K-Pop artists didn’t all start out with the luxuries offered by well-established entertainment companies. In fact, many made their debut in smaller agencies and pretty much singlehandedly helped to build their companies to become the K-Pop powerhouses they are today. Check out these artists who helped their companies become successful!
BTS’ story from their trainee days to their current position as a globally-renown group is one that is familiar to most K-Pop fans. While it may be hard to believe, BTS had very humble beginnings — at the time, Big Hit had few employees and did not have enough funding to provide the group with good sets for shooting their album photo concepts.
IU had her fair share of difficulties before establishing herself as one of Korea’s top solo artists. While she officially made her debut in 2008, it wasn’t until 2010 that she truly experienced tremendous success. Her popularity as a vocalist has helped LOEN Entertainment to receive attention in the K-Pop community.
It’s no joke when fans say that BIGBANG made YG Entertainment. It was not until BIGBANG’s debut in 2006 that YG Entertainment really took off in terms of its success. At the time, the BIGBANG members lived together in a small apartment and practiced in a deteriorating studio. Since then, YG Entertainment has completely transformed its headquarters and is continuing to expand globally.
Another group with an inspiring story is MAMAMOO. Prior to the group’s debut, RBW Entertainment was just another small entertainment company. However, the MAMAMOO’s success has helped RBW Entertainment to grow tremendously, and even purchase a building in Vietnam.
INFINITE experiences many struggles before they made their debut under Woollim Entertainment. Their original dorm had a lot of issues and didn’t even have a proper closet for members to organize their belongings. However, INFINITE soon became incredibly popular in the K-Pop community and helped built Woolim Entertainment into the company it is today.
MNH Entertainment is extremely lucky to have Chungha, who is the first artist to debut under the company. After becoming a member of I.O.I through ‘Produce 101,’ Chungha debuted as a solo artist and is now considered to be one of the best in Korea. MNH has since been able to debut a new group BVNDIT.
B1A4 also took a difficult path before they were able to make their debut. In fact, they even had to practice below streetlights because they did not have a proper practice room. Since then, the group has achieved great success with their music, allowing WM Entertainment to not only move into a new building but to also debut new groups.
When Gfriend made their debut in 2015, they were the only artist under their company Source Music Entertainment. Through the success of many of their songs, the company has since been able to expand and become successful. Most recently, Source Music Entertainment was acquired by K-Pop powerhouse Big Hit Entertainment.
Apink’s pre-debut days consist of practicing in a small basement room. Now, Play M Entertainment has six spacious rooms for their artists to use as they like and this is all thanks to Apink. After their debut, Apink received love from K-Pop fans and has helped to expand Play M Entertainment.
BEAST (Highlight) and 4Minute
2009 was a lucky year for Cube Entertainment. During this time, the company debuted both BEAST and 4Minute. Both of the groups were able to find great success with their music, allowing the company to expand and debut new artists.