Big Bang Alive Galaxy Tour LA

K-pop group Big Bang members PERFORM during the Los Angeles legs of their first world tour “ALIVE GALAXY TOUR,” held at the Honda Center in Los Angeles, the United States on November 2 and 3, 2012. [YG Entertainment]

Which entertainment agencies made remarkable moves in the Korean entertainment scene this year? One of the biggest issues that dominated the management business was that persistent demand on Hallyu contents, especially on K-pop, allowed singer and actors to expand their boundaries to overseas market. In the contents producing industry, it has become a matter of common interest that abilities to create and produce more diversified contents as viewers and audiences have higher criteria. There were bigger examples of middle and small sized agencies to make strategic alliance or have merger and acquisitions for retaining stable profit system. In addition to those, private life of stars became more in danger thanks to the Internet, which make the “risk management ability” as the top priority of the management firm should have.

As a wrap-up and recap of this year 2013, TenAsia picked up eight entertainment agencies that impressed the industry and found out their performance, strength and weakness and searched their right direction to go (alphabetical order).


This Year’s Performance

Year 2013 was the year when YG Entertainment, Inc. took one step ahead. YG, still competing to win the top spot of K-pop  with SM Entertainment, raised individual ‘manpower’ of each musician this year. World star PSY’s global popularity went on and on, while Big Bang, who firmly grabbed their position as the top boy group, displayed individual members’ musical development as well as increased awareness from the public. Girl group 2NE1 put up a good fight, YG’s new boy group WINNER marked themselves as a next-generation idol group through a TV audition.

PSY’s “GENTLEMAN” continued the popularity of “Gangnam Style” without difficulty. The music video of “GENTLEMAN” surpassed 100 million views only four days of its release on April 17, setting the new record, and jumped straight up to No. 12 on Billboard’s Singles chart only with its first second days’ usage data. The addictive electroniic dance tune reached the fifth spot on the chart at the highest and its music video hit 400 million views on YouTube in 55 days of its release, becoming the 16th most-watched video on the world’ biggest online video streaming service. On December 13, the “GENTLEMAN” video outnumbered 600,314,700 hits and made itself as the most-watched clip around the world this year. Throughout these records, PSY scooped up the title as the most-watched video’s artist two years straight.

However, YG’s biggest result this year will be Big Bang members’ growth to solo artists. Starting with Seungri, Big Bang members G-Dragon, Taeyang and T.O.P released solo albums or singles in turn as well as Daesung who released the debut album “D’scover” and the first solo single “I Love You” in Japan this year. Seungri got away from his image as the youngest member of the group and was recognized as a male musician through his second solo EP  “LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE.” With his skilled Japanese, Seungri showed vigorous activities in the country, appearing on TV variety shows and dramas. G-Dragon spent one of the best years with the second full effort “COUP D’ETAT.” T.O.P also displayed noticeable activities with movie “Commitment” and introduced solo single “DOOMDADA,” while Taeyang electrified music fans with “RINGA LINGA.”

The ‘united’ Big Bang is currently active with Japan dome tour. Since November until next January, the group has hit the road across the country, starting with the Saitama Seibu dome, Osaka Kyocera Dome, Fukuoka Yahoo! Oku Dome, Nagoya Dome, Tokyo Dome to Sapporo Dome. According to YG, this six-city dome tour is expected to draw in a whopping 771,000 audiences, the honorable achievement of Big Bang four years after their official Japan debut. Back in 2009 when Big Bang made their Japanese debut, the group was recognized only by K-pop manias. After building up awareness step by step from small club shows, Big Bang finally achieved the current position as one of the most beloved K-pop groups in Japan.



Korean artist G-Dragon performs during the Malaysia leg of his world concert tour “2013 G-Dragon World Tour: ONE OF A KIND.” [YG Entertainment]

This Year’s Star

The most distinguished star of YG Entertainment this year is G-Dragon. Throughout this year, G-Dragon has been active around the world. After finalizing his solo world tour in success, G-Dragon cemented his presence as a solo musician. GD stepped up on the top status as an idol singer by making numerous chart success with “COUP D’ETAT” and becoming a symbolic idol-turned-musician.

For the first time as a Korean singer, the twenty-something musician entered Billboard’s Album chart 200 two years in a row. G-Dragon’s reinterpretation of Korean folk song  “NILIRIA,” featuring US hip-hop big name Missy Elliott, was included in the top 25 songs of the year chosen by American magazine Complex. Throughout his second world tour “G-Dragon 2013 World Tour: One Of A Kind,” the singer attracted 570,000 audiences, entering the phase as the one and only greatest idol.


What’s Next?

What attracted the biggest attention among YG’s plan for next year is PSY and Big Bang’s new records. PSY is said to have been working on his new album, while Big Bang also increased huge expectation toward their upcoming group effort after showing outstanding individual career this year. Big Bang’s Taeyang will also unveil his solo album next year, while WINNER’s upcoming work as an idol group is grabbing attention from music fans.

Reporter. Kwon Seok-jeong
Translator. Cory Lee
Editor. Cory Lee

Courtesy of YG Entertainment