2016 is a special year for YG Entertainment, being the 20th anniversary of the agency, and the 10th anniversary of the agency’s representative group BIGBANG. This year also happens to be the 20th anniversary of SM’s H.O.T, the first ever idols of K-pop.
When asked about the agency’s 20th anniversary, Yang Hyun Suk said it was a hard road. “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.” Mentioning how many people he is responsible for, he said, “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.”
Yang Hyun Suk attributed the company’s growth and edge to novelty. “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?”
With regard to the 10th anniversary of BIGBANG, the agency’s poster group, Yang Hyun Suk said, “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.”
Yang Hyun Suk also commented on BIGBANG’s upcoming military service, saying that military service is the least of his concerns. “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.”