You might like: Rivals or Friends? The Story of Blackpink vs TWICE’s Rivalry and Friendship In South Korea, there are at least three major agencies that have successfully fostered a number of famous artists to the entire world. In fact, so many people are competing to get into these three big agencies. Those agencies are none other than SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment. Names like Super Junior, BIGBANG, EXO, TWICE, BLACKPINK are some of the top idol groups born from the three agencies, nicknamed ‘Big Three’. These three agencies are arguably the most prestigious agencies because of the quality of their artists, which is undeniable. They are also known as the originators of new trends and methods such as lightsticks, albums with photocards, trainee systems, dance practices, merchandise, and many other things that are always used by K-Pop idols these days. Among these big three agencies, SM Entertainment was first founded in 1995 by Lee Soo-man, who in his youth spent his career as a radio singer and DJ. One year later, in 1996, YG Entertainment was founded by Yang Hyun-suk, a former hip-hop group member of Seo Taiji and Boys. JYP Entertainment was founded in 1997 by Park Jin-young, who is a solo singer. Curious what agencies are included in the list of the three largest in South Korea? Let us refer to the following review. Who knows, maybe your favorite idol shelters under one of these agencies! In this article, Channel-Korea will show you the journey of the agencies that house famous and amazing K-Pop Idols like Super Junior, Big Bang, 2PM, EXO, and others. So, stay tuned!

SM Entertainment

SM Entertainment was founded by Lee Soo-man in 1995. Since its establishment, SM Entertainment has delivered many famous artists to foreign countries. In fact, the history of the first K-Pop group in South Korea was born from this agency. The boy-group was H.O.T, who was born in the first year of SM Entertainment, which was 1996. Even though it only lasted a short time, which was five years, H.O.T became one of the K-Pop music legends that was able to sell 1 million copies of their album, even though at that time the condition of the Korean economy was not good. Besides H.O.T, a series of other famous artists were also born from SM Entertainment, such as Super Junior, SNSD, TVXQ, EXO, Red Velvet, F(x), and NCT. Not only has it given birth to big artists, SM Entertainment also developed businesses in various fields, such as making digital applications and actor management, as well as providing various innovations in the entertainment industry. This agency recorded a profit of up to IDR 5 trillion in 2017. Behind the big name of SM Entertainment, this agency still has some shortcomings. The agency, which has been around for decades, is often accused of not treating the artists in its care fairly. It also made a split in several K-Pop groups it’s formed, such as the departure of Jae Joong, Yoo Chun, and Junsu from TVXQ, and Kris Wu, Tao, and Luhan from EXO.


BoA, whose real name is Kwon Bo-ah, is a singer, songwriter, and actress from South Korea under SM Entertainment. After undergoing training for approximately two years, BoA finally debuted on August 25, 2000, with an album titled ID; Peace B. At that time, BoA was only thirteen years old. In 2001, BoA performed in Japan by performing three songs in different languages, ID; Peace B (Japanese), SARA (Korean), and Don’t Star Now (English). After the concert, she released her first mini album, ‘Jumping into the World’ on May 5, 2001. Not only debuted in Korea and Japan, BoA also debuted in America on October 14, 2008, with the single titled Eat You Up, and the first album in English on March 17, 2009.


TVXQ (东方 神 起; Tong Vfeng Xien Qi), or DBSK (동방신기; Dong Bang Shin Ki), was a boy-group formed by SM Entertainment which originally consisted of 5 people. But since 2011, TVXQ has only got two members left, Yunho and Changmin. Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu formed a new group called JYJ, and debuted in 2010. TVXQ debuted on December 26, 2003, by performing Hug and O Holy Night in the BoA and Britney Spears showcases. But the song was just officially released on January 14, 2004. Inspired by the success of BoA, who debuted in Japan, SM Entertainment prepared TVXQ to debut there, as well. The TVXQ members started learning Japanese, and then went to Japan to record there. In Japan, TVXQ is known as “Tohoshinki,” and officially debuted on April 27, 2005, with the debut single titled Stay with Me Tonight. At the peak of their career, TVXQ experienced a rather complicated problem. The three members, Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu, opposed SM Entertainment because of contractual issues. They think the 13-year diving contract with SM Entertainment is very long. Plus, they had a schedule that was often sudden, and the distribution of benefits was not given appropriately. The three of them officially filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment in November 2009 in Seoul central court, resulting in group activities in Korea being suspended. As for activities in Japan, they continues to run, even though it was only until the beginning of 2010. In April 2010, Avex Group announced that TVXQ had formed a special unit consisting of Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu, who later became known as JYJ, causing Yunho and Cangmin to be on temporary hiatus in the music world. After the announcement, SM Entertainment sued JYJ by asking for compensation for the contract. In June, it was JYJ’s turn to file a lawsuit to break an exclusive contract with SM Entertainment.

Super Junior

SUPER JUNIOR is one of the legendary boy-groups from South Korea under the label SM Entertainment. The group originally consisted of 13 members, namely Leetuk (leader), Heechul, Han Geng, Yesung, Kang-in, Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Ryewook, Kibum, and Kyuhyun. The beginning of the formation of Super Junior is inseparable from the cold hands of Lee Soo-man, the founder and producer of SM Entertainment, one of the biggest entertainment agencies in Korea. Initially, the name of this group was O.V.E.R (Obey the Voice for Each Rhtym). However, before their debut, the name was changed to Junior, because it presented that the members entered the SM Entertainment trainee program at a very young age. Then it was changed again, to Super Junior, from the first showcase and that name is still used now. Super Junior debuted in an SBS music program on November 6, 2005, with the song Twins (Knock Out). Super Junior only started becoming successful in 2007, after launching the album Don’t Don. They shone even more in 2009, after releasing a new album titled Sorry Sorry in March. Thanks to the song, they won first place on various Korean charts and the album also won the Daesang award at the Golden Disk Awards. In 2010, there were only eleven active members, two of whom were Han Geng, who had legal problems with SM Entertainment, causing Han Geng to quit Super Junior and choose a solo career in his home country, China. Kibum also left because he focused on his acting career. But Kibum just officially ended the contract with SM Entertainment on August 18 2015. Starting in November 2015, Super Junior was active with only six members, namely Lee Teuk, Heechul, Yesung, Kangin, Ryeowook, and Kyuhyun. Shindong, Sungmin, Siwon, Eunhyuk, and Donghae were temporarily on hiatus because they were conscripted.


Girls’ Generation (소녀 시대; SNSD or SoShi) is a girl-group from South Korea formed by SM Entertainment. Girls’ Generation debuted on August 5, 2007, with the single Into the New World. Their first studio album, titled So Nyeo Si Dae (Girls ‘Generation), was released on November 1, 2007. The name for Girls’ Generation’s fandom, SONE, was taken from the name of their first album.  On January 7, 2009, SNSD launched their first mini album, titled Gee. With the song Gee, they became increasingly known, and the song topped the Korean charts. The song even sat at number one on Music Bank for nine consecutive weeks. After their success, they also launched a second mini album, titled Genie. In 2014, shocking news came from SNSD’s member Jessica. On September 30, SM Entertainment announced that Jessica was no longer active on Girls’ Generation. Then, on October 9, 2017, SM Entertainment gave shocking news to SONE. Three of the SNSD members, namely Tiffany, Sooyoung, and Seohyun officially left SM Entertainment because they did not renew their contract. The three members confirmed that they did not quit from SNSD and are still SNSD members at any time, even though they are no longer part of SM Entertainment. SM Entertainment also added that SNSD did not disband and would discuss SNSD activities in the future.

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