Are short K-pop contracts the new trend? Ailee the next idol to leave new label in a year

K-pop idols and rappers like Jessi, Sik-K, GOT7's Jay B and fromis_9's Gyuri all left their labels in July


                            Are short K-pop contracts the new trend? Ailee the next idol to leave new label in a year
Ailee becomes the next K-pop idol to leave a new K-pop label after signing a year ago (@ailee, @jessicah_o, @jaybnow.hr, @gyurious_j/Instagram)
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VIXX fans were first impressed when Ravi shared that he was launching his second K-pop label The L1ve and the first artist that he had signed on was soloist Ailee. While Ailee is a well-known soloist in South Korea and among K-pop fans, her comebacks are quite infrequent and her promotional activities are quite less. This led to her fans citing alleged mistreatment by her old K-pop labels. With a new beginning with Ravi who also happens to be a friend, Ailee fans had rejoiced. However, on July 29, it was reported that her contract had ended and Ailee had left her new label.

Following one comeback under The L1ve which she had joined in July 2021, Ailee has left her label after just one year. The L1ve label shared that their exclusive contract with the female idol would be expiring by the end of July 2021 and that they would continue to support all her future endeavours. VIXX fans wondered if Ravi was closing shop as he is set to enlist for his mandatory military service. But that doesn’t seem to be the case as Mamamoo’s Wheein who was the second artist to join is still at the new label.

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Trend of short K-pop contracts?

While most K-pop labels have a 7-year contract with their artists, it seems that a trend of a one-year or a shorter contract period has cropped up. In fact, in July, we saw several such instances as Jessi left P Nation after 3 years, and Sik-K and GOT7’s Jay B left H1ghr Music after 4 years and 1 year respectively. K-pop fans are applauding this new and clean trend of agencies letting their artists take a call on their future career path instead of binding them in long-term contracts. In the past, some contracts were as long as 13 years and this had led to a messy split as seen with former TVXQ and EXO members getting into lawsuits with SM.

However, now K-pop labels are also allowing members of idol groups to leave before their contract expires. In fact, on the same day that Ailee left The L1ve, fromis_9’s Gyuri wrote a letter sharing that she would be leaving Pledis Entertainment. We also had members of rookie groups TO1, Kingdom and OnlyOneOf leaving their groups after a span of one year for personal reasons, even though their contracts had not expired.

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‘Treat her right'

Ailee fans speculated as to why she must have left her label instead of renewing her contract with her new label. One claimed it was because of the bare minimum promotions. “See how some people think Ailee is inactive when she's been having concerts and festivals + Immortal Songs non-stop? The only artist that's overworking with public events but is thought having a hiatus.”

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Another fan said, “I really hope ailee finds a company that will treat her right.” One fan wrote, “We thought Jessi with Pnation was great.. We thought Ailee with The Live was good.. But then we realized..we don't know what happened behind the camera..” Another added, “Wasting a talent like ailee is insane, i hope she goes to a company that treats her right.”

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