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YG Entertainment

Y.G. Entertainment Inc.
Native name YG 엔터테인먼트
Type Public
Traded as KRX: 122870
Founded February 24, 1996
Founders Yang Hyun-suk
Headquarters Seoul, South Korea
Area served Worldwide
Key people
  • Publishing records
  • Entertainment agency
Revenue Increase US$150 million (2012)[2]
Operating income Increase US$28 million (2012)
Net income Increase US$37.5 million (2012)
Employees 254
  • YGEX
  • YGKPlus
Website .comygfamily

YG Entertainment (Korean: YG 엔터테인먼트) is a record label and talent agency founded by Yang Hyun-suk based in Seoul, South Korea. YG is an abbreviation for "Yang Goon", a nickname given to the Executive Director/Founder Yang Hyun-suk.[3]

Once the home of hip-hop groups Jinusean and 1TYM, its current roster of recording artists are known to be some of the biggest K-pop acts internationally, especially Big Bang, 2NE1, and Psy. In terms of revenue contribution, Big Bang is the company's biggest act.[4]

Today, YG Entertainment is known as one of the "Big Three" record companies in South Korea, along with SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment, for their large market share.[3] Official contents by YG Entertainment and its artists have cumulatively garnered more than 6.8 billion views and are subscribed to by more than 1.7 million users on YouTube.

The company officially became a publicly traded company on November 23, 2011. In 2012, YG Entertainment's share prices saw a year-over-year increase of more than 60% due to the increase in publicity following the achievements of multiple artists on the label, especially Psy's hit Gangnam Style.[5]

On September 13 2014, French luxury giant LVMH's private equity arm, L Capital Asia, announced that it is investing up to US$80 million in YG Entertainment. Headquartered in Singapore, L Capital Asia will be the second-largest investor in YG Entertainment with an 11.5 per cent interest. Yang Hyun-suk, YG Entertainment's founder, has a 28 per cent stake.[6]


  • History 1
    • Hip-hop roots 1.1
    • Mainstream success 1.2
    • Business expansion 1.3
  • Partnerships 2
    • Music Distribution 2.1
    • Artist Management 2.2
    • Fashion and Beauty 2.3
    • Concert Production 2.4
  • Philanthropy 3
  • YG Family 4
    • Recording Artists 4.1
    • Producers 4.2
    • Actors / Actresses 4.3
    • YG Trainees 4.4
    • Dancers 4.5
  • Former Artists 5
  • Concert Tours 6
  • Discography 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Hip-hop roots

On March 1996, Yang Hyun-suk, a former member of legendary Korean band Seo Taiji and Boys, founded YG Entertainment along with his younger brother Yang Min-suk. During their early years, the company put out groups such as Keep Six, Jinusean, and most notably 1TYM (pronounced "One Time"), who was credited with bringing hip hop to the Korean mainstream. In 1999, the company's artists released their first collaboration album under the name "YG Family".

The label followed with releases from Perry, Swi.T, Big Mama, Lexy, Gummy and Wheesung,[3] with Wheesung eventually becoming Korea's highest selling artist of 2003. The YG Underground label was also created to contain 45RPM and Stony Skunk. In 2001, a second YG Family album was released. Among others, it featured the 13 year old G-Dragon.[7]

The company grew after signing its first idol singer Seven, who found success in both Korea and Japan and was dubbed "Rain's rival" at the peak of his career. However, a dating scandal in 2004 with then-labelmate model/actress Park Han-byul caused his career to plummet, which led to a four year hiatus in Korea and an unsuccessful US debut.

Mainstream success

Big Bang

The company then turned its focus to creating its first idol group, Big Bang. Trainees G-Dragon and Taeyang had been with the company since they were just 13 years old.[3]Big Bang debuted as the youngest group at the time (age 15-18) to lukewarm reception. However, Big Bang skyrocketed in popularity during 2007 and 2008 with G-Dragon's self-composed songs, especially "Lies" and "Haru Haru", which stayed at #1 on the charts for eight consecutive weeks, the longest since, ironically, Seo Taiji and Boys. Girl group 2NE1 debuted in 2009 and quickly achieved success.

Big Bang branched out into Japan and focused on solo activities. Taeyang was the best selling solo artist of 2008. G-Dragon had the highest-selling album of 2009, beating out groups and industry veterans. All members of Big Bang have now released one or multiple albums as a soloist and/or duo, while still being active in film and television. The group completed their first full-fledged world tour with over 800,000 attendees in 2012, and continues to tour in Japan and Korea, attracting 700,000-800,000 attendees annually.

In 2010, YG made a highly publicized move into a new building, while the old building became a training facility. YG first applied to the stock exchange in mid-2010 but was rejected. It is suspected that the reason was because YG Entertainment had too few active music groups and an unstable cash flow, despite an increase in earnings in 2009. Since 2007, Big Bang contributes to around 60% of the company's annual revenue.

Business expansion

The label expanded by signing already established acts such as Stanford academic degree. His first meeting with the label's representative was set up by his wife, then YG actress Kang Hye-jung.

Yang Hyun Suk made his television comeback after ten years as a judge on the reality singing competition K-pop Star in 2012, and signed the runner-up of the show, Lee Hi, to her own record deal. She released her debut album a year later at age 16. Other participants on the show, such as Lee Seung-hoon, were signed as potential members for the label's future boy groups. On the second season of the show, both the winner and runner-up, sibling duo Akdong Musician and Bang Yedam respectively, signed exclusive contracts with YG. Singer-songwriters Akdong Musician released their debut album in early 2014 at age 14 and 17. Yang Hyun Suk continues to participate in the third and forth season of the television show.

In an attempt to expand their actor roster in 2014, YG Entertainment acquired T Entertainment's staff and actors such as Cha Seung-won, Im Ye-jin, and Jang Hyun-sung.[8]

YG Entertainment eventually passed the Stock Exchange Commission’s screening to go public on the KOSDAQ on November 23, 2011. The stock price opened at double the anticipated value. The company filed its first annual report in 2012 with a net gross of over 50%.


Music Distribution

YG Entertainment's records are distributed by the following:

  • KT Music in South Korea
  • YGEX, a collaboration label with AVEX in Japan
  • BEC-TERO Music in Thailand
  • Trinity Optima Production in Indonesia
  • WMG in rest of Asia (Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc.)

KT Music

In March 2010, seven of the biggest talent agencies in Korea - YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, Star Empire Entertainment, Medialine, CAN Entertainment, and Music Factory - established a joint venture known as KMP Holdings (Korean Music Power). KMP Holdings is a service platform that aims to provide fair digital music distribution, music service, and television program productions.[9] Many believe this was held to challenge the duopoly on music distribution in Korea by Mnet Media and LOEN Entertainment.

In November 2012, KMP Holdings was acquired by KT Music.[10] The seven agencies behind KMP Holdings formed a collective bond partnership on January 2014. Collectively they purchased 13.48% of KT Music's stocks, leaving the parent company KT Corporation with only 49.99% share in the company.[11]


YG first expanded into the foreign market with Se7en, in a partnership with Nexstar Records, a Nippon Columbia label that managed Japanese releases for Se7en.[12] In 2008, Big Bang signed a three-year exclusive contract with Universal Music for the promotion and distribution of their Japanese releases.[13]

On April 12, 2011, YGEX was established as a partnership between AVEX and YG Entertainment for the promotion and release of all YG Entertainment's material in Japan. Current artists under YGEX include all active YG Entertainment artists.[14] YGEX operates as a joint-label venture between the two companies. Since the beginning of this partnership, YGEX has released Japanese material for GD & TOP, Big Bang, 2NE1, Se7en, and Daesung. There was also a noticeable increase in promotional activities in Japan. Seungri and Daesung were also given the opportunity to host their own Japanese programs.

Artist Management

United Asia Management

SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, KeyEast, AMENT and Star J Entertainment are under a joint management agency named "United Asia Management". Established on April 2011, this joint corporate was created in an effort to push Korean and Asian music using a database system that manages intellectual property rights. UAM also acts as a global agency for artists' advancing or promoting overseas. There is a theory that UAM was created to allow less leverage for trainees under these companies.[15]


On February 18, 2014, co-CEO Yang Min Suk announced that K-Plus, a major model agency, signed a strategic partnership and shared investment agreement with YG Entertainment. Due to the recent trend in Asia of successful model-turned-actors, YG is helping these models transition into mainstream media by providing them with opportunities in television and films. K-plus Model Agency currently houses over 170 models including internationally well known models such as Kang Seung-hyun and Park Heyong Seop; as well as model/actors Lee Sung-kyung, Nam Joo-hyuk, Choi Sora, and more.[16] Since the partnership, K-Plus models have been heavily used in YG recording artists' music videos, as well as YG owned brands' advertisement campaigns.

Fashion and Beauty


NONAGON is a luxury street-wear brand founded by YG Entertainment and Samsung’s textile subsidiary company Cheil Industries in early 2012. The two companies looks to take advantage of YG artists' influence in the fashion industry, to launch a new global business that combines cultures, music, and design. YG recording artists have been personally involved in its marketing campaign. Originally named Natural Nine, the brand was revamped and will officially launch in Spring/Summer 2015. An exclusive pre-release capsule of 40 pieces was made available on September 9th, 2014.[17][18]


moonshot is a makeup and skincare brand aimed to develop Korean cosmetic products for the Chinese market. In a joint venture with: Guanzhou Hyuanya, China's third-ranking cosmetics firm; and Korean cosmetic manufacturer COSON; moonshot will carry 162 distinct products including 23 base makeups and 21 essential skincare products. COSCON develops and manufactures the cosmetics; Huanya controls the distribution of products; and YG Entertainment delivers brand marketing.

Concert Production

Live Nation

YG Entertainment first teamed up with Live Nation in 2012 to produce Big Bang Alive Galaxy Tour 2012. Plans for a world tour were in place in 2011 until several members of Big Bang faced problems with the law, causing it to be postponed until the following year. This marks the first time Live Nation has worked with an Asian artist.

Subsequently, Live Nation also directed "2NE1 New Evolution World Tour 2012", and G-Dragon 2013 1st World Tour: One of a Kind. Live Nation first approached YG Entertainment with the idea as they had seen the growth potential of K-pop. Mats Brandt, General Manager of Live Nation Asia, said in an interview: "...of all the artists we have decided to focus on the talents of BIGBANG. BIGBANG has the talent, thus they have the best chance at becoming a global artist."[19]

Asiana Airline

As one of two of Korea’s major airlines, Asiana Airlines signed a deal with YG Entertainment on January 2013 to provide transportation to its artists to and from domestic and international destinations at no cost. In return, YG Entertainment will be placing the airline’s logo throughout their international concerts and tours.[20]


Headed by Sean of Jinusean and wife/YG actress Jung Hye Young, YG Entertainment is heavily involved in their community service campaign WITH. The company pledged donate 100 won for every album sold, 1% of all merchandise sales, and 1,000 won for every concert ticket, to charities. In 2009, they raised US$141,000, only to surpass it the following year with US$160,000. Of the total, US$87,000 went towards a scholarship for Holt Children’s Services while US$69,000 went towards children with rare diseases.[21] YG Family have also directly delivered US$4,400 worth of charcoal to families in need during the winter time.[22] The company has also announced that it would be donating around US$500,000 for disaster relief to Japan after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[23]

All YG artists have been known to ask their fans to donate money to charity instead of buying them gifts, and they would match the amount fans have donated. As a company, they have jointly participated in many charity auctions. For K Auction's ‘Love Sharing Auction’, Psy‘s famous sunglasses, tickets to his Seoul concert, Big Bang‘s T.O.P, G-Dragon, and 2NE1‘s CL‘s stage outfits, were all available to the highest bidders. For Sean and the Purme Foundation's "The 10,000 won Miracle Project" that asked people to donate 10,000 won a day for 365 days (approx US$3,370), many artists donated 20,000 won a day, or even 100,000 won a day in order to raise US$33.7 million to help build the hospital.

A portion of the profits from BIGBANG’s Alive World Tour, 2NE1's New Evolution World Tour, and G-Dragon's One of a Kind World Tour, were all donated to the Korean Committee for UNICEF to fund for vital vaccinations for around 600,000 children..

In 2013, founder and CEO Yang Hyun Suk, made headlines when he donated all of the dividends he received as a shareholder of YG Entertainment to help young children needing surgery. His dividends totals to around 1 Billion Won, or approximately $1 Million USD.[24]

In 2014, Yang Hyun-suk established the YG Foundation to help children in low-income and broken families with education, healthcare and rehabilitation. Artist Sean was selected as a member of the executive board.[25]

YG Family

Recording Artists

Signed Artist Gender Members Leader Status Fanbase Color
1997 Jinusean Male Jinu, Sean Inactive Red
1998 1TYM Male Teddy, Danny, Baekkyoung, Jinhwan Teddy Inactive Hiphop Village Black
2003 Masta Wu Male Active Black
2003 Se7en Male Conscription Lucky Seven Lime
2006 BIGBANG Male G-Dragon, Taeyang, T.O.P, Daesung, Seungri G-Dragon Active VIP Yellow
2009 2NE1 Female CL, Bom, Dara, Minzy CL Active Blackjack Pink
2010 Psy1 Male Active Psycho Black
2011 Epik High2 Male Tablo, DJ Tukutz, Mithra Jin Tablo Active High Skool Black
2012 Lee Hi Female Active Hi Heel Purple
2014 AKMU Co-ed Lee Chan-hyuk, Lee Soo-hyun Active Green
2014 WINNER Male Seungyoon, Mino, Taehyun, Seunghoon, Jinwoo Seungyoon Active Inner Circle Blue
2015 iKON Male B.I, Bobby, Jinhwan, Junhoe, Yunhyeong, Donghyuk, Chanwoo B.I Scheduled TBA TBA

1Psy (2001) was formerly part of LNLT Entertainment before transferring to YG Entertainment in 2010. He released his fifth album through his new label. Psy's sixth album which contains the international hit Gangnam Style is his second album under YG Entertainment.
2Epik High (2003) transferred from Woollim Entertainment after their contracts had expired. After Tablo signed as a soloist in 2011, the remaining members, DJ Tukutz and Mithra Jin were signed on the following year where they also released their seventh album 99.

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