2016 has proved to be a big year for YG Entertainment, with BIGBANG's 10th anniversary, the long-awaited debut of Black Pink, and the agency's 20th anniversary. Needless to say, there were a lot of talking points when YG CEO Yang Hyun-suk sat down for a new interview.
When asked about YG's 20th anniversary, Hyun-suk said that it was a long, hard road, but it has been relatively drama-less and the agency has since grown to about 1,000 people:
“We worked like swans. On the outside, we looked classy, but behind the scenes, we were constantly working. YG has had a smooth growth, with no slumps. I never think that we should do twice as well as last year. I just want to run the company in a safe way. We started as ‘YG Family,’ but now we have over 400 people. Including our other business ventures, like YG Foods, we have about 1000 people. I think it’s time for a new phrase that can include all of these people.
The CEO attributed this growth over the past two decades down to the agency's penchant for novelty and change even amidst criticisms, such as when BIGBANG was criticised in its early years for being labeled "idols":
“I get bored when things don’t change, and I built YG with that in mind. When Fin.K.L and S.E.S were getting popular, I debuted Big Mama, a group with a focus on vocals. In BIGBANG’s early years, I heard a lot of criticism. I called them idols, and people asked if something was wrong with my eyes. It’s the same with BLACKPINK; they are a pretty girl group that does YG style music. That’s new, isn’t it?”
On the topic of BIGBANG and their 10th anniversary, with the recent positive reception to the reformation of Sechs Kies, Hyun-suk believe that BIGBANG have only reached "halfway" of their initial goals and that there could very well be 10 more years of G-Dragon, Taeyang, T.O.P, Daesung, and Seungri:
“I think we’ve reached the halfway point of the group’s initial goals. I made BIGBANG because I wanted a long-lasting group, and 10 years was the first milestone. Even when BIGBANG had debuted, the life expectancy for an idol group was about three to five years. With the recent reunion performance by Sechs Kies, I looked forward to where BIGBANG might be in 10 years. Seeing 20,000 fans support the group after 16 years, I thought BIGBANG could easily do at least 10 more years.”
And finally, the topic of BIGBANG's military service inevitably came up, but Hyun-suk isn't too worried because the group are seasoned veterans in the industry as opposed to rookies and they'll be able to return to where they were before after they return from duty:
“BIGBANG’s ‘Made’ album from last year is an album they released after three years, and it achieved global popularity. If BIGBANG were a young idol group, I’d worry, but they’re different. Their talent won’t disappear because they’ve come back from the military. Just like actors that return from duty, I believe that they will have matured, and create new music fit for the times.”