YG Entertainment

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Y.G. Entertainment Inc.
Native name
YG 엔터테인먼트
Traded as KRX: 122870
Founded February 24, 1996
Area served
Key people
  • Publishing records
  • Entertainment agency
Revenue Increase US$150 million (2012)[2]
Increase US$28 million (2012)
Increase US$37.5 million (2012)
Number of employees
Website ygfamily.com

YG Entertainment (Korean: YG 엔터테인먼트) is a South Korean entertainment company founded by Yang Hyun-suk based in Seoul, South Korea. The company operates a record label, talent agency, clothing line, cosmetics firm, event management and concert production company, music production company as well as its own music publishing house. The name of the company, "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 group 1TYM, its current roster of recording artists are known to be some of the biggest K-pop acts to gain international fame, especially BIGBANG, 2NE1, and PSY. In terms of revenue contribution, Big Bang is the company's biggest act.[4]

A prominent entertainment company in South Korea, its record label is also one of the three big record labels in the K-pop industry, alongside SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment.[3][5] Official contents by YG Entertainment and its artists have cumulatively garnered more than 7 billion views and are subscribed to by more than 18 million users on individual artists' YouTube channels.

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.[6]

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.[7]


Hip-hop roots[edit]

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, who was then a trainee.[8]

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 2009 with then-labelmate actress Park Han-byul, an unsuccessful US debut, and four-year hiatus from the Korean entertainment industry slowed his career's momentum. Se7en's contract with YG expired in April 2013.[9]

Mainstream success[edit]

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, "Lies" and "Haru Haru", which stayed at #1 on the charts for eight consecutive weeks, the longest since, ironically, Seo Taiji and Boys.[clarification needed] 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 in 2012, and continues to tour in Japan and Korea, attracting approx. 800,000 attendees annually.[citation needed]

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 70% of the company's annual revenue.[citation needed]

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%.[citation needed]

Business expansion[edit]

YG expanded by signing already established acts Psy, a renowned rap artist; and Tablo, a lyrical savant from the group Epik High. In Korea, both were known to be rebellious independent acts, having dealt with large controversies respectively. CEO Yang Hyun Suk, a personal friend of Psy, offered to help when Psy struggled financially. However, Psy was hesitant to sign onto the label due to its extravagant image and young roster. It took some convincing from his wife, and two years later "Gangnam Style" was born.[citation needed] Tablo, at the time of his signing, was suffering from depression, as over 200,000 netizens in an online community called "Tajinyo" called for a witch-hunt, falsely accusing him of forging his identity and Stanford academic degree. His first meeting with the label was secretly set up by his wife, then YG actress Kang Hye-jung.[citation needed]

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 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 at age 14 and 17.[citation needed]

Expanding their actors' roster in 2014, YG Entertainment acquired T Entertainment's staff and actors such as Cha Seung-won, Im Ye-jin, and Jang Hyun-sung.[10] Additionally, through its acquisition of modelling agency K-Plus, YG expanded its acting division through the acting debuts of models Lee Sung-kyung and Nam Joo-hyuk.

Following the revival of Tablo's career, he has since set up his own independent label High Ground (stylized as HIGHGRND), financially backed by YG.[11] HIGHGRND aims to present varied and distinctive musicians without the distinction between underground/overground music. In a subsequent interview, Yang Hyun Suk says he plans to give all his artists their own independent sub-label in the future.[12] On July 21, 2015, HIGHGRND introduced its first exclusive artist - indie band Hyukoh.[13]

In 2015, YG Entertainment invested 100 million USD in a new Gyeonggi-do based industrial complex, which will house commercialized K-pop infrastructure, such as recording studios and performance facilities, as well as a recreational tourism complex. The complex is slated to be complete by December 2018.[14] Real estate in Seoul worth 16 billion KRW (~$14 million USD) was also purchased for the purpose of expanding their headquarters.[15]

On September 22, 2015, YG announced that key YG producers Teddy and Kush would create their own independent sub-label in the vein of Tablo's HIGHGRND. One associate from YG told the media, “[The new label's] music will be different from YG’s usual sound, as [Teddy and Kush] will probably seek out a different type of artists. Yang Hyun Suk is always telling his friends that Teddy will become a greater producer than he ever was.”[16] Once again, this sub-label would be fully funded and backed by the main label, whilst Teddy and Kush will have increased creative independence. This marked another move towards a sharper division of labor within the company, with YG Entertainment expanding its operations to a wider range of genres.[citation needed]


Music distribution[edit]

YG Entertainment's records are distributed by the following:

KT Music[edit]

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.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19]


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.[20] In 2008, Big Bang signed a three-year exclusive contract with Universal Music for the promotion and distribution of their Japanese releases.[21]

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.[22] 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.[citation needed] Seungri and Daesung were also given the opportunity to host their own Japanese programs.[citation needed]

Artist management[edit]

United Asia Management[edit]

SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, KeyEast, AMENT and Star J Entertainment are under a joint management agency named United Asia Management since April 2011.[23]

Concert production[edit]

Live Nation[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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 Big Bang. Big Bang has the talent, thus they have the best chance at becoming a global artist."[24]

Asiana Airlines[edit]

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.[25]

in november 2015, yg entertainmentś siger group ji nu shyun have concert in south korea, and yg entertainment manger insert new singer group icon and winner in their concert. and favorite singer se7en also participate in their concert by guest.[26]



In 2015, YG Entertainment began to expand its music production operations by creating independent sub-labels creatively differentiated from the main label, with President Yang Hyun-suk pursuing the goal of reaching out to a wider range of genres. Many view this as a result of YG's increasing roster of artists overwhelming the productivity of the main label.[citation needed]


HIGHGRND (read as 'HIGHGROUND') is an independent sub-label headed by Epik High's Tablo, who will be taking creative control and acting as president of this subsidiary company. First announced in March 2015, the label name is meant to reflect the goal of further developing and promoting underground talent, and is also linked directly to Tablo's musical origins. Set up by President Yang Hyun-suk under the YG Entertainment umbrella as part of a long-term goal to reach out to the indie and alternative scene in Korean music, the main label serves an primarily supportive role focused on financial assistance, administrative work and marketing. Touted as 'a record label based in Seoul that represents and nurtures creative artists of all mediums', HIGHGRND's current roster includes indie band HyukOh, Girl group Rubber Soul and producer Code Kunst.[27]

The formation of this label marked a departure from YG Entertainment's business model of centification on President Yang Hyun-suk, who has taken an Executive Producer role in every single album released by the company. With Tablo having full creative control over artists signed on to this sub-label, many believe that this was a significant step towards YG's expansion into wider genres and increased division of labor.[citation needed] Inter-connectedness between the main label and HIGHGRND remains strong, with Tablo taking a chief role in the production of Lee Hi's second album.[28]

TEDDY and KUSH[edit]

Following the successful formation of HIGHGRND, YG Entertainment announced the creation of another independent sub-label to be headed by YG Producer Teddy Park and Kush of Stony Skunk on the 22nd September 2015. Teddy, a member of former YG hip-hop group 1TYM and regular producer for both Big Bang and 2NE1, would be given increased creative agency as head of the new sub-label. Moreover, Kush, who had previously been an exclusive YG producer before leaving in 2012 to pursue personal musical activities but still maintained strong collaborative relationships with YG artists, would return to YG to co-head this sub-label. According to a YG source, “[The new label's] music will be different from YG’s usual sound, as [Teddy and Kush] will probably seek out a different type of artists”.[29]


YG KPLUS[edit]

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, essentially indicating a merger. 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.[30] Since the partnership, K-Plus models have been heavily used in YG recording artists' music videos, as well as YG owned brands' advertisement campaigns. Moreover, YG Entertainment has provided many YG KPlus models with opportunities in TV Dramas, notably Nam Joo-hyuk in 'Who Are You: School 2015' and Lee Sung-kyung in 'It's Okay, That's Love', and have formally transitioned models to their acting division.[31]

Fashion and beauty[edit]


NONA9ON is a luxury street-wear brand founded by YG Entertainment and Samsung’s textile subsidiary company Cheil Industries in early 2012. Originally named Natural Nine, the brand was revamped before launch.[32][33]

NONA9ON does not have its own permanent stores and operates instead by selling its products through other retailers in pop-up stores. According to a YG representative on September 15, 2014, after NONA9ON opened its first pop-up store at Apgujeong’s Galleria Department Store on September 12, the entire F/W 2014 stock sold out completely by September 14, within a mere two days. The storage had been filled with items for two weeks, a testament to NONA9ON’s power among consumers and success on the market.[citation needed]

Following the success of NONA9ON in its Korean domestic debut, the clothing line also quickly sold out in its first international pop-up stores in Italy's 10 Corso Como shops in Milan, Seoul and Shanghai, as well as in I.T shops in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Pop-up stores in the Seoul Galleria Department Store, 10 Corso Como Cheongdam and Avenual, and BEAKER Cheongdam and Hannam were also made accessible to consumers within the first week of release. Currently, NONA9ON clothes are sold through online shop Beakerstore. NONA9ON also plans to open a new pop-up store at JayCo in Taiwan.[34]


On October 2, 2014, YG Entertainment branched out[35] into another line of business and launched its cosmetics brand titled 'moonshot'. Developed with China's Huanya Group and in partnership with the cosmetics manufacturing company COSON, it is geared towards women in their 20s to 30s. The brand is named after Apollo 11's historical landing on the moon, and just as that event turned dreams into a reality, the brand also has the intent of taking on various challenges and breaking away from the typical makeup lines.[citation needed]

Moonshot-brand cosmetics are manufactured for YG Entertainment by a South Korean maker and sold at affordable prices of around 10,000 to 50,000 won ($9.06 to $45.31). The company also sells Moonshot products online. According to Paik Ho-jin, an employee of the brand, Chinese shoppers account for 40-50% of the Samcheong-dong store's customers.[34]

As part of YG's partnership with French luxury giant LVMH, moonshot will be launched at 11 Sephora shops in Singapore and at 13 Sephora shops in Malaysia on September 24, 2015. Sephora, a LVMH subsidiary, is one of the leading perfume and cosmetics stores in France and holds a long-standing presence in the beauty industry around the world. The launch of moonshot products within global Sephora stores will increase international exposure to the product.[citation needed]


YG Plus Inc.[edit]

In October 2014, YG Entertainment acquired a majority stake in the advertising company Phoenix Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of Bogwang Group. This takeover was accomplished with the intention to further accelerate the growth of YG Entertainment in fields aside from the music industry and to maximize synergy between the company's music enterprise and cultural content. As a result of this takeover, Phoenix Holdings Inc. is now known as YG Plus Inc., and Yang Min-suk has been appointed as the company's CEO.[citation needed]

According to Reuters, the company has two main business operations: advertisement production business and media agency business. It handles the creation of advertisements, and on the media agency business side, it publishes and broadcasts advertisements through forms of mass media such as television, radio, print, and the internet. Some of its notable clients include COCA-COLA, SK Telecom, and THE FACE SHOP.[citation needed]


YG Golf Academy[edit]

YG Entertainment also acquired G-AD Communication which is a golf agency that handles some notable professional South Korean golfers such as Kim Hyo Joo, Lee Dong Min, Byun Jin Jae, and Yoo Go Un. The company has also brought in the talents of the leading golf coach Han Yeon Hee to act as the head instructor of YG Golf Academy. This new venture into the international golf business will lead to activities such as the acquisition of golf courses, scouting and nurturing of talented golfers, hosting of golf tournaments, retailing of golf supplies and fashion products, and introduction of other related businesses.[citation needed]


Three Way Butchers (3Geori Butchers)[edit]

Three Way Butchers is a premium restaurant positioned in Hongdae, and is a new food venture under the umbrella of YG Food, a collaboration between YG and Noh Hee Young, the ex-advisor of CJ‘s food sector. The restaurant specialises in pork, as “professionals” select the ingredients and the menu for the patrons. They also have their own brand of beverages, which has garnered a lot of interest.[citation needed]


YG Entertainment pledged to 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, and in 2010 $160,000.[36][unreliable source?] YG Family have also directly delivered US$4,400 worth of charcoal to families in need during the winter time.[37] 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.[38]

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 US$1 million.[39][unreliable source?]

On May 4, YG Entertainment donated a total of 100 million KRW (~$92,450 USD) to the Korean Committee for UNICEF with the message, “Please use [the donation] to help in recovering the damage from the huge earthquake in Nepal, as well as the victims that are suffering from the aftermath.” It is said that the relief fund will be used in providing relief supplies and medicine for the prevention of infectious diseases among the population in Nepal.[40]

YG Family[edit]

Recording Artists[edit]

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.
3 One (Jung Jaewon) was formerly a member of hip-hop duo 1Punch (2015) under a collaboration between Brave Entertainment and D-Business Entertainment. Through a three party agreement, Jaewon's exclusive contract was fully transferred to YG Entertainment in 2015. He will receive training and promote as a YG artist.[41]






  • Hyoni Kang[56]
  • Sup Park[57]
  • Sora Choi[58]
  • Bom Chan Lee[59]
  • Nam Joo Hyuk
  • Jang Ki-yong
  • Joo Woo-jae
  • Kim Kibum
  • Park Bosung
  • Kang Hui
  • Kim Gabi
  • Lee Ho-jung
  • Lee Ha-eun
  • Stephanie Lee
  • Hong Hyo
  • Ji Esu
  • Um Yejin
  • Bae Jeong-nam
  • Hwang So-hee
  • Jung Yoo-jin
  • Shin Jaehyuk
  • Yoon Seonah
  • Kwon Hyunbin
  • Jung Yongsoo
  • Byun Wooseok
  • Lee Seokchan
  • Kim Pilsu

Future/Former Artists[edit]


See also[edit]


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