Shares of YG Entertainment, which manages the K-pop superstars Blackpink, tumbled 9% on Friday in Seoul amid reports that Thailand-born member Lisa Manoban has rejected a new contract offer.
According to CNBC and South Korean media reports, the contract renewal offered to Lisa was worth 50 billion South Korean won ($37.6 million).
Rumours have been swirling for the past two months that YG was struggling to reach a new deal with its biggest stars. Exclusive contracts between an artist and an agency in Korea typically are no longer than seven years.
Blackpink made its debut in 2016 and the group’s deal with YG was reportedly set to expire in August this year, though the company has never explicitly confirmed this.
YG acknowledged in July that contract renewal discussions were under way, but the Korean news outlet Munhwa Ilbo reported at the time that “it is known that the difference between the two sides is quite large”.
On Friday the company issued a statement saying, “We are still discussing contract renewals with Lisa. The rumours that are going around are nothing that is confirmed.”
Top K-pop stars are reported to earn around $1 million a year in base salary under the terms of the contracts with their agencies. Buri Ram-born Lisa, 26, is said to have a net worth of around $25 million from her performance earnings as well as commercial endorsements.
The news that Blackpink’s four stars — Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa — might be shopping around for a new home comes as Blackpink wraps up its Born Pink world tour, the largest world tour ever by a K-pop girl group.
The final two performances of the tour will take place on Saturday and Sunday in Seoul.
Blackpink perform at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey in August last year. (Photo: Reuters)