Feature

Grading the K-Pop Agencies 2019: JYP ENTERTAINMENT

After taking a look at SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment earlier in the week, it’s time to move onto another of K-Pop’s leading agencies: JYP Entertainment.

As usual, the thoughts are my own and aren’t privy to any insider information. I’m not taking into account things like profits and stock value. The purpose of these articles is to determine how well K-pop agencies are serving their artists and fans.

 


The Good

JYP Entertainment has been on fire this year. If the company’s Super Intern variety show is to be believed, they’ve structured their agency into separate divisions to better cater to their artists. Rather than centralize everything, JYP assigns different teams to different artists – each one tasked with growing individual groups’ sounds and careers. From an outsider’s perspective, this approach seems to have paid off. It’s allowed for a constant stream of releases, with each feeling unique and meaningful to the artists themselves.

When I look back on all of the title tracks released by JYP artists this year, I can’t find one clunker. Many of these groups had career highlights in 2019, whether that be creatively or commercially.

Twice have transformed their quirky-cute sound into an edgier style of pop that suits them surprisingly well. This felt like a natural progression rather than a kowtow to trends, and reached across both their Korean and Japanese material. Their release schedule remains incredibly tight, and I honestly don’t know how they manage to record and promote so much music in one year. Their worldwide popularity continues to soar, dominating the K-pop girl group landscape.

Stray Kids have transformed from a promising rookie to a real powerhouse. They feel like the rare idol act that’s actually allowed to experiment with their sound, and the group is home to some fantastic composers/producers. To JYP’s credit, the agency seems comfortable letting the guys do what they want to musically, and that’s forged an appealing sense of authenticity.

For me, DAY6 have had their most impressive year yet, pushing past the constraints of an idol rock band and exploring new styles within their existing sound. They’ve released a large amount of material in 2019, and it’s been some of their best music since debut.

I haven’t really been a big fan of GOT7’s post-2015 releases, but even they improved their standing in 2019. Their JUS2 sub-unit debut was an inspired choice, and their full-group work has also been solid. Their Japanese output continues to feel comparatively bland, but at least they’ve moved past the noisy J-pop sound of their first few years.

Finally, JYP’s big 2019 debut was a smashing success. ITZY seem to have captured the attention of both Korean and international audiences. As Twice moves into new musical territory, ITZY have smartly taken up their mantle without forgetting to bring their own unique flair to the table. They’ve released two of my favorite girl group singles of the year, and their future seems incredibly bright.

JYP himself spent much of the year showing off his new agency building, and honestly it’s pretty impressive. I don’t want to blindly buy into the hype and spin, but JYP Entertainment seems to be an agency that genuinely cares about its artists as people (as much as a profit-minded business can). As a fan, I feel like I’m more familiar with their inner workings than either SM or YG, and I appreciate that transparency.


The Bad

I really don’t have much to say here. Obviously, it’s a bummer that Woojin left Stray Kids (and the agency) back in October, and Mina’s future with Twice seems to be somewhat in limbo due to personal reasons. As happy as I am about the steady stream of JYP releases in 2019, I’m a bit concerned about the work (and stress) level of the agency’s artists. But, this isn’t a problem that’s unique to JYP Entertainment.

Though ITZY had an exciting debut year, they really should have released more material than they did. I suppose they could still make a quick comeback in December, but so far the girls have only delivered five actual songs in 2019. Two of them were mega-hits, but I’m the type of listener that needs a bigger discography to truly get attached to an artist. I guess new 2020 material will be something to look forward to.

2019 Grade: A

13 thoughts on “Grading the K-Pop Agencies 2019: JYP ENTERTAINMENT

  1. To me, this company doing well is the darkest timeline (YG doing well is not possible so). The late capitalism quality is just full on with the company and its founder.

    Like

  2. When I look at all 3 of your agency posts (SM, YG, JYP), I mostly agree with the grades you gave each. Clearly, JYP earned first place, but if YG hadn’t been embroiled in the past 12 months of douche-baggery, then it would’ve been interesting to see how they rated against SM for second place. I was really let down by SM this year (save for some decent RV drops and 2 NCT 127 songs). Had YG kept their noses clean, they may have made second place; leaving SM in third, which may have shocked some, but not me.

    In other agency news:

    1. I can’t figure out Blockberry Creative; ~cough~ STAN LOONA ~cough~. Seriously, though.. ..while I love LOONA, their 3 main releases since unification were good, but my favorite songs are still from their solo/sub-unit releases. I don’t get it. I would’ve thought that the final assembly would’ve resulted in some really powerhouse releases that would cement their status. As I wrote, the 3 main songs they released were good, but there are some nugu debut songs that have dropped this year that make LOONA seem like a b-class act. Fingers crossed for 2020 with them.

    2. It will be interesting to see how some agencies will come out of the recent vote rigging scandals. MBK, Starship, etc..

    3. Someone really needs to take TS Entertainment out behind the barn and give it the double-barreled send off it deserves. Pledis is looking a little long in the tooth as well.

    4. I get big-time warm fuzzies from Mydoll Entertainment. While they only have one act under their belt (Pink Fantasy), I really like the rumored backstory that the agency was created by a former K-Pop makeup artist that wanted to “dream big”.

    Like

  3. Has everyone just forgotten about JYP’s cult scandal? He was involved with some cult meetings/seminars, and made a statement to hold a press conference or something to further address the scandal. Of course, that conference never saw the light of day, and with JYP Ent.’s strong performance quickly got brushed under the rug.

    Like

    • *He said he would write a book addressing it.

      For more clarification, it was association with the Salvation Sect, which itself if associated with the Sewol ferry disaster.

      Like

    • I remembered that subject, and I thought about mentioning it. The reason I didn’t is because it’s a matter of religion. While there has been scandals involving the religion, they haven’t necessarily involved Mr. Park directly.

      Religion is a tricky area to judge people on. For example, should I ban all Tom Cruise and John Travolta movies because each is a member of Scientology (another cult religion)? Do we want to go into the extreme wars that have erupted both throughout history and to this day that are predicated on belief? There are many in South Korea that believe Catholicism is an affront to tradition.

      I may not agree with his thought processes, but I can at least credit him with his will follow a higher path. So, no, I won’t judge a man by his beliefs; but rather by his actions.

      Like

    • I don’t know enough to form an opinion, or care, really. Generally speaking, I am skeptical about any “religion” that is “founded by” anyone anytime in the past couple centuries.

      Like

  4. I’m so agree with this. So many good and positive things from JYP’s music this year (Got7 music are getting better and more easy listening to my ears-but i’m not a fan of eclipse, debut of duo king vocal rnb JUS2, ITZY debut with the best girl group song of 2019, Day6 Time Of Our Life is amazing! and got many love from gp, Twice are become mature in concept and shut the haters mouth with korean and japan amazing songs, Stray kids bring their new powerful sound in Kpop with Miroh and Side Effect). Yes the only bad thing Woojin left Stray Kids because his vocal is so unique and something that new generation of kpop male groups doesn’t have. And i’m glad mina start promoting again with the rest of Twice member.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. JYP had a good year. I think the difference is that JYP himself a) knows how to delegate to b) people who are good at what they do and c) love love love music and d) understand the multiple roles and values of pop music in pop culture.

    I wish they did release more Itzy and less Twice. One group seems to be underworked and the other overworked.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Grading the K-Pop Agencies 2019: BIG HIT ENTERTAINMENT | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  7. Compared to most of the big agencies, I think JYP was the one I had my eye on the most, and I think that so far, JYP has been handling stuff like mental health issues and allowing them, like Mina, to take a break due to her anxiety, well.
    I don’t know how it happened, but Stray Kids has become a bias of mine that I didn’t know would ever happen, and I absolutely love the creative energy they had, even though it was sad that Woojin left. Day6 was also a surprise revelation to me, as it’s a band that I now really enjoy. Still not that fond of ITZY, as I prefer Everglow, but I did have a feeling that they would be a huge success right out of the gate.

    Like

  8. Pingback: Song Review: JYP (Park Jinyoung) – Fever (ft. Superbee & Bibi) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.