In the K-Pop industry, it’s fairly standard for a group to create a contract with their company that has the members commit to a 7-year-long career with their label. While the length of time does vary and there have been plenty of cases of members leaving before their contract is up, this is one of the most common situations when a group debuts.
When it gets close to a group’s contract ending, fans of the artist can get understandably concerned about whether or not all of the members will renew their contract. And when you look at the statistics into how many K-Pop groups that debuted between 1996 and now — about 350 in total — have renewed their contracts without losing any members, it’s understandable why this is a nerve-wracking time for fans.
Out of these hundreds of groups (with 3 or more members), only 5 of them have renewed their contracts at some point without losing a single member during the renewal process, and have still retained their original line-up.
This doesn’t include groups, such as GOT7, that are still together despite leaving their company, or groups that say they are still together despite one or more members leaving the company, such as MAMAMOO. Also not included are groups that lost members prior to or after their first contract renewal, such as Jay Park leaving 2PM beforehand, or Seungri leaving BIGBANG and Jessica leaving Girls’ Generation afterwards.
Perhaps most well-known currently is SEVENTEEN‘s recent renewal with Pledis Entertainment this month, which is particularly impressive considering they have 13 members! Interestingly, one of the other groups to renew their contract with all of their members is their labelmate NU’EST, whose 5 members decided to stay with the company back in January 2019.
Also in recent history was SF9‘s contract renewal with FNC Entertainment, with all 9 members of the group deciding to stay with the company in March earlier this year.
Of course, all 7 of BTS‘s members made the decision to continue with BigHit Labels back when they renewed their contract in 2018, which was actually prior to their original contract ending date, which would have been last year.
Finally, SHINee also deserves to be mentioned in this list. While Jonghyun tragically passed back in late 2017, they are the only group in K-Pop history to renew with their label twice (once in 2014 and again in 2018) and still have all of their members, and with how close the members are and how much their music means to them, there’s little doubt that Jonghyun would have continued on with them at SM Entertainment as well, and he will always be an eternal member.
There are many third-generation K-Pop group contracts that will be expiring within the next year or two: Red Velvet and Lovelyz will make their decision later this year, and TWICE will do so in 2022. Fans can only hope that they will be added to this too-short list!