On December 30, YG Entertainment released a statement confirming all six iKON members opted to not renew their contracts and will pursue another agency. However, YG Entertainment let IKONIC (iKON’s fandom) know the group will continue to have access to their SNS and WeVerse and will still be able to use the iKON name. The statement reads:
Hello, this is YG Entertainment.
We are informing you that after a long discussion with the iKON members (Kim Jinhwan, Bobby, Song Yunhyeong, Goo Junhoe, Kim Donghyuk, and Jung Chanwoo) about their future activities, out of respect for each other’s opinions, we agreed to end our exclusive contract following the expiration of their contract period.
The six members of iKON will of course be continuing their activities as the group “iKON” in the future, and we are also letting you know that they will continue to communicate with iKONIC [iKON’s fans] through their official social media accounts, including their official fan community Weverse, just as they are now.
We sincerely thank iKON, who has been with us as one of our agency’s artists up until now. We are looking forward to their future activities in a wide variety of fields, and we will be cheering them on.
Additionally, we also thank the iKONIC who were together with us for iKON’s journey. We ask that you continue to give the members your unchanging interest and encouragement as they prepare for a new start.
iKON debuted in 2015 as a seven-member group. B.I, who was iKON’s leader since 2015, left the agency in 2019 following a drug scandal that involved Han Seo Hee. In 2021, B.I pleaded guilty to the charges and was ultimately fined and sentenced to three years of incarceration, which was suspended for a four-year probationary period, as well as 80 hours of community service and 40 hours of drug education courses. Since the case, B.I has been successfully performing as a soloist under 131 Label and IOK Music. iKON’s departure from YG has renewed hopes that B.I might return to the group.
Since news of iKON’s departure, information surfaced that the group is in contract discussions with 143 Entertainment, home to LIMELIGHT, Kep1er’s Mashiro and Yeseo, and run by rapper/producer Digital Masta.
“Nothing is currently confirmed,” a 143 Entertainment representative said. “It is true that we are currently discussing various matters them.”
There is also information indicating iKON may also be in talks with THEBLACKLABEL, though these rumors aren’t as concrete.
Along with iKON, actor Kang Dong Won also departed YG Entertainment on December 30.
“After discussing the matter, YG Entertainment and actor Kang Dong Won have decided to end our management [of his activities]” YG’s statement read.
The Broker actor, who is set to be in the cast of 2023’s Possession, signed with the company in 2016 and renewed his contract in 2020 and 2021. Currently, he is searching for a company so he can continue his 2023 promotion schedule.
With the six iKON members and Kang’s departures, a total of 12 artists have left YG Entertainment this year. T.O.P departed the agency in February, while TREASURE’s Bang Yedam and Mashiro left in November. BIGBANG’s Taeyang and Daesung departed December 26.
Meanwhile, YG Entertainment plans to debut their new girl group in the new year. The company revealed a teaser featuring the seven members’ silhouettes with “Next Movement” and “coming soon” shared on the red poster.
— YG FAMILY (@ygent_official) December 30, 2022
More details are expected January 1, 2023.
In addition to the departures and the announcement of the new girl group, rumors also swirled the BLACKPINK will move over to THEBLACKLABEL following the end of their contracts, a claim YG Entertainment calls “groundless.”
Stay tuned for more updates regarding the YG exodus and the unveiling of the new girl group!
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