In the past, it used to be somewhat predictable which K-Pop entertainment companies would rise to the top in terms of profit. SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment were long the reigning kings of the industry, but in recent years, other competitors have risen in the ranks! Thanks to the growing popularity of various groups both in Korea and internationally, different groups and, thus, different companies have been seeing an increase in their profits. Here are the 15 top-selling K-Pop companies from the first half of 2020.
15. MBK Entertainment
Artists under this company: 1the9, DIA, Park Jihoon, H&D
Units sold: 114.5k
So far this year, Park Jihoon has sold about 85.8k units under MBK Entertainment’s subsidiary, Maroo Entertainment. H&D has sold about 28.7k units under the subsidiary Pocketdol Studio. Though the company is small and still rising in popularity, they show promising growth with their artists!
14. Polaris Entertainment
Artists under this company: LOONA, Tripleme
Units sold: 202.1k
Blockberry Creative, the company that manages LOONA, is a subsidiary under Polaris Entertainment. The girl group is currently the major profit-maker under the company, and though they are gaining some success, the amount of money that has been put into their group (they had the most expensive debut in K-Pop history!) has yet to really thrust LOONA into stardom. Which is a huge shame, because they’re so incredibly talented!
13. FNC Entertainment
Artists under this company: SF9, Cherry Bullet, AOA, N.Flying, CNBLUE, F.T. Island
Units sold: 217.1k
The current biggest contributors to FNC’s profit are SF9, with about 118.8k units sold, and N.Flying, which made about 98.3k unit sales this year. FNC Entertainment currently has a mix of older groups, such as CNBLUE, F.T. Island, and AOA, and newer groups, such as SF9 and Cherry Bullet, and seem to be focusing more of their attention on the newer groups, which hopefully will lead to greater success for the company!
12. Fantagio Entertainment
Artists under this company: ASTRO, Weki Meki, Ong Seungwoo
Units sold: 232.1k
Fantagio Entertainment has had quite a successful year so far, with their three main artists all making a pretty big bulk of their unit sales: ASTRO with 149.3k, Weki Meki with 12.8k, and Ong Seungwoo with 70.1k. They seem to spend a good amount of money on their idols’ comebacks, and are starting to see good return on such investments!
11. Cube Entertainment
Artists under this company: PENTAGON, (G)I-DLE, CLC, BTOB
Units sold: 251.9k
Cube Entertainment has had its share of controversies, and lost quite a bit of their major profit when they removed HyunA (as well as Dawn) from their company. However, they still have some great artists under their label! PENTAGON has sold 60.6k units, (G)I-DLE has sold 153.3k, CLC has sold about 1.7k, and some of their solo artists have made several thousand unit sales as well. Hopefully they will be able to continue to manage these groups well!
10. Seven Seasons
Artists under this company: ATEEZ, Block B, Zico
Units sold: 262.3k
ATEEZ is Seven Seasons’ most successful artist at the moment, under their subsidiary KQ Entertainment, and they seem to be making an upward trend in popularity, especially overseas. Block B is also still technically under the label, though they haven’t been active for a while outside of member Zico’s solo projects (which have been successful!).
9. KONNECT Entertainment
Artists under this company: Kang Daniel
Units sold: 266.9k
KONNECT is Kang Daniel’s self-made agency, and as such, he’s the only artist under it for the time being. While his sales have dropped since his solo debut due to some scandals, he’s still within the top 10 companies with the most sales in the industry, which is really impressive!
8. YG Entertainment
Artists under this company: BLACKPINK, BIGBANG, iKON, WINNER, Akdong Musician, TREASURE, SECHSKIES
Units sold: 293.1k
YG Entertainment, once easily in the Big 3, has seen a major drop in their sales due to all the scandals and controversies they’ve had, as well as BIGBANG’s inactivity. They still sold a fair amount of units, though: WINNER with 113.3k, BLACKPINK with 78.7k (before “How You Like That” was released after the second quarter of 2020), iKON with 55.3k, SECHSKIES with 35.9k, and BLACKPINK’s Jennie with 9.9k.
7. RBW Entertainment
Artists under this company: MAMAMOO, ONEUS, ONEWE
Units sold: 320.3k
MAMAMOO has shot into extreme popularity recently (for good reason!), which has greatly increased RBW Entertainment’s profits! Between group projects, making about 42.4k sales this year, the members’ individual projects between Hwasa, Moonbyul, and Solar has made another 130k+ unit sales! Newer groups ONEWE and ONEUS have also made 5k and 38.1k unit sales respectively.
6. Kakao M
Artists under this company: IU, Apink, VICTON, The Boyz
Units sold: 390.9k
Kakao M has made some smart moves in the industry, purchasing IU’s company (EDAM Entertainment), The Boyz’s label (Cre.ker Entertainment), and VICTON and Apink’s agency (Play M Entertainment), all of whom have had a really successful year so far! IU, still one of the industry’s most popular solo artists, has made 45.7k unit sales; The Boyz has sold 103.9k; Apink has sold 47.4k; and VICTON has sold 194k. They’re definitely a rising company!
5. Starship Entertainment
Artists under this company: MONSTA X, Cosmic Girls, CRAVITY, K. Will, Wonho, Soyou
Units sold: 595k
Though Starship Entertainment has lost some of their past popular groups, such as SISTAR and BOYFRIEND, they have some major players under their company, with MONSTA X making up the bulk of their unit sales (272.7k). Cosmic Girls has been gaining success too, with 174.9k sales, and new group CRAVITY is already seeing success with 147.4k unit sales, a huge accomplishment for a debuting artist!
4. Stone Music Entertainment
Artists under this company: IZ*ONE, fromis_9, Davichi, Heize, TOO, X1 (previously)
Units sold: 1.06 million
Stone Music Entertainment’s powerhouse is by far IZ*ONE, with the girl group actually matching TWICE‘s sales with about 1.01 million unit sales under their subsidiary label, Off the Records. X1, though disbanded, is still making them a profit as well, with 13.6k unit sales this year under their subsidiary, Swing Entertainment, and TOO has also made 27.8k sales under their subsidiary, n.CH.
3. JYP Entertainment
Artists under this company: TWICE, GOT7, Stray Kids, ITZY, DAY6
Units sold: 1.87 million
The Big 3 wouldn’t be complete without JYP Entertainment! The company has had a massively successful year so far, with TWICE leading the sales with 831.8k units sold. They have several other highly popular groups as well, including GOT7 (446.4k unit sales), Stray Kids (367.8k unit sales), rookie group ITZY (150.5k unit sales), and DAY6 (77.7k unit sales). They likely won’t be dropping on this list any time soon!
2. SM Entertainment
Artists under this company: NCT, EXO, Red Velvet, Super Junior, SuperM, SHINee, Girls’ Generation, Lovelyz, Golden Child, Rocket Punch
Units sold: 4.31 million
Once the biggest company in the industry, SM Entertainment is still high up in the rankings, which is understandable given the huge variety of popular K-Pop artists under their label! They also now own subsidiary Woollim Entertainment, who manages Golden Child, Rocket Punch, and Lovelyz. Their artists have sold too many unit sales to fully write out, but they’ve had both successful group (NCT, Super Junior, Red Velvet) and solo (EXO’s Suho and Baekhyun, TVXQ’s, Changmin, Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon) comebacks this year!
1. BigHit Entertainment
Artists under this company: BTS, TXT, SEVENTEEN, GFRIEND, Lee Hyun, NU’EST, Kyulkyung, Nana, Sungyeon
Units sold: 7.06 million
No one should be too surprised that BigHit Entertainment has had the most profits this year, especially after purchasing Source Music (GFRIEND’s label) and Pledis Entertainment (SEVENTEEN and NU’EST’s label) along with the massive success that BTS has had, as well as TXT’s growing popularity. They’ve made nearly as many unit sales than the next 3 companies combined, and this is their third year being at the #1 spot on this list. BTS’s 5.03 million unit sales make up the bulk of their profit, but their other artists’ sales aren’t anything to scoff at either: TXT sold 355k units, SEVENTEEN sold 1.39 million units, NU’EST sold 201.5k units, and GFRIEND sold 82.5k units.