Why YG Entertainment Losing Trainees Is A Bigger Issue Than You’d Imagine


YG Entertainment has been the center of many controversies since the beginning of 2019.

A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that YG trainees from “YG Treasure Box” were looking for new agencies. Since the report became so big, YG was contacted and they gave this answer,

“All employees are working as usual. Plans are going as scheduled without a hitch.”

While it wouldn’t make sense for YG to admit that everything is on fire, it was pretty clear that the damages are only getting bigger and more difficult to control.

In the past weeks, three “YG Treasure Box” trainees left the agency and joined OUI Entertainment. Today, I’d like to talk about why this I believe this is a huge issue that will deeply affect YG in the future.

[Note: this article is about my own thoughts on the ongoing situation, not presenting anything as facts but my own assumptions based on the information we have.]

YG were seriously hit with multiple serious scandals since 2019 began. Starting with former BIGBANG Seungri’s involvement in Jung Joon Young’s chatroom controversy, this then led to shocking revealing information. They were also hit on a management level, back in March of this year, it was announced that YG will undergo a special tax evasion investigation.


Later, reports alleged that former iKON leader B.I. purchased drugs, while this was never proven and remains only an allegation, the damage was already done. It cemented netizens perception of YG, a place where many idols do drugs.

To top all of that, its founder, Yang Hyun Suk, is accused of many things and has been undergoing police investigations for a while now.

Regardless of the final verdict on any case involving YG entertainment or Yang Hyun Suk, the public has already made up their minds. Many k-netizens call the agency ‘drug pharmacy.’ Having your name associated with the agency is not ideal at this stage.

But why does a natural process such as trainees leaving the agency has a negative effect?

Because this time, it’s different.

We could argue that there are many reasons trainees would want to leave any agency, [some that I could think of, feel free to add yours in the comment section]

  • Personal reasons.
  • Giving up on the idol dream.
  • Knowing they won’t debut in the next group and have to wait 3-5 years.
  • Getting a better offer from another agency.
  • The agency didn’t want them anymore/doesn’t feel they’re good enough.
  • Parents pressure.
  • Fear of association with YG’s name due to its scandals.
  • Having inside info that scares them of staying in YG.
  • Other reasons.



Trainees join agencies at a very young age; usually their parents consent to their contracts and everything is coordinated with the parents. Now that the majority of K-netizens don’t find YG a good place to be, the mindset of parents of hopeful idols changed, thus many parents wouldn’t agree to have their children train in such a problematic unstable agency.

Future trainees (aside from their parents’ pressure) also have the dream of debuting and earning good money, having their names associated with an agency that would always find itself in trouble is not ideal. It’s not worth it to waste your time training at a place that is this scary and unstable.

For YG’s future, trainees are essential. The problem is not only that trainees are leaving but the possibility that it will be extremely difficult to acquire new trainees for future groups.

Let’s assume that TREASURE 13 debut next year. This means that roughly speaking (taking into consideration how often YG debuts groups) the next group could debut between 2023-2025. If existing talented trainees or diamonds in the rough are leaving now and no new trainees are coming in, where will they find trainees to debut a new girl/boy group?


What makes it even worse for YG Entertainment is the contract period for trainees. Many agencies sign contracts for one year and they renew once every year. It gives flexibility to both the trainee and the agency but in this case more power to the trainees who might be influenced by the current turn of events and YG’s fall from grace.

There could still be trainees who aren’t afraid of this or trainees who would kill for this chance but they might not be as good as YG needs them to be. YG might have to settle for less because they don’t have the luxury to be picky anymore.

We all know how strict YG Entertainment is. They wouldn’t debut unless everything felt right; they take time but usually produce good groups.



YG Entertainment has an uphill battle and must try to change people’s perception of their agency if they wish to stay in the market. It was recently reported that YG Entertainment suffered over 2 billion won in deficit in the first half of 2019.

YG Entertainment also reportedly had to pay back the 67 billion won ($56.2 million) investment from Louis Vuitton Moe Hennessy (LVMH). This only puts more pressure on the agency that will struggle to find money to fund its future groups.

What about you guys? Do you think this a big issue for YG or not? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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