YG officially launched the new girl group BABYMONSTER earlier this month. It is the company’s first new girl group, released about seven years after BLACKPINK, and comprises multinational members from Korea, Thailand, and Japan.
Initially, BABYMONSTER’s debut was announced in September, but contrary to producer Yang Hyun Seok’s boast that “the debut will not be later than this fall,” the group’s debut was postponed once. Ultimately, they made their official debut at the end of this month, two months later than scheduled. With this, YG explained, “We were careful in selecting the title song to reward the best results, and as a result, the debut was slightly delayed from the originally scheduled September.”
BABYMONSTER, which confirmed its debut date belatedly, is currently continuing its debut promotion by sequentially releasing members’ teasing content. According to YG, they will begin full-fledged activities with his debut song “BATTER UP” on November 27. The goal is to target the domestic and international music markets upon debut with the powerful hip-hop song.
#BABYMONSTER Debut Digital Single [BATTER UP] OUT NOW
🎧Listen on your favorite streaming platform
— BABYMONSTER (@YGBABYMONSTER_) November 26, 2023
BABYMONSTER has accelerated its debut after a long period of preparation, and as BLACKPINK, the girl group previously introduced by YG, has achieved overwhelming results in the global market, the attention of global K-pop fans is also focused on them. Even before their debut, they surpassed 3.15 million subscribers on their official YouTube channel, and their pre-debut song “Dream” released in May exceeded 50 million views, proving the expectations placed on them.
Above all, the reason why there is so much interest in BABYMONSTER’s successful debut is because of the crisis that YG is currently facing. YG has completed its reorganization under the producer system of Yang Hyun Suk, who announced his grand return to the front line in January. Yang left YG after resigning from all positions in 2019 after becoming embroiled in the “Burning Sun” sexual entertainment controversy and suspicions of tampering with the drug use investigation of its artist. Returning to the front line, BABYMONSTER’s debut project was also led by producer Yang.
However, the situation changed recently when the court overturned the original court ruling and sentenced Yang to six months in prison and one year of probation at the appellate trial date on charges of violating the act on the Aggravated Punishment of Specific Crimes (threats of retaliation, etc.). Yang, who returned to YG thanks to his initial acquittal, was found guilty, making it difficult to avoid another blow to the company’s image. The guilty verdict is even more unwelcome news as producer Yang led BABYMONSTER’s debut project from the front.
All of the BIGBANG members who previously played a key role in YG left the agency, and even iKON did not sign a new contract after the end of its exclusive contract, leaving YG facing a vacuum of major artists. YG is facing an unprecedented crisis as BLACKPINK, the flagship group currently responsible for most of YG’s profits, has not yet resolved the issue of contract renewal after the end of its exclusive contract in August.
Some have argued that BLACKPINK members will renew their contracts for group activities, but it is unclear whether they will sign individual exclusive contracts. However, YG is still maintaining its position that they are “negotiating.” As YG’s profit structure is focused on BLACKPINK with all of its major artists leaving, the failure to renew a contract with BLACKPINK is expected to be a direct blow that will soon shake the company’s foundation.
In an uneasy situation, BABYMONSTER became the main character in YG’s fortune. However, it is still difficult to judge whether they will be successful. The biggest variable is member Ahyeon’s departure from the debut group. Recently, YG officially announced Ahyeon’s departure from the debut group, saying, “After discussing health reasons, Ahyeon has decided to focus on rest for the time being.” The problem is that Ahyeon is a key member who is driving popularity and topicality within the group. Since her debut survival, she has been equipped with vocal, dancing, and rapping skills, and has garnered attention with her attractive appearance resembling BLACKPINK’s Jennie, garnering a strong domestic and international fan base. It seems that Ahyeon’s failure to debut could have a significant impact on the group.
It is no exaggeration to say that YG’s future now depends on BABYMONSTER. The only way out now is for them to lead the 5th-generation replacement trend in the girl group market and make remarkable progress. There are not many moments left to determine how the future of BABYMONSTER and YG will turn out.