Happy ending to Blackpink contract drama
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Happy ending to Blackpink contract drama

Agency confirms new deal and another world tour by K-pop superstars next year

Happy ending to Blackpink contract drama
Blackpink perform at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards in Newark, New Jersey on Aug 28 last year. (Photo: Reuters)

SEOUL - All four members of the K-pop supergroup Blackpink have renewed their contracts with YG Entertainment, the agency has confirmed, dispelling concerns about the band’s future after their initial contract expired in August.

Shares in the Seoul-based promoter rose as much as 29% on Wednesday, their biggest intraday jump in more than a decade. YG Plus, its content production affiliate, shot up by the daily limit of 30%.

Blackpink, whose members include Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban of Thailand, plan a new album and a world tour with YG, the agency said in a statement.

The four-member band made its debut in 2016 and became the world’s most popular girl group with hits like Shut Down and Pink Venom setting records on the Billboard charts.

The band became the first K-pop headliner at the Coachella festival in California and their global tour was sold out this year.

“We are more than thrilled to finally make an official statement that YG will continue the intimate relationship with Blackpink,” YG Entertainment founder Yang Hyun-Suk said in the statement.

“As the group represents YG and K-pop itself, they will certainly endeavour to shine brilliantly in the global music market.”

The news ends months of uncertainty about YG’s hold on some of its highest-earning artists. Before the announcement, YG’s shares plunged almost 50% from their May peak amid rumours that Lisa might leave the group.

Reports that Blackpink’s four stars — Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa — might be shopping around for a new home came as Blackpink wrapped up their Born Pink world tour, the largest ever by a K-pop girl group. Their fans, known as “Blinks”, have been following every twist and turn of the contract drama with fervent interest.

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 numerous commercial endorsements. She bought a house worth US$6 million in Seoul earlier this year.

YG did not disclose the details of each member’s contract, including whether it will retain management of side gigs such as solo projects, luxury brand promotions or acting for Hollywood studios. The contract duration was not revealed, but typically such deals in the Korean entertainment industry last for seven years.

Still, the Blackpink contract renewal resolves one of the main questions that has weighed on K-pop stocks and sparked stock selloffs, said Suh Bokyung, a senior analyst at Sanford C Bernstein.

“This serves as a signal that investors can have an upbeat outlook on the K-pop industry in 2024,” he said.

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