The seven-year curse is very infamous in South Korea as a majority of K-pop groups tend to disband after their contracts expire in seven years. The rule says that contracts to be signed between artists and agencies aren’t supposed to exceed seven years at a time. Therefore, when this period expires, the group disbands as a consequence of various reasons. It may happen that the agency doesn’t want to invest money in K-pop groups that haven’t been very successful. However, most of the time, it’s the band members who decide to leave the label, especially if they are promised more benefits from a different label, or they want to pursue a solo career in music or acting of their own.
Eventually, if one or two members of some six or seven-piece K-pop group decide to call it a day, the chances for the group to disband increase. Hence, the seven-year curse! Although it’s mostly the successful girl groups who don’t renew their contracts after seven years, there have been some rare examples of K-pop groups, boys and girls alike, who have withstood the seven-year curse and had or have continued to produce music together. Here are eight such K-pop groups.
BTS or Bangtan Boys have been together for almost eight years now after debuting in 2013. Their contract was supposed to end in 2017, but the group renewed it for another seven years. Just imagine the situation if they had decided to disband after seven years following the famous Seven-year curse! We hope BTS members know how much it means to the ARMY, who would have been devastated at the disbandment. Their maknae, Jungkook, was only fifteen when he made his debut with BTS with the single, ‘No More Dream,’ co-written by RM, Suga, and J-Hope.
The renewed contract is supposed to end in 2026, which is a long way at the moment. Let’s pray for the bulletproof boys to stay together for seven more years and even beyond that just as they have been all this while, going through every ups and downs together. We surely want them to give us hundreds of more songs like ‘Boy with Luv’ and ‘Dynamite’ to dance on their choreography, don’t we?
Eleven long years and the group still stands as one of the most successful girl groups out there! After debuting in 2011 as a seven-member band, the group went on to win hearts by producing music for both South Korean and Japanese fans alike. Not only did the group produce six studio albums and three mini-albums during the course of eleven years, but it also did several live concerts and tours. Not to mention the number of awards it has been winning for its contribution to the K-pop industry. So, when the news of A-Pink member Son Naeun’s departure started to circulate, fans couldn’t stop but worry if the group is disbanding as well.
Thankfully, that’s not the case. Despite her not renewing the contract with the Play M agency, she still remains a part of the group and actively participates in the group activities. Their agency has announced that the girl group is all set to make its powerful comeback next month in February 2022. That’s a great piece of news for A-Pink stans!
2PM has always been a K-Pop boyband with tough and masculine beast-like boys rather than pretty flower boys. The group made its debut back in 2010 with all seven members— Nichkhun, Taecyeon, Chansung, Wooyoung, Junho, Jun K, and their leader, Jaebeom. However, Jaebeom officially left the group in 2009 because of getting involved in some controversies. After their contracts expired, everyone else except Taecyeon renewed their contracts with the agency, but he made sure to continue to be a member of 2PM.
The group went on a hiatus in 2017 as each one of them began their two-year mandatory military service but thankfully reunited last year with their seventh studio album titled, ‘Must’. The seven-year curse didn’t stop the members of the band from being the classic 2PM as it continues to deliver amazing music content to this day. The recent news of 2PM member, Chansung leaving the label permanently for getting married and having a kid might have upset the fans. Let’s just hope he continues to stay a member of 2PM like bandmate Taecyeon.
If the members of ‘Big Bang’ are called the ‘Kings of K-pop,’ SHINee is definitely the ‘Princes of the K-pop’ industry. Originally composed of five members, the group lost one of its pillars in 2017 when their vocalist, Jonghyun, passed away. However, the group stood strong with Onew, Taemin, Key, and Minho and have been working hard to entertain their fans till now. SHINee made its debut back in 2008 with the extended Play, ‘Replay,’ and gradually gained immense popularity, thanks to their exceptional vocals, great synchronization, and complex dance routines.
After being inactive for almost three years because of military enlistments, the K-pop group made a starstruck comeback in 2021 with their seventh studio album in Korean titled ‘Don’t Call Me’. Well, they overcame the seven-year curse once. Let’s hope they can do it for the second time as well.
It was in 2017 that the fans of Girl’s Generation saw the group as a whole for the last time, after which some of them left the band to pursue their solo careers in music or acting while the others were active as a sub-unit. Nonetheless, the band overcame the seven-year curse. One of the most popular and prominent K-pop groups worldwide, ‘Girls’ Generation’ is a recipient of numerous accolades and is referred to as ‘The Nation’s Girl Group’ in their homeland.
With six Korean and three Japanese full-length studio albums, ‘Girl’s Generation’ became the first girl group that managed to shift the focus of the public back to female idols after the industry witnessed an influx of male idol groups for five years from 2002.
3. BIG BANG
Known as the ‘Kings of K-pop,’ BIG BANG is one of the most influential acts in the history of K-pop that have helped the Korean Wave to grow internationally. They made their debut in 2006 with their first album, ‘Bigbang Vol.’ but rose to greater fame with singles like ‘Lies’ and ‘Farewell’, which topped several Korean music charts and earned a few awards. It’s amazing how they have been together for fifteen years as a group in the industry, defying the seven-year curse again and again!
It’s unfortunate that their five-member team broke into two after the vocalist, Seungri, left the group and the music industry in 2019, permanently, owing to a terrible scandal. However, the squad of G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, and Daesung might make a comeback soon. They have been on a hiatus since 2016 because of the members’ mandatory military enlistments but had plans to return with a tour which sadly, got canceled due to the pandemic.
2. SUPER JUNIOR
Another second-generation K-pop boy group that thrived in the K-pop industry for over one and a half-decade, no doubt ‘SUPER JUNIOR’ is dubbed as the ‘King of Hallyu Wave’. It was back in 2005 when the band debuted with their first single, ‘Twins,’ and after struggling during the initial years, their sub-group, consisting of Han Geng, Siwon, Kyuhyun, Donghae, Ryeowook Henry, and Zhou Mi, went on to amass huge popularity. With sold-out tours and albums and innumerable awards, Super Junior has been one of the most successful bands in South Korea.
Although some of the Super Junior members left the group and opted to establish their solo careers, including Han Geng, Kibum, and Kangin, the others stayed as a nine-member band. Each and every member of the group works hard to produce music at regular intervals, along with doing stuff like acting and hosting.
It’s Shinhwa we are talking about— the legendary and probably the most dedicated K-pop boy group who have been in the industry for over two decades! The group debuted in 1998, produced music for more than six years, renewed the contract with a different agency, and later decided to create their own company in order to facilitate their career as a group. Even the change of agency and mandatory military enlistments didn’t stop them from achieving success after they made a comeback four years later in 2012.
The longest-running boy group in the history of K-pop, Shinhwa is dubbed as the first generation of K-pop whose work and longevity have served as great influences on the future k-pop generations. Together as a group, they have given their fans seventeen studio albums and have done several tours and concerts along with carving their solo careers as well.