Why Don’t Agencies Give Idols More Comebacks? Industry Insiders Explain

Why do some groups go months (or even years) without comebacks despite fans begging?

A lack of comebacks is one of the most common complaints K-Pop fans lodge against agencies when it comes to discussions around mistreatment. But why do some companies make stars go so long without a release? Here’s what two K-Pop insiders had to say.

Through the course of his career, Dragon J (author of How to Become a K-Pop Star) went from K-Pop manager to girl group training manager to head of business development at a Korean entertainment company. YouTuber In Ji Woong is also a former idol trainer and currently directs K-Pop choreography.

Dragon J (left) and In Ji Woong (right) | AYO 에이요/YouTube

In a “Comment Defenders” interview with AYO on YouTube, the two K-Pop professionals outlined some of the most common reasons behind infrequent comebacks.

| AYO 에이요/YouTube

Why does the company not make a comeback for them? Members would come back even 4 times a year. Can they not handle it? Do they have an internal situation? What’s the matter? I really don’t understand.

—AYO commenter

LOONA once went through a 351-day hiatus, BLACKPINK reached 1 year and 84 days without a comeback, and Red Velvet was absent as a group for over 1 year as well. While some hiatuses have clear reasons, fans haven’t been able to wrap their heads around others.

| SM Entertainment

First off, as an agency business developer, Dragon J divulged that K-Pop companies “always put the profits first.” If preparing promotions and comebacks for one group in a company will bring in more profit, the company will support that group above the others. In this case, less profitable groups in the company are less likely to get a comeback, no matter how unfair it is.

| AYO 에이요/YouTube

Dragon J says there are also special cases in which some artists don’t receive comebacks because they “can’t be trusted.” For example, if they act unpredictably and get into trouble or they flout company rules and do their own thing, the company may put off their comeback.

| AYO 에이요/YouTube

On top of that, In Ji Woong says four comebacks is a year is unrealistic for most idols, even if that’s what fans want. “Idols can’t handle it,” he explained, since they need to perform on music shows and promote each album for a month or two—not to mention seasonal events they have to perform at.

| AYO 에이요/YouTube

If they did manage to release a comeback every four months, In Ji Woong says they’d probably have to rest for 2 years.

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