Minzy Kong (who left 2NE1 early last year), was completely unaware that the final song was coming out. Minzy is busy preparing for her solo debut and 2NE1’s other band members, CL (Lee Chaelin), Dara (Sandara Park), and Park Bom remained signed to YG Entertainment.
A photo posted by YANG HYUN SUK (@fromyg) on
“It’s a shame that I had to find out 2NE1 will be releasing their final album through a news article. This is very unfortunate as I was previously a member of the group 2NE1, but I share the same feelings as the other members in wanting to show appreciation and bid farewell to everyone for all their love and support of 2NE1,” she wrote. “I am truly grateful and sincerely appreciate all the love 2NE1 received and hope for your extended love and support as the members continue on in their individual careers. Thank you.”
After nine years of creating music together, the Kpop group KARA disbanded and the girls went their separate ways, according to FuseTV. KARA is considered one of the most successful Kpop groups to enter Japan’s major music industry. This crossover helped usher in Kpop’s expansion in other markets when they debuted. By 2011, KARA had sold a record number of CDs and DVDs for a South Korean artist. KARA was also the first girl Kpop group to hold arena tours in Toyko.
KARA’s record label, DSP Media, announced that three of its remaining four members — Gyuri, Seungyeon, and Hara — will not be re-signing their contracts with the company. However, the label added that Youngji, who joined KARA in 2014, will remain signed. Per the Korea Times, DSP Media left a parting message to the other three women and wished them the best in their future endeavors.
“We want to cheer them on and wish them the best.”
In November of 2016, the band Rainbow was confirmed to disband. Rainbow debuted in 2009 as KARA’s sister group.
After seven years together, Kpop fans were saddened to find out that 4Minute had disbanded. The girls’ major contract with Cube Entertainment came to an end in June of 2016, according to AllKpop. Only HyunA had re-signed with Cube Entertainment. An insider close to the group revealed to AllKpop that the members all have different future endeavors they would like to pursue.
— ShadeQween???? (@KpopQween24) January 27, 2017
“All the members have a different future in mind, such as singers or actors. After months of consideration, they decided that it would be hard to maintain the team. HyunA renewed her contract, and some of them are talking about renewing as well, but some will leave the label.”
The Ark seemed to have disappeared for quite a bit. Fans noted the disappearance of The Ark from Music K Entertainment’s list of artists in 2016. Later, it was revealed that Yuna Kim and Jeon Min Joo left the group. A source from Music K Entertainment stated the girls had different music styles; thus, their contracts were canceled. The five-member group will be revamped, according to Soompi.
Many fans saw the warning signs, but were still distraught when hit with the news of the disbanding of their favorite bands. Many were shocked to see after seven years, Hyunseung split from BEAST. In 2016, I.O.I’s Kim Chungha revealed that she would also take the solo route. In the month of January alone, fans watched as Miss A’s Suzy, Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun, and VIXX’s Ravi pursued solo ventures for the first time.
However disappointing the band’s break up, each act has left a significant mark in the Kpop scene.
— 바빠 (@kwontwoji) January 26, 2017
According to Billboard, INFINITE’s 2012 hit, “The Chaser,” remains one of the most dynamic Kpop songs ever made. Meanwhile, f(x)’s experimentalism, Miss A’s eclectic brand, and Sistar’s summertime tracks set them apart from traditional girl groups.
Other acts, like Girl’s Day, ZE:A, and Teen Top, are currently facing unknown fates in 2017 as they draw near their seven year anniversary. According to Billboard, some of 2016’s most popular Kpop songs came from rising acts like Blackpink, Twice, and Gfriend.
[Featured Image by Sara Kauss/Getty Images]