What role do entertainments play in South Korea?

by Helen Bosch
yg family concert sm town the stage posteryg family concert sm town the stage poster

You get to know a band whose music you really like, and now of course you want to know everything about them: How many albums has the group already released, what are the names of the members, how old are they and what is their favourite colour?

K-Pop fans can also tell you exactly what their favourite band's entertainment is called and which groups are also signed there.

In this article, we explain to you why entertainments play such a big role in the K-Pop scene and which famous groups share the agency.

Entertainments

twice park jihyo alcohol-free image teaser

Entertainments are talent agencies and music producers. They take care of their artists, promote them and produce their albums. So far, so good. In South Korea, however, the connection between artists and their entertainments goes a little deeper. As you may know, idols sometimes train for years in their agencies before they debut. They get singing and dancing lessons there after school and often also learn acting or other skills that might come in handy later. Jihyo of Twice was a trainee at JYP Entertainment for ten years before debuting in the now very successful girl group at the age of 19; so she practically grew up at JYP! Although there are trainees who train for less than a year before debuting, Jihyo is not an exception and a training period of four to six years is not uncommon. It is no wonder that idols who share the agency are often close friends, even if they are active in different bands.

Music collective

The artists signed to an entertainment company often form a music collective that gives concerts or releases songs together. The bands under SM Entertainment, for example, have toured the world several times under the name "SM Town".

In 2017 BoA, Kangta, Super Junior, Girls Generation, SHINee, Red Velvet, EXO sing "Dear My Family" together.

It also happens occasionally at year-end shows, festivals or award shows that the artists of an agency perform together. For example, at the KBS Song Festival, a music show broadcast annually at the end of the year, "JYP Nation", the music collective of JYP Entertainment, performed in 2018.

Twice, Day6, Got7 & Stray Kids

Especially around Christmas time, many entertainments release a Christmas song every year, featuring the whole collective.

K.Will, Soyou, Boyfriend, MonstaX, WJSN, Yoo Seungwoo, Brother Su, Mind U, Duetto & Jeong Sewoon

As you can see, each collective has its own name. Besides the ones we have just mentioned as an example, there is also "YG Family" by YG Entertainment or "Cube Artists" by Cube Entertainment.

Project groups

While the artists of an agency often work together for individual songs, some entertainments even set up their own project groups consisting of individual members of the bands under contract or solo artists.

Fans of SHINee, EXO, NCT and WayV probably think of "SuperM" now, a project group that debuted in 2019 with "Jopping" and has since released several singles, albums and even collaborative commercial songs.

SuperM is composed of Taemin of SHINee, Kai and Baekhyun of EXO, Taeyong and Mark of NCT 127, as well as Ten and Lucas of WayV.

Under the name "SM The Ballad", a changing combination of artists under SM Entertainment have released two albums which, as the name suggests, contain ballads.

Jonghyun (SHINee), Kyuhyun (Super Junior), Jay Kim (former TRAX) & Jino (then Trainee, now Vocal Trainer)

As you can see, the music collectives of the entertainments in the K-pop scene are similar to one big family. To which "family" does your favourite band belong?


Bonus: Big 3

sm jyp yg entertainment logo

The term "Big 3" is often used in connection with South Korean Entertainments. This refers to YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment. These three have dominated the South Korean music market for years, continuously producing groups and solo artists that reach the top of the charts and the hearts of countless fans in a short time.

In the meantime, however, fans often discuss whether "BigHit Entertainment" with BTS and TXT already belongs to the "Big 3", which some already call the "Big 4".

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