Breath in. Breath out.
GOT7 is parting ways with JYP Entertainment after seven years together.
Weeks of rumours and daily emotional rollercoasters the fans have been put through are now over as JYPE officially confirmed the news on Monday, January 11.
By dissecting the hours before the official statement, the septet – who’s approaching their seventh anniversary on January 16 – didn’t let JYPE have it their own way. On Sunday (January 10) – ahead of GOT7 attendance and performance at the 35th Golden Disc Awards (their album “DYE” won the Bonsang for Best Album of the Year), an exclusive article on Dispatch reported that none of the members was renewing the contract. The article was followed by the members sharing a cheerful group selfie with the caption “#GOT7FOREVER” across their social media profiles to reassure fans as a never been so quick statement from JYPE denying the exclusive tried to make the headlines in Korea.
JB, Mark, Jackson, Jinyoung, Youngjae, BamBam and Yugyeom debuted as GOT7 under JYP Entertainment on January 16, 2014. Over the past seven years, GOT7 got the world’s attention thanks to their unique music style – that have been a major influence on the current K-pop scene – and their stage performances. Moreover, GOT7 are the definition of International boy group as their reach goes way beyond South Korea; thanks to the AmeriThaiKong line composed of Mark (American), BamBam (Thai) and Jackson (Chinese), the band grew a strong following worldwide that has helped them sell hundreds of thousands of albums and sell out venues worldwide while being the gateway to K-pop for many International fans.
Walking down memory lane as we approach what is going to be the most memorable anniversary for GOT7 and their beloved fans (IGOT7 or Ahgases), we can’t hide the fact that GOT7 were, and still are, an underrated group in South Korea. Even if their singles and albums sometimes didn’t reach the highest positions in the Korean Charts, their discography contains releases that marked a shift in the Korean popular culture (and how Western fans perceive the genre) and highly influenced K-pop, like 2015’s “Just Right” and “If You Do”, 2016’s “Hard Carry”, 2018’s “Lullaby”, their first self produced album “Present: You”, 2019’s “You Calling My Name” and their latest release “Breath of Love: Last Piece”.
As the seven grew as artists within the group and individually in their successful solo careers, and kept on building their strong discography release after release, their company JYPE continuously failed in supporting their growth and understanding the group and fanbase’s needs. The group and Ahgases have regularly shared their frustration with the agency in subtle and not so subtle ways over the years. This announcement didn’t come as a surprise to Ahgases, who have been seen throwing parties across social media channels and trend Worldwide the hashtags “#CongratulationsGOT7” and the Korean “#갓세븐_탈제왑축하해” (literally “Congratulations GOT7 in leaving (JYPE)”).
For many, the news of GOT7 leaving JYPE as a group and staying together came as a surprise. K-pop groups tend to either disband or renew with the same company or a new one when their contracts are close to an end around the seven-year mark, hence the ‘seven-year curse’ known as the unlucky year when many K-pop groups disband or have a member leave. But GOT7 have always been in a league of their own and this decision is no exception.
Following the official announcement on Monday, not only JYPE’s stocks but other entertainment agencies’ stocks were falling and closed in negative, with JYPE losing 4% on the day. GOT7 leaving doesn’t only greatly impact JYPE but it will impact on the whole K-pop industry as they also are one of the groups who actively propels Korea’s cultural economy and tourism. With them leaving that environment as a group it means a huge portion of the consumer of Korean culture is leaving and not going to feed that industry, not only just the company. In addition, JYPE is losing the US/International, Thai and Chinese markets.
Due to media play, many may not know how valuable other K-pop groups, including GOT7, are for the Korean economy as they export the country’s culture and pre-covid brought tourists to the country, helping tourism and local businesses.
With GOT7 and other 3rd Generation groups who previously left the industry, plus other groups going on hiatus due to military enlistment – in particular a very well known one worldwide, the 4th Generation groups might not be able to aid Korea’s cultural economy as much as 3rd Generation simply because they haven’t grown enough to reach their levels.
In these seven years and in more recent history, thanks to the strong bond between the members and with their fans GOT7 has shown how it is possible to be a more approachable and realistic K-pop boy group and at the same time make a big impact on the industry.
As each individual member is going to shine even brighter in their next adventure, GO7 will remain together and for them, the 7th year is not a jinx but a win.