SM and YG Voted the Agencies That Performed the Best In 2013 by Industry Figures

Best Agencies

Like we mentioned in our “Luckiest Actors of The Year” article, December is that interesting period of the year where all the boffins from the entertainment industry gather around in some magical room to rank their own achievements over the year. The actors had their moment in the spotlight, and now it’s time for the music industry to pat themselves on the back with a survey asking who was the most active agencies of 2013 run by news media outlet “Star News.” In news that I’m sure is surprising to no one, SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment were voted as the agencies that performed the best in 2013. Meanwhile Starship Entertainment (Home of Sistar) and Mystic89 (Home of Lim Kim, Park Ji Yoon, Yoon Jong Shin) were voted as the agencies that have rose to sudden prominence in 2013.

On December 12, news media outlet “Star News” released the results of a survey  that asked industry officials which agencies they believed were the most successful in 2013. Some of the people that participated in the survey include Core Contents Media CEO, Kim Kwang Soo, Starship Entertainment CEO Kim Si Dae, MBC’s Jae Young Jae PD, SBS’s Bae Sung Woo PD and a whole suit of other important figures from SM, jTBC, FNC Entertainment and the like. In total, 35 individuals participated in the survey.


Now to the actual results, SM Entertainment received a massive 18 votes out of 35 while its closest competitor, YG Entertainment, received a total of 6 votes out of 35 to give it the runners up place. The general opinion was that the two agencies continued their successes in 2013 to firmly cement their places as the two largest agencies in the industry. Also interesting to note was that the individuals surveyed believed that Starship Entertainment and Mystic 89 have risen substantially over the course of 2013.

Popular Music Critic, Seo Jung Min Gab, states that for SM, “SHINee, f(X), EXO and all their other groups succeed for different reasons” and that it showed “How solid SM’s system of operations were.”

Composer Jo Young Soo, famous for songs such as Orange Caramel’s Aing and Shanghai Romance, also rated SM highly stating that “SM has continued to maintain their existing set of artists, but at the same time they’ve managed to create a group in EXO that has a massive fandom and popular appeal.”

Popular Music Critic, Kang Tae Kyu, was also positive about SM Entertainment, stating that SM’s “Content plans for groups such as SHINee and EXO were outstanding” and that “They were able to grow their fandom through hit songs while the success of their albums were also remarkable.”

Girls' Generation Youtube

It has certainly been a good year for SM Entertainment, one that has seen them reach new heights in both sales and exports of their content. They started off 2013 with a bang with the release of Girls Generation’s 4th album “I Got A Boy” and continued that momentum through the year with a constant push of content, with SHINee’s “Dream Girl” being released in February, “Why So Serious” in April and “Everybody” in October along with f(x)’s 2nd album “Pink Tape” released in the midst of summer.

exo mtv ema 2013

But their biggest success this year has definitely been their new super boy group, EXO, arguably one the biggest phenomenons in popular music this year. They have already won numerous awards this year and their popularity has also translated into amazing album sales, topping over 1 million units sold. 


There was also plenty of positive responses about YG Entertainment with CEO of Universal Music Korea, Yang Bum Joon, stating that “YG has used their pre-existing mass appeal to their advantage to allow their artists to produce songs that they want to produce.” He especially points out G-Dragon, stating that “G-Dragon is currently cementing himself as a super star with no peers while it seems like Taeyang has finally cemented himself as a musician.”

Jung Hae Ik, CEO of Happy Tribe Entertainment (Home to Boys Republic) also praised YG Entertainment for “Showing off a wide variety of hit songs, with PSY at the fore followed on by G-Dragon and Taeyang.”

PSY in Gentleman video

YG Entertainment certainly didn’t rest on their laurels, continuing to push the advantage they had thanks to PSY’s success last year. They quickly released PSY’s hotly anticipated next hit “Gentlemen” in April of this year, and PSY once again approved his global appeal, scoring another world record for must watched video in 24 hours. It may not have been the massive success of “Gangnam Style” but it was a great start to 2013 for the agency.  

g-dragon instagram

Within the domestic market, G-Dragon released his much awaited 2nd album “Black” with a staggering total of four title songs. He was quickly followed by Taeyang’s album in November while Seungri also released his own mini album “Lets Talk About Love” in August.


The Big Bang boys weren’t the only ones staying busy for YG Entertainment. 2NE1 also saw plenty of success this year with “Falling In Love” released in July, “Do You Love Me” in August and “Missing You” in November. CL also released a solo single in May.

win team a winner

But once again just like SM Entertainment, one of YG Entertainment stand out successes involved rookies. By this I mean their massively popular reality survival program “Who Is Next:WIN” which saw two teams of YG trainees battle it out for the privilege of finally making an official debut. The winning group comprised of Kang Seung Yoon, Lee Seung Hoon, Song Min Ho, Nam Tae Hyun and Kim Jin Woo will most likely debut sometime in 2014 and looks to be another success story for the agency.

Starship Entertainment

Meanwhile Starship Entertainment and Mystic 89 also got its fair share of interest with SBS PD Bae Sung Woo praising Starship Entertainment for their management of Sistar and K-Will, stating that they were able to rise to the dominant figures by “using just careful planning and their singing talents.”


Starship Entertainment’s biggest success this year has certainly been the astronomical rise of Sistar as a girl group powerhouse. Sistar 19 got the group started in first half of 2013 before the successful release of Sistar’s 2nd album “Give It To Me” in June of this year. Hyorin also recently released her solo song “One Way Love” and appears to be on path to be another success for the agency.


But Sistar hasn’t been the only bright spot for Starship Entertainment. Other artists such as K-Will and Boyfriend have also seen their fair share of success in 2013. K-Will in particular was able to secure several music show victories with “You Don’t Know Love.”


Meanwhile jTBC PD, Yeo Woon Hyuk praised the rise of Mystic 89. The agency founded by Yong Jong Shin is currently home to a whole suit of stars ranging from Lim Kim, Park Ji Yoon, Jang Jae In, Jo Jung Chi, Kim Yeon Woo, Hareem, Puer Kim and Park Ji Yoon (The Entertainer). Yeo Woon Hyuk PD states that “Mystic 89 saw their artists actively appear on variety shows while also creating solid rookies such as Lim Kim.” He also praised Mystic 89 founder Yoon Jong Shin, stating that “Yoon Jong Shin has shown an endless passion for music through his monthly Yoon Jong Shin project” and that Mystic 89 is the “Hidden powerhouse of the agency world.” 


Mystic 89 is the darkhorse of the industry. What they lack in flamboyance they make up for with sheer talent and depth. Lim Kim’s unique vocals has seen her take the rookie of the year award at the 2013 Melon Music Awards while the agency continues to sign on more and more talented individuals such as Jang Jae In, Park Ji Yoon and Muzie. Yoon Jong Shin has also kept himself busy through the year with a suit of variety show appearances and continues to show his worth as an MC on MBC’s “Radio Star.” Mystic 89 is certainly an agency to look out for in the upcoming years.

This is what the industry officials think, what about you?