Top 20 K-Pop Entertainment Companies – Best of 2020

The Top 20 K-Pop Entertainment Companies for 2020

K-pop is still bigger than ever. It is growing every day not just in Asia but all around the world. Furthermore, K-pop Entertainment companies are reporting all-time high profits and pop groups are getting global exposure. In 2019, BTS performed on SNL which made them the first Korean musical performer on the show. Therefore, Korea’s main asset still continues to be K-Pop as K-Pop Entertainment companies continue to find new talent. Most of these K-Pop companies/agencies are looking to expand outside of Korea and into other Asian markets as well as the United States. Some of the richest K-pop Idols started out as fans before pursuing their dream. People all over the world want K-Pop more than ever.  

K-pop is a blend of electronic, hip-hop, pop, rock, R&B, and even rap. Currently, K-pop is a $5 billion global industry. For those that are looking to find the latest news regarding K-Pop, here is our list of the top 10 K-Pop News Sites. For those looking to become a K-pop star or looking for some tips for K-pop auditions please check out our article here.  

The Battle for the Top Spot

Most of the Korean Entertainment companies are listed on KOSDAQ (SM EntertainmentYG EntertainmentJYP EntertainmentFNC Entertainment, and CUBE Entertainment). Both SM and YG Entertainment have been the two most dominant over the last decade since the emergence of Bit Hit. However, with all the K-pop scandals that YG faced in 2018, JYP and SM are now battling it out for the second spot. For this ranking we at Seoulz took into account four factors:

  • Talent roster
  • Market Capitalization
  • Future Potential
  • Social Media

This is our comprehensive list of the Best K-Pop Entertainment Companies in 2020

1.Big Hit Entertainment

Big Hit Entertainment

The success of Big Hit Entertainment is because of ONE group and one group only…BTS. In addition, BTS has been having one of the most successful runs of all time. Big Hit was just a small company and in 2007 they were on the brink of bankruptcy. But with BTS they were able to create one of the biggest boy groups of all time. BTS is a 7 member boy band and they have already sold millions of albums and their YouTube videos are some of the most-watched videos on Youtube. BTS was not an overnight sensation. They debuted in 2013. Therefore they have worked hard and finally broke out globally in 2019.

BTS stands for Bangtan Sonyeondan which translates to Bulletproof Boy Scouts. Now BTS stands for Beyond the Scene.

A Huge Boom to the Korean Economy

It is estimated that BTS added $3.8 billion to the Korean economy so far. The band could generate $40 billion over the next decade for the South Korean economy.

They first came to the US in 2014. The group was living in LA and learning about western culture. They even played at LA K-Con. They have since collaborated with Nicki Minaj, Halsey, and Ed Sheeran.  In 2017 won billboard award for top social artists. Beating Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. In 2018 BTS partnered with UNICEF, Converse, Coca Cola, Puma, and Hyundai. Their stadium shows around the world quickly sold out. In 2019 they performed at Soldier Field and Metlife Stadium generating over $30 million in ticket sales.  

Their Love Yourself/Face Yourself Tour has generated over $100 million.

Top Social Media K-Pop Group

They are very connected to their loyal fans who are called Army. BTS used social media to make themselves available and visible. The Band had full control of their social media. They were able to show their fans what was going on backstage. BTS has only one band account. One account per platform. For example, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter.  Big Hit Entertainment has over 31 million subscribers on YouTube which goes to show their potential market cap once they have their IPO. Therefore, once they do they will crush all competition. This is why Bit Hit Entertainment is #1 in our rankings.

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.” Said CEO of Big Hit Entertainment Bang Si-Hyuk

Netmarble Holds 26% of Big Hit Entertainment 

Netmarble, one of the biggest gaming companies in Korea bought 26% of Big Hit Entertainment back in 2018. The partnership was created to develop mobile games based on BTS. This year they released BTS World, which allows gamers to take on the role of BTS’s band manager. The game has already brought in over $3 million since its launch. Furthermore, Bit Hit Entertainment acquired Source Music a Korean agency that represents Gfriend and Korean music gaming startup Superb. This will further Big Hit Entertainment’s foray into the gaming industry. The acquisition will allow Big Hit Entertainment to create mobile games based on their bands.  

BTS will be on an extended break + military service

BTS will be on an extended break to rest and relax. Big Hit Entertainment has not stated how long the break will last. This should give BTS time to recharge. The members already extended their contracts with Big Hit Entertainment for another 7 years. However, BTS will have to do their mandatory military service. In Korea, there are no exceptions for pop stars, only gold medal-winning Olympians.  

Big Hit Entertainment’s Vision for 2020

Co-CEO of Big Hit Entertainment Yoon Seok-jun has big plans for Big Hit Entertainment in 2020. They will focus on three visions. 

  1. Revolutionizing the customer experience for fans 
  2. Innovating a new platform-driven experience 
  3. Creating a value chain of business with their IP. 

Their focus for 2020 will be to create a new concert-going experience for their fans. It is getting more and more difficult to go to a BTS concert. Technology will allow for a more pleasant experience for their fans. For example, fans will be able to buy merchandise online instead of waiting in line for hours outdoors. Concerts will bring in food trucks and other food vendors so fans won’t have to bring their own food. In addition, Big Hit will start a lucky draw system for selling their concert tickets. Furthermore, Big Hit Entertainment will look to launch novels, animated series, comic books, movies, mobile games, Kpop merchandise, and a Korean TV drama in 2020. Lastly, keep an eye on TXT, as they are poised to break out big in 2020 as well.

Big Hit Entertainment Acquires Pledis Entertainment! 

This was the biggest news to hit 2020 so far. Big Hit Entertainment acquired Pledis Entertainment who has Kpop groups SEVENTEEN and NU’EST just to name a few. Pledis Entertainment will maintain its independence. They will be a subsidiary of Big Hit Entertainment moving forward.

Big Hit Entertainment Investing in Tech

Big Hit Entertainment founded beNX, an online platform developer and beOrigin, a content publisher to expand its business. In 2019, they also acquired entertainment agency Source Music and game developer Superb. 

beNX launched two apps called Weverse and Weply. Weverse is a community app that offers fans to interact with each other from around the world. Weply is an e-commerce app, the app lets fans buy merchandise and tickets from their smartphone. 

Big Hit Entertainment to go public by the end of 2020

Big Hit Entertainment Co., has filed for an initial public offering in Seoul. The filing will be reviewed over the next month and a half and then they can pursue the offering within a six-month timeframe. They hope to be listed on KOSPI by the end of 2020.


Estimated Market Cap:  $1.8 Billion

YouTube Subscribers:  31.8 Million

Facebook Followers:  9.7 Million 

Twitter Followers:  12.5 Million

Instagram Followers:  22.1 Million

2.  JYP Entertainment

JYP Entertainment

JYP was founded in 1997 by J.Y. Park. The company has been known for making the careers of K-pop legends such as Wonder Girls, Rain, and Miss A just to name a few. Their YouTube channel has over 12 million subscribers. Their current hottest group TWICE has over 3.5 million followers on Twitter and Instagram combined. While the company has focused a lot on China, JYP focused a lot on Japan. TWICE broke all the records for K-pop girl groups in Japan. The loss of Suzy will hurt JYP, but what JYP does best is to find talent from all around the world.

GOT7 has been holding it down on the male group side. Each member is unique. While each has been doing their own thing, they still support one another. Their comebacks have been huge successes. They might be one of the most underrated male groups of all time.

JYP holds auditions all across Asia. JYP was not affected by the K-Pop sex scandal. Pay attention to ITZY and Stray Kids in 2020 and each is expected to have monster years.

We’ve developed a system. Companies like ours have an academy, a sort of training system, to find young, talented kids and pull out the best in them. It started off organic, but we systematized it.” Said the Founder of JYP Entertainment, J.Y. Park.

Entering the Japanese Market

TWICE and GOT7 will continue to focus on Japan as both are gaining a lot of popularity there. But the company will look to support their 2019 projects Mix Nine and Stray Kids. They recently formed a partnership with The Orchard in hopes of expanding their reach outside of Korea. The Orchard is a part of Sony Music Entertainment. They are in charge of global digital and physical distribution. This will help JYP enter the U.S. and European markets in 2019. 

Partnership with Sony Music Entertainment’s The Orchard 

JYP Entertainment partnered with The Orchard in 2019. They will work together for global digital and physical distribution. In addition, JYP Entertainment will be able to release their content to the US, UK, and more through The Orchard. 

JYP Global Audition Project – Nizi Project

JYP Entertainment has a successful global audition project called Nizi Project which can be seen on YouTube and Hulu every Friday. The program shows a behind-the-scenes look into how JYP Entertainment finds new K-pop talent from around the world. Each episode will air every Friday night at 7 p.m. on YouTube. The final group will debut in Japan at the end of the show. 

Artists:  2PM, TWICE, GOT7, DAY6, 15&, Stray Kids, JJ Project, Jus2, 3Racha, ITZY, J.Y. Park, and Yubin.  

Estimated Market Cap:  $ 1 Billion

YouTube Subscribers:  14.7 Million

Facebook Followers:  2.4 Million

Twitter Followers:  3.9 Million

Instagram Followers:  3.6 Million

3.  SM Entertainment

SM Entertainment

They are now battling JYP for the 2nd spot. The company has focused a lot on the Chinese market in 2019. They will look to continue that in 2020. After getting investments from Alibaba and now Tencent, their popularity grew even more in China. If you check out their youtube channel they have over 21 million subscribers. Data shows that over 90% of the subscribers are not Korea. In addition, a vast majority are from China. Their strategic partnership with Tencent Music Entertainment will help SM Entertainment’s distribution and marketing in the Chinese music market. SM even has a Chinese boy band called WayV.

Breaking into the Chinese Market

China is one of the leaders in the music streaming space. Tencent Music Entertainment has close to 900 million monthly users across four of the top music service platforms in China. To put that into context, Spotify has just under 200 million monthly active users. Through the partnership, Tencent Music Entertainment will have access to SM’s entire music catalog.

SM’s music and video platform sales have grown close to 50% from last year. SM’s yearly YouTube views have reached just under 8 billion by the end of 2018. Their top female K-pop group at the moment is Red Velvet which is doing their first solo tour in the United States. Their top male K-pop group is still EXO and the second Super Junior is doing a tour around South America.

SM is planning to create an American version of Girl’s Generation as well as a European version of NCT.  

Corporate Restructuring at SM Entertainment 

SM did a major corporate restructuring due to pressure from shareholders. SM Entertainment had been acting more like a tech company rather than a music company. They have many subsidiary companies that create apps that help bridge communication between fans and artists. Their focus now will be on culture creation, culture expansion, and culture exportation. Therefore they will partner with their artists so their branding can be utilized in many different types of business not just music. SM Entertainment has already started to acquire modeling agencies and sports agencies to expand SM’s presence.  

SM Entertainment Partners with Creative Artists Agency

US-based Creative Artists Agency (CAA) located in Los Angeles has partnered with SM Entertainment. CAA is considered one of the biggest sports and entertainment agencies in the world. They represent superstar artists such as Beyonce and Ariana Grande. The two companies will work together to showcase SM’s Kpop Groups to the US market. They will work together on TV production, performances, and advertising. The two groups SM will push in 2020 will be NCT 127 and SuperM who both had great finishes to the 2019 calendar year. 

“We believe that SuperM and NCT 127 will expand further to the global market together with CAA,” said Founder of SM Entertainment, Lee Soo-man. 

SM Entertainment Global Auditions

Those looking to audition for SM Entertainment can do so online. The application will need to be accompanied by a dance video, a singing audio clip, as well as side/front face profile pictures. They are looking for talent aged from 10-20 from all backgrounds, races, nationalities, and gender. The shift to online auditions has occurred due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Will physical auditions come back? We will have to wait and see. 

Artists: S.E.S., TVXQ, Girl’s Generation, Super Junior, Shinee, f(x), EXO, Red Velvet, NCT, BoA, Kangta, J-Min, Sunday, Taemin, Dana, Amber, Taeyeon, Luna, Victoria, Lay, Yoona, Yuri, Key, Onew, Chen, U-Know, Sulli, Baekyun.

Estimated Market Cap:  $950 Million

YouTube Subscribers:  21.3 Million

Facebook Followers:  5.7 Million

Twitter Followers;  8.1 Million

Instagram Followers:  8.5 Million

4.  YG Entertainment

YG Entertainment

What a terrible year for YG Entertainment. They were hit with the biggest sex scandal to ever hit Korea. We will get to that a little later. The K-pop entertainment companies have all suffered due to the scandal of Seungri, Jung Joon-young, and Choi Joon-hoon.  

YG Entertainment was an unstoppable force in the Kpop Industry in the past. LVMH invested $80 into YG Entertainment and China’s social media giant Tencent and its related online ticketing company Weiying Technology agreed to invest $85 million into YG Entertainment in 2016. Weiying owns 8.2% of YG and Tencent owns 4.5%. They also got a huge partnership/investment from Naver, South Korea’s largest internet portal for around $90 million (9% equity stake).

Their current top group is BlackPink who did a world tour in 2019. They have also partnered with Universal Music Group’s representative label, Interscope. 

The Seungri Scandal (Burning Sun Scandal)

However, the key to YG will be the comeback of Big Bang after most have now finished their military service. But is that possible with the Seungri scandal? Investors have already started to sell their shares of YG Entertainment and by the end of 2019, it is possible that Big Hit Entertainment will surpass them. Seungri is facing jail time after allegations of drug use and sexual assaults that happened under his watch at the nightclub Burning Sun. He has posted on Instagram that he is quitting show business and denied he played any part in what is alleged. 

YG Entertainment has a major PR problem they need to deal with. Big Bang is a major part of YG’s success. If they fail so will the company. They alone account for 40% of the companies total sales. B.I. of iKON was also involved in a drug scandal. Both B.I. and Seungri has since left their groups and have disappeared from public life.  

YG Founder Yang Hyun-suk steps down

Yang Hyun-suk the founder of YG Entertainment stepped down due to the many sex and drug scandals at YG. He is also being looked into allegations he provided sex services for foreign investors back in 2016. Furthermore, an investigation is being conducted into allegations of illegal gambling by Yang Hyun-suk. Hwang Bo Kyung took over as CEO of SM Entertainment. She will play a big role in righting the ship at SM.

“I feel heavy responsibility and a sense of duty during this difficult time. I will straighten out the basics in order for YG Entertainment to take a step forward.” Said CEO of SM Entertainment, Hwang Bo Kyung.

Their strategy for 2020 will probably be to focus on BLACKPINK’s comeback. However, BLACKPINK cannot replace Big Bang. This should be an interesting year.

Can BLACKPINK Carry YG Entertainment in 2020? 

Has BLACKPINK reached its peak potential? YG seems to be pushing for each to have their own successful solo careers. BLACKPINK’s comeback will happen in June. Jennie’s solo debut was a huge success in 2019. BLACKPINK broke out in the US in 2019 setting records for reaching 1 billion views on YouTube and Spotify. They also participated in Coachella. The question is how YG will utilize BLACKPINK in 2020…as a group or as solos. The good news is that Winner will release their third album in 2020 and is expected to do very well. In addition, boy band Treasure will make their highly anticipated debut in July right after the comeback of BLACKPINK.

Artists:  Jinusean, Sechs Kies, Big Bang, Akdong Musician, Winner, iKon, BLACKPINK, Treasure, Hi Suhyun, MOBB, Treasure, Magnum, Eun Ji-won, G-Dragon, T.O.P., Taeyang, D-Lite, CL, Dara, Lee Hi, Yoon, Mino, Jinu, Bobby, and Jennie.

Estimated Market Cap:  $500 Million

YouTube Subscribers:  5.0 Million 

Facebook Followers:  3.7 Million

Twitter Followers:  5.7 Million

Instagram Followers:  694,000

5. Stone Music Entertainment 

IZ ONEStone Music Entertainment is a privately-held company under CJ ENM. It is one of the biggest co-publisher companies in South Korea. They are not just a record label, but also a talent agency and music production company. They established their own exclusive label Off The Record Entertainment to manage the winners of the popular Korean singing program Produce 48. The winner IZ*ONE and the winner of Idol School were Fromis 9. They also established an exclusive label LM Entertainment, Swing Entertainment, MMO Entertainment, and Studio Blu.

“Though many say Korea does not have many natural resources, I believe our resources lie in the human talent that exists in the country,” said CEO of Stone Music Entertainment Jung Chang Hwan.

Big Years from IZ*ONE, and Fromis_9

IZ*ONE had a huge 2019, especially in Japan. They had their Japanese debut at the Tokyo Dome City Hall. Their music video of Suki to Iwasetai got over 5 million views on YouTube in less than a week. Their two concerts at Jamsil Indoor Stadium all sold out. Fromis_9 released their first single album called Fun Factory and in 2019 that album reached #2 on Gaon Album Chart. 

Artists: Off the Record Entertainment (IZ*ONE and Fromis_9), MMO Entertainment (Kim Feel, IN2IT, and Son Ho-young), LM Entertainment (Yoon Ji-sung), Studio Blu (Heize, DAVII, $ammy, Truedy, and Mia), Swing Entertainment (X1 and Kim Jae-hwan)

Estimated Market Cap: $300 Million

Youtube Subscribers: 7.7 million 

Facebook Followers: 557,000

Twitter Followers: 98,600

Instagram Followers: 33,700

6.  FNC Entertainment

FNC Entertainment

For FNC Entertainment 2018 was terrible. 2017 was better. 2018 brought a lot of scandals with F.T. Island and AOA.  The company itself seems to lack leadership and it seems to have a lot of corruption and is one of the low trending K-pop entertainment companies.

In 2017 things ran much smoother. FNC started to focus more on dance. FNC has been known for cool/hipe bands like CNBLUE, SF9, and AOA who have all transitioned into more of a dance group.

In 2018, the CEO of FNC Entertainment Han Sung Ho stepped down to focus on talent management as their executive producer. FNC Entertainment is currently being run by co-CEOs Ahn Suk Joon and Han Seung Soon.

We believe that there will be a positive synergy between Ahn Suk Joon, who has been recognized for his business acumen in the industry and Han Seung Hoon, who has worked as a producer for a long time and has a high understanding of the entertainment industry.” Stated FNC Entertainment. 

TV vs Music

However, the biggest star for FNC Entertainment is not even a K-Pop star but the famous Yoo Jae Suk who they signed in 2017. That signing alone rose FNC’s stock prices by 30% raising the company’s value to close to $300 million. Therefore FNC relies more on their T.V. talent than singers. This might be a good strategy moving forward as they will not be able to compete with the Big 3 and for sure not Big Hit.

Veteran actors Lee Dong Gun will continue to help FNC as they look to split their talent base down the middle. SF9 is who FNC will focus the most on in 2019. They are looking to push them in Japan as well as Latin America. Their new female group Cherry Bullet will also debut in 2019. CNBLUE’s Jung Yong-hwa will leave the military in November of 2019 so a late CNBLUE comeback could be in the works.  

The Rise of Actor Jung Hae-in

Korean actor Jung Hae-in is the biggest rising star for FNC Entertainment. He was on the hit Korean drama “Something in the Rain”. He has the potential to add up to $20 million per year for FNC.  

Artists:  CNBLUE, FT Island, N. Flying, AOA, InnoVator, SF9, and Cherry Bullet.

Estimated Market Cap:  $120 million

YouTube Subscribers:  668,000

Facebook Followers:  659,000

Twitter Followers:  479,900 

Instagram Followers:  21,100

7.  Cube Entertainment

Cube Entertainment

Cube Entertainment has found great success with their new group PENTAGON. PENTAGON looked to take the place of B2ST who left Cube Entertainment. This was an attempt to revive Cube Entertainment who has not had a great 2016 and has seen their stocks suffer continual losses even into 2017-2018. Cube’s success depends on the continued success of BTOB (top digital sales 2018), the rise of PENTAGON, CLC‘s debut, and (G)IDLE taking that next step.

With the loss of 4 Minute and B2ST, it was crucial for PENTAGON and CLC to pick up the slack which they were unable to do. Losing BEAST was a crushing blow to Cube Entertainment. Add that to their failure to sign SISTAR and resign 4 Minute and many are wondering if Cube Entertainment can ever recover.

Many questioned whether Cube Entertainment can take girl groups to the next level. It was not wise to launch HyunA‘s solo career so closely with 4 Minutes debut. As all the attention went to HyunA, 4 Minute just got left behind.  HyunA eventually ended up leaving Cube Entertainment after admitting to a relationship with Dawn a former member of PENTAGON.

In fact, looking back on Cube Entertainment’s history you can say their only A list hit was BEAST. Maybe they should think about restructuring their business model in regards to managing their artists.

United Cube ONE Concert

Their 2019 United Cube ONE Concert was a huge hit as it offered their fans a mobile view of the concert on the CUBE TV Hangtime app. The concert had over 30 Cube artists and it allowed fans who couldn’t make the sold-out concert a chance to view the concert from a variety of cameras. This multi-view experience could set the standard for live video production for mobile devices. In addition, the CUBE TV Hangtime app can be downloaded for users to watch live and archived content anytime and anywhere from their mobile phones.

Will Cube Entertainment get Sold in 2020? 

D’Live the owners of Cube Entertainment are in talks to sell Cube Entertainment to Kakao. It is estimated that Cube Entertainment is heavily in debt even they have shown improved earning in both 2018 and 2019. This is mainly due to the success of (G)IDLE and BTOB. Furthermore, the Cube Entertainment founder resigned after ownership disputes. Korean cosmetics and media commerce firm VT GMP became Cube Entertainment’s largest shareholder by acquiring a 30% stake in the agency for $23.8 million. 

Artists:  BTOB, CLC, Pentagon, (G)IDLE, A Train to Autumn, Jo Kwon, Jang Hyun-seung, and Yoo Seon-ho

Estimated Market Cap:  $100 Million

YouTube Subscribers:  2.2 Million

Facebook Followers:  608,000

Twitter Followers:  1 Million

Instagram Followers:  293,000

8.  Starship Entertainment

Starship Entertainment

FAVE  Entertainment was formerly known as LOEN Entertainment and their subsidiary Starship Entertainment has had much success with their 12-member girl group Cosmic Girls and of course IU who is one of the biggest stars in Korea at the moment.

IU is not only a musician but also a very successful actress. She is the driving force behind FAVE entertainment. Starship’s focus for 2019 will be to continue to look into the Chinese market and Cosmic Girls which consists of both Koreans and Chinese members is their best chance for it.  With SISTAR resigned and onboard, Starship will look to nurture their individual abilities for potential solo careers.

UP and Down year for MONSTA X

Male group MONSTA X partnered with Cosmic Girls to form a new unit called Y TEEN. Y TEEN consists of 7 MONSTA X members and 7 Cosmic Girls members for a total of 14 members. This is Starship’s plan to appeal more to young girls. MONSTA X was Starship’s top group in 2019 even with the termination of Wonho from his contract due to drug allegations. Comeback group WJSN will continue to push their comeback album as well as continue acting. Boyfriend, solo artists K.Will, Soyou, and Jeong Sewoon will perform in various ways such as broadcasting. They come in at 8 on our list of the top K-pop entertainment companies.  

Starship Entertainment’s New Boy Band Cravity 

Cravity will be the first boy band to debut under Starship Entertainment since Monsta X back in 2015. They will be a nine-member boy group. Their debut single “Break All the Rules,” has had positive reviews so far. 

Artists:  K.Will, Soyou, Jeong Sewoon, Cravity, MONSTA X, and Cosmic Girls

Estimated Market Cap:  $90 million

YouTube Subscribers:  3.98 Million

Facebook Followers:  770,000 

Twitter Followers:  542,300

Instagram Followers:  407,000

9.  Woollim Entertainment

Woollim Entertainment

Woollim Entertainment merged with SM Entertainment through SM C&C in 2013. However, three years later the two companies officially separated. Woollim Entertainment now is an independent company. Their main artists include INFINITE and Lovelyz. However, INFINITE L announced he will be departing from Woollim Entertainment. Woollim Entertainment decided not to renew this contract. However, INFINITE’s disbandment is not being considered at all. Currently, members are serving in the Korean military.  

What can you expect in 2020? More of Golden Child? The main singer Choi Sung Yoon could be the next big K-Pop star in 2020. When they debut in August of 2017 with “DamDadi” there was a lot of buzz about them because of their youthfulness and high energy.

The big acquisition of Woollim was Takahashi Juri of Japanese idol group AKB48 for the new 6 member girl group Rocket Punch. This could be their long term plan to break into the Japanese market. They are one of the major K-pop entertainment companies that are aggressively looking to enter Japan.    

The Loss INFINITE’s L 

The biggest news for Woollim Entertainment was the loss of L. L left the agency after 10 years to look for new challenges in his life. 

With Wollim Brings Woollim Entertainment Artists Together

A new project called ‘With Woolim” brought together all of the artists under Woollim Entertainment. They joined together and sang “Relay” to reward their fans from all around the world. 

Artists:  INFINITE, Lovelyz, JOO, Golden Child, Rocket Punch, Infinite F, Joo, Kim Sung-kyu, Nam Woo-hyun, Jang-Dong-woo.  

Estimated Market Cap:  $80 Million

YouTube Entertainment:  1.66 Million

Facebook Followers:  524,000

Twitter Followers:  414,500

Instagram Followers:  N/A

10.  Pledis Entertainment

Pledis Entertainment


Pledis Entertainment has had great success with their girl group After School over the past few years. However, many fans see After School as a one-hit-wonder because they have not made a lot of noise ever since “Because of You”. However, still to this day After School has a strong following in China and Japan and still ranks in the mid of Korean song charts. More recently Pledis has found great success with boy groups SEVENTEEN and NU’EST.

Big Hit Entertainment Becomes Major Shareholder of Pledis Entertainment

Thanks to their success in 2019, Big Hit Entertainment has acquired Pledis Entertainment. However, Pledis will continue to run independently. Big Hit will help the artists on Pledis get wider overseas exposure through Big Hit’s global networks and platform technologies. 

“I am thrilled to be joining forces with Big Hit, a company that’s spearheading the Korean entertainment industry. This will mark an opportunity for growth for both the label’s artists and entire staff members. We will do our best to give back the ardent love fans have shown us with quality content and greater success for the artists,” said the Founder of Pledis Entertainment, Han Sung Soo.

Orange Caramel was a success in 2017 but has fizzled out. Pledis’s main group is SEVENTEEN followed by NU’EST. Those groups will be pushed hard in 2019. They both have the potential to have a big global impact. Raina will be focusing a lot on YouTube.

The Pledis YouTube channel has 850,000 subscribers. They have started to upload SEVENTEEN content on the Pledis channel in hopes of raising their subscriber numbers.  

Artists:  NU’EST, SEVENTEEN, Orange Caramel, Raina, Han Dong-geun, Bumzu, Kyulkyung, Yehana, Seungyeon, and After School.

Estimated Market Cap:  $65 million

YouTube Subscribers:  868,000

Facebook Followers:  223,000

Twitter Followers:  554,000

Instagram Followers:  2 Million

11. DSP Media 

KARDSouth Korean Entertainment company DSP Media is one of the oldest Kpop Entertainment companies. It was established in 1991 under the name Daesung Entertainment and it operates a record label, talent agency, music production company, event management, and is a music publishing house. They were known for creating one of the most famous K-pop girl groups of all time in FIN.K.L. During that time DSP was among the level of SM Entertainment. Since then, they have taken a major step back. However, thanks to KARD, they have been able to have a strong 2019. 

Burn Up: Challenge to Billboard

DSP Media will launch a new audition program called “Burn Up: Challenge to Billboard”. It will be a reality show that will star April, KARD, and Heo Young-ji. They will look to find the next K-pop stars. The show will be released on JTBC Studio’s YouTube Channel. JTBC Studios is well-known for producing and distributing popular YouTube content such as “Wassup Man” and “Workman”. The program is now taking online applications. 30 applicants will be selected. 

Artists: KARD, Rainbow, April, Oh Jong-hyuk, and Heo Young-ji

Estimated Market Cap: $60 million

Youtube Subscribers: 285,000

Facebook Followers: 26,000

Twitter Followers: 62,000

Instagram Followers: 45,000

12. Fantagio Music 

Fantagio MusicK-Pop Entertainment company Fantagio Music was originally called NOA Entertainment. They changed their name to Fantagio in 2011. Their parent company is JC Group which also owns Fantagio Pictures, Madin Entertainment, and Solid C&M. Their most successful group is ASTRO which is a 6 member group that had a great 2019. They had a world tour that included countries like the United States, Japan, Thailand, and Canada. Their first full album came out in 2019 called All Light. Keep an eye on Weki Weki for 2020 as well. 

Artists: ASTRO, Weki Weki, Hello Venus, and Diamond

Estimated Market Cap: $50 million

Youtube Subscribers: 478,000

Facebook Followers: 103,000

Twitter Followers: 265,000

Instagram Followers: 352,000

13. KQ Entertainment 

ATEEZKorean Entertainment agency KQ Entertainment also manages two sub-labels Seven Seasons and KQ Produce. They had a success 2019 thanks to the comeback of ATEEZ which is an 8 member boy group. They had success tours all across Europe as well as cities like Moscow, Warsaw, New York, Los Angeles, Thailand, Jakarta, Yokohama, Nagoya, Melbourne, and Sydney. 

“KQ Entertainment will respond flexibly to the rapidly changing domestic and international market conditions and will develop into a global No.1 music content company,” said CEO of KQ Entertainment Kyu-Wook Kim.

Artists: ATEEZ, Heo Young Saeng, and Block B.

Estimated Market Cap: $40 Million

Youtube Subscribers: 759,000

Facebook Followers: 28,000

Twitter Followers: 156,000

Instagram Followers: 94,000

14. BrandNew Music 

ab6ixBrandNew Music is a Kpop Entertainment company that mainly focuses on Hip Hop. It was founded by Korean rapper Rhymer back in 2003 under the name IC Entertainment. They have their own indie sub-label called Korean Roulette. Their first idol group AB6IX who had a great 2019 debut. They had a reality show called BrandNewBoys which showed the 5 member group and behind the scenes footage. 

Artists: AB6IX, As One, BDC,  Eluphant, Miss $, MXM, Bumkey, Kim Yoon-ho, Hanhae, Yang Da-il, Henney, Verbal Jint, Kanto, Tae Wan, KittiB, Rudals, Lee Kang, Rhymer, Lee Kang, MC Gree

Estimated Market Cap: $40 Million 

Youtube Subscribers: 580,000

Facebook Followers: 94,000

Twitter Followers: 198,000

Instagram Followers: 431,000

15. Jellyfish Entertainment 

VIXXK-pop Entertainment company Jellyfish Entertainment was established by composer and producer Hwang Se-jun in 2007. They had a reality show called MyDOL which was able to form the popular boy group VIXX. Look for VIXX to have a huge 2020 and could end up contending for the best K-pop boy group for 2020. This could potentially move Jellyfish Entertainment into the top 10. 

Artists: VIXX, Gugudan, Verivery, Park Yoon-ha, Jang Hye-jin, Kim Se-jeong, Leo, and Hyuk.

Estimated Market Cap: $35 Million

Youtube Entertainment: 174,000

Facebook Followers: 86,000

Twitter Followers: 245,000

Instagram Followers: 174,000

16. RBW (Rainbow Bridge World)

MamamooRBW is one of the fastest rising Kpop Entertainment Companies around. Much of that has to do with the success of Mamamoo. They came out in 2014 and was considered to be one of the most successful debuts of all time. Critics loved their R&B/Jazz style. Their 4 Seasons $ Colors project has been a huge hit. In addition, they released their second full album called Reality in Black late in 2019 which has really taken off. Mamamoo is by far one of the hottest Kpop female groups out there. Don’t be surprised if they end up surpassing BLACKPINK at some point in 2020 and beyond. 

Artists: Mamaoo, Vromance, Oneus, Onewe, Solar, Wheein, Moonbyul, Jin-Ju, Hwasa

Estimated Market Cap: $35 Million

Youtube Subscribers: 57,000

Facebook Followers: 23,000

Twitter Followers: 31,000

Instagram Followers: 72,000

17. C9 Entertainment

CIXKpop Entertainment agency C9 Entertainment operates as a talent agency, record label, and music production company. C9 Entertainment created a new label, J9 Entertainment which focuses on girl groups. Their most popular group is Good Day which is a 10 member girl group. They became very popular in Korea thanks to the reality show Good Day 2 U which aired on Naver V Live. Later on, they made another reality show called The Unit which had 6 members of Good Day. However, their recent success is due to a 5 member boy group called CIX. Their reality show Hello CIX was a huge hit on V Live. CIX recently signed with Warner Music Japan for their Japanese debut. 

Artists: Good Day, CIX, Cignature, Younha, Cheetah, Juniel, Doko, Bae Jin-young, and Lee Seok-hoon.

Estimated Market Cap: $35 Million

Youtube Entertainment: 165,000

Facebook Followers: 26,000

Twitter Followers: 148,000

Instagram Followers: 344,000

18. MLD Entertainment 

MomolandMLD Entertainment is a Kpop Entertainment company formerly known as Duble Kick Entertainment. They formed Momoland through the reality show Finding Momoland. They are a 7 member girl group that has really taken off since 2016. In 2019, Momoland became the first girl group to earn Platinum certification by Gaon Music Chart for their song Bboom Bboom. MLD Entertainment signed a co-management agreement with the Philippine media corporation ABS-CBN. 

Artists: Momoland

Estimated Market Cap: $30 Million

Youtube Subscribers: 1.11 million

Facebook Followers: 20,000

Twitter Followers: 33,000

Instagram Followers: 56,000

19. WM Entertainment

ONFWM Entertainment is a Kpop Entertainment Company that created B1A4, ONF, and Oh My Girl. ONF is their most popular group. They are a 6 member boy group that recently released their 4th EP called Go Live. They had a successful 2019 Asia Tour where they performed in Hong Kong and Taipei. 

Artists: B1A4, Oh My Girl, ONF, Sandeul, and Oh My Girl Banhana

Estimated Market Cap: $30 Million

Youtube Subscribers: 110,000

Facebook Followers: 18,000

Twitter Followers: 191,000

Instagram Followers: 30,000

20.  Top Media Entertainment

Top Media Entertainment

TOP Media is a South Korean company. They were founded by Shinhwa member Andy. He was in charge of handling the management of several artists. They usually work with LOEN Entertainment as the distributor of musical releases. They are considered one of the top up-and-coming K-pop Entertainment companies in Korea at the moment.

TOP Media’s biggest success in 2019 was TEEN TOP and UP10TION.  TEEN TOP is a group of five members: C.A.P, Chunji, Niel, Ricky, and Changjo. Originally they were a six-member group (with L.Joe, filing for contract termination in February 2017), Teen Top debuted with their first single album “Come into the World” way back in 2010. They are still going strong and look to take that momentum into 2020. However, TOP Media’s highest potential is with UP10TION. A 10 member boy group that has already over 250,000 followers on Instagram. 

Artists:  TEEN TOP, 100%, UP10TION, Andy, and Eric

Estimated Market Cap: $30 million

YouTube Subscribers:  127,000

Facebook Followers:  78,000

Twitter Followers:  143,000

Instagram Followers:  27,500


John is the Founder of Seoulz. He has covered the startup, tech & blockchain scene for over 7 years and has written over 700 articles regarding the Korean startup ecosystem. John is also a Web Developer and certified AWS Solutions Architect. Email him at

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