Kpop’s global influence continues to surge, gaining traction not only in Asia but around the globe. Top Kpop Entertainment Companies are witnessing record-breaking profits as Kpop groups and idols achieve international recognition. Their ambitions reach far beyond Korean shores, targeting markets in other parts of Asia, North America, and Europe. The global allure of Kpop, a fusion of electronic, hip-hop, pop, rock, R&B, and rap, has turned it into a $5 billion industry.
In fact, many of today’s successful Kpop idols started as passionate fans. With an increasing number of people not just consuming Kpop but aspiring to become part of its world, there’s a growing demand for insights into the industry and audition tips. For those keen on embarking on a Kpop career, resources are available. Notably, many leading Kpop Entertainment companies with prominent idols under them, such as HYBE (formerly Big Hit Entertainment), SM Entertainment, and others, are listed on KOSDAQ.
Top 10 Kpop Entertainment Companies in 2023
1. HYBE (formerly BigHit Entertainment)
The rise of HYBE, previously Big Hit Entertainment, is primarily attributed to the phenomenal success of BTS. This group alone transformed the company’s trajectory. Initially, HYBE was on the verge of collapse in 2007. Fortunately, with BTS, they established themselves as one of the top Kpop entertainment companies, producing one of the most celebrated boy groups in history.
BTS, a group of seven, has garnered record-breaking album sales, and their YouTube videos rank among the most viewed on the platform. While they made their debut in 2013, their global breakout moment was in 2019, a testament to their dedication and relentless work. Originally known as Bangtan Sonyeondan or Bulletproof Boy Scouts, they now embrace the moniker “Beyond the Scene.”
Not only that, but HYBE Entertainment also has multiple subsidiaries, including BigHit Music, Source Music, Pledis Entertainment, Belift Lab, KOZ Entertainment, and ADOR, collectively known as Hybe Labels. HYBE Co., Ltd.
Notable artists under HYBE and its subsidiaries, such as BTS, TXT, ENHYPEN, LE SSERAFIM, Hwang Min Hyun, NewJeans, and more.
“In our company, we invest a lot of time educating trainees about life as an artist, including social media. After we provide guidance, we choose to let artists be, and leave a window open for them to ask the company anything they need. I think that helped the sincerity get through to the fans. Since BTS’ success, I’ve been changing the trainee system to be more school-like, with mentorship and a coaching system, and opportunities for students to work together.”
CEO of HYBE Bang Si-Hyuk
2. JYP Entertainment
Established in 1997 by the Kpop icon J.Y. Park, JYP Entertainment is among the top Kpop entertainment companies known for its unique R&B essence. This characteristic touch comes from its founder, J.Y. Park, who is the leading creative force and the main composer for the artists under its banner. Some legendary Kpop groups fostered by JYP include Wonder Girls, Rain, and Miss A. TWICE is their star ensemble, boasting over 32 million followers across Twitter and Instagram. Additionally, Stray Kids is the male group that has gained significant attention, especially after their outstanding achievements from 2021 to 2022.
In a strategic move to broaden its international influence, JYP Entertainment has collaborated with The Orchard, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment responsible for digital and physical global distribution. This alliance empowers JYP Entertainment to penetrate the U.S. and European markets, ensuring a more comprehensive reach for its content through The Orchard’s expansive network.
Notable artists under JYP Entertainment include J.Y. Park, 2PM, TWICE, 15&, Stray Kids, JJ Project, NiziU, Jus2, ITZY, and more.
3. SM Entertainment
SM Entertainment, once at the pinnacle of the Kpop industry, has been instrumental in shaping the careers of many legendary Kpop figures over the past two decades. Despite now holding the third position, they remain influential forces in the realm of Kpop. Notably, with investments from giants like Alibaba and Tencent, SM’s prominence in China has surged. Their YouTube channel boasts over 31.4 million subscribers, intriguingly, with over 90% hailing from regions outside Korea—predominantly China. This makes their alliance with Tencent Music Entertainment crucial for bolstering their reach in the Chinese music sector.
Furthermore, SM has pioneered innovative projects, such as forming SuperM, a unique ensemble featuring stars from their leading boy groups, including SHINee, EXO, NCT 127, and WayV. Additionally, they’re set to unveil a female counterpart, “Girls on Top,” or GOT, in 2022. It’s worth noting that SM Entertainment has navigated various challenges, one of the significant ones involving issues related to Lee Soo Man’s shares.
Prominent artists under SM Entertainment include BoA, TVXQ, Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, SHINee, f(x), Red Velvet, EXO, NCT, aespa, and more.
4. YG Entertainment
Despite some key artists like some members of BigBang departing, YG Entertainment remains among the top 5 elite companies in the industry. BLACKPINK’s prominence has played a crucial role in maintaining this rank, especially after the controversies involving Seungri, Jung Joon-young, and Choi Joon-hoon, which affected YG’s stock.
In its heyday, YG Entertainment revolutionized the Kpop scene with its unique blend of hip-hop and a distinct, edgy style, diverging from the conventional Kpop sweetness. This strategy led to their meteoric rise with powerhouses like Big Bang and 2NE1. Later, the global phenomenon of PSY further solidified their footprint in the international arena.
Some notable artists under YG Entertainment are BigBang, 2NE1, BLACKPINK, AKMU (Akdong Musician), iKON, Treasure, and more.
5. Cube Entertainment
Cube Entertainment has garnered acclaim both as a media and talent agency. In 2021, they entered into a collaboration with the webtoon service Comics Family. This partnership led to the creation of video adaptations of their intellectual properties, which were then broadcast worldwide on various streaming services.
Despite their varied ventures, Cube Entertainment remains committed to its Kpop artists. Their leading act is the Kpop ensemble (G)I-DLE, surpassing the success of 4Minute and CLC.
Prominent artists in Cube Entertainment include 4Minute, CLC, Lightsum, BTOB, CLC, Pentagon, (G)I-DLE.
6. Stone Music Entertainment
Stone Music Entertainment, part of CJ ENM, is a major player in South Korea’s music industry. It operates not only as a record label but also as a talent agency and music producer. They created the label Off The Record Entertainment to manage the stars of the hit show Produce 48, including IZ*ONE and Fromis 9 from Idol School. They have other dedicated labels like LM Entertainment, Swing Entertainment, MMO Entertainment, and Studio Blu.
On April 20, 2021, CJ ENM announced that Stone Music had been liquidated to better serve artists by refining their label activities. However, the “Stone Music” label will remain a music distribution arm within the firm. This change doesn’t impact other sub-labels under CJ ENM.
Artists under Stone Music Entertainment and its subsidiaries include IZ*ONE, IN2IT, Heize, Wanna One, and more.
“Though many say Korea does not have many natural resources, I believe our resources lie in the human talent that exists in the country.”
CEO of Stone Music Entertainment Jung Chang Hwan.
7. FNC Entertainment
FNC Entertainment is recognized for bands like CNBLUE, SF9, and AOA, which later evolved into dance groups. The company faced controversy due to issues between AOA members Mina, Jimin, and Seolhyun. After the incident, Jimin departed the group, and FNC Entertainment expressed regret for not managing the members’ relationships better.
Interestingly, FNC’s top celebrity is Yoo Jae Suk, a non-Kpop star they signed in 2017. This addition boosted FNC’s stock by 30%, elevating its worth to nearly $300 million. As a result, FNC tends to focus more on TV personalities than singers. Additionally, experienced actors like Lee Dong Gun remain vital to FNC’s diverse talent roster.
Artists under FNC Entertainment are CNBLUE, FT Island, N.Flying, AOA, InnoVator, SF9, Cherry Bullet, and more.
8. Starship Entertainment
Top Kpop entertainment companies, like FAVE Entertainment (previously known as LOEN Entertainment) and its subsidiary, Starship Entertainment, have significantly impacted the industry. Starship Entertainment, which manages the 12-member group Cosmic Girls, with Korean and Chinese members, is Starship’s key to expanding in the Chinese market in 2023. Alongside this, with SISTAR as part of their roster, Starship also focuses on fostering their talents for future solo endeavors.
Other artists in Starship Entertainment are such as Cosmic Girls (WJSN), Soyou, Cravity, MONSTA X, and IVE.
9. Woollim Entertainment
In 2013, Woollim Entertainment combined with SM Entertainment via SM C&C. Yet, by 2016, these top Kpop entertainment companies chose to part ways. Woollim Entertainment now operates independently.
Woollim Entertainment initiated a “With Woollim” project where all its artists collaborated on a song titled “Relay” as a gift for their global fans.
Some prominent artists under Woollim Entertainment include INFINITE, Golden Child, Rocket Punch, Drippin, Kwon Eun-bi, and more.
10. Pledis Entertainment
Pledis Entertainment, one of the top Kpop entertainment companies, enjoyed significant success with their girl group, After School. However, some label them a one-hit-wonder due to their limited recent hits since “Because of You,” After School remains popular in China and Japan. Pledis also boasts thriving boy groups like SEVENTEEN and NU’EST, with SEVENTEEN featuring prominent male Chinese Kpop talents.
In the 2019-2020 period, HYBE acquired Pledis Entertainment. While Pledis will maintain its independent operations, HYBE aims to amplify the reach of Pledis artists internationally through its extensive global networks and advanced platforms. Consequently, the two Kpop entertainment giants will operate as separate entities.
Artists in PLEDIS Entertainment include NU’EST, SEVENTEEN, Orange Caramel, Raina, After School, and more.
Rank 11-20 Kpop Entertainment Companies in 2023
11. DSP Media (a subsidiary of RBW Entertainment)
Artists: KARD, Rainbow, April, Oh Jong-hyuk, Mirae, and Heo Young-ji
12. Fantagio Music
Artists: ASTRO, Weki Meki, Hello Venus, and 5urpise.
13. KQ Entertainment
Artists: ATEEZ, Heo Young Saeng, Block B.
14. BrandNew Music
Artists: AB6IX, BDC, Eluphant, Miss $, YOUNITE, and more.
15. Jellyfish Entertainment
Artists: Jang Hye-jin, VIXX, Verivery, and formerly Gugudan, Park Yoon-ha.
16. RBW (Rainbow Bridge World)
Artists: Mamamoo, KARA, B1A4, Oh My Girl, KARD, ONF, Oneus, Onewe, Purple Kiss and the soloist Chaeyeon.
17. C9 Entertainment
Artists: Good Day, CIX, Cignature, Younha, Cheetah, Juniel, Doko, Bae Jin-young, and Lee Seok-hoon.
18. MLD Entertainment
Artists: Momoland, TFN, JT&Marcus, CocaNButter, Narin, Lapillus, Hori7on.
19. WM Entertainment
Artists: B1A4, OH MY GIRL, ONF.
20. Top Media Entertainment
Artists: TEEN TOP, UP10TION, MCND.
Stay tuned for more news and updates about Korean entertainment. Don’t forget to follow Kpoppost on Threads, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram channel.
More Korean entertainment news: