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10 K-Pop Idols Who Left Their Company But Continued Promoting With Their Group

GOT7 impressed fans with their dedication to their group and their fans, ahgases, when they made their comeback this year despite leaving JYP Entertainment in January of 2021.

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(From left to right) GOT7’s Jinyoung, Mark, Jay B, Youngjae, BamBam, Jackson, and Yugyeom | @GOT7/Twitter

To be able to gather again as seven members with the rights to their songs, group name, and stage names was no easy feat. GOT7 made history earlier this year when all seven members officially became the legal owners of the full trademark rights to the group.

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GOT7 members at their fanmeeting in 2022 | @GOT7/Twitter

GOT7’s achievement brought other groups to light who have had a member, or the full group, leave their original company yet were able to continue promoting together. Here are ten groups who continue to show their group and fans love by continuing promotions after company changes.

1. 2AM

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(From left to right) 2AM’s Seulong, Changmin, Jokwon, and Jinwoon | Pinterest

2AM debuted through the survival program Hot Blood Men. Initially, the program winners formed an eleven-member group called One Day under JYP Entertainment. Before their official debut, One Day was split into two groups, 2AM and 2PM.

2AM continued on as four members, JinwoonJokwonSeulong, and Changmin, who primarily focused on ballads. The group was active from 2008 until 2015, when Seulong, Jinwoon, and Changmin left JYP Entertainment. Jo Kwon also left JYP Entertainment in 2017. They entered a hiatus but reassured fans that they were still able to promote as 2AM despite being under their new companies. The group ended their hiatus after releasing their fourth mini-album, Ballad 21 F/W in 2021.

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Most recently, the group held a concert this year on June 11 and 12.

2. Shinhwa

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| Shincom Company

Massively successful first-generation group Shinhwa debuted under SM Entertainment in 1998 before joining Good Entertainment in 2004, where they gained more creative freedom of their music.

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In 2007, the members all created their own entertainment companies. They pursued solo careers before the group started their own management company in 2011 for group activities, Shinhwa Company, of which leader Eric is the CEO.

The group celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018, with events scheduled throughout the year to commemorate. 

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Shinhwa in 2018 | @shinhwa_official/Instagram

3. Highlight (formerly known as BEAST)

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(From left to right) BEAST’s Doojoon, Dongwoon, Yoseob, Kikwang, and former members Hyunseung and Junhyung

Highlight originally debuted under CUBE Entertainment in 2009 as BEAST (also stylized as B2ST). The group remained active with CUBE Entertainment 2016 when they formed their own label, Around Us Enertainment, and parted ways with their long-time company and former member Hyunseung.

CUBE Entertainment owned the trademarks to BEAST’s name, so the group moved forward under the new name, Highlight. Junjyung departed from the group in 2019 and the group continued forward as four members.

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Highlight members in 2022 | @highlight_auent/Instagram

The group released their first full album as Highlight on March 21, 2022.

4. Brown Eyed Girls’ Narsha

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(From left to right) Brown Eyed Girls’ JeA, Gain, Miryo, and Narsha in 2009

Brown Eyed Girls debuted under Nega Network in 2006 with four members. The group stayed with their company until 2015 when the members all signed with Mystic Entertainment.

In 2018, member Narsha left the company, but clarified she would continue to promote with Brown Eyed Girls outside of her solo activities.

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The full group made a comeback in 2019 when they released a cover album called RE_vive.

5. APink’s Naeun

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(From left to right) APink’s Yookyung, Eunji, Bomi, Naeun, Chorong, Hayoung and Namjoo members in 2011

Apink debuted under IST Entertainment (formerly A Cube Entertainment and Play M Entertainment) in 2011 as a seven member group. In 2013, member Yookyung left the group, and the remaining six members continued to actively promote together.

Apink has remained under their same company since their debut, but in 2021, their company announced Naeun had parted ways with IST Entertainment. Despite joining YG Entertainment as an actress, Naeun continued promotions with Apink before leaving the group in April of this year.

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Apink members in 2022

6. MAMAMOO’s Wheein

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(From left to right) MAMAMOO’s Moonbyul, Solar, Wheein, and Hwasa | @RBW_MAMAMOO/Twitter

MAMAMOO debuted under RBW (formerly named WA Entertainment) in 2014. The members have remained together and recently, Hwasa, Solar, and Moonbyul renewed their contracts with the company.

It was announced in June 2021 that Wheein chose to not renew her contract, but signed an extension to continue promoting with MAMAMOO until 2023.

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| @RBW_MAMAMOO/Twitter

7. Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany, Seohyun, and Sooyoung

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(From left to right): Girls’ Generation’s Hyoyeon, Seohyun, Yoona, Sooyoung, Yuri, Sunny (lower), Taeyeon, Jessica (former member), and Tiffany

Girls’ Generation debuted under SM Entertainment in 2007 as a nine member girl group until 2014 when Jessica left the group.

Girls’ Generation continued as eight members until 2017 when SeohyunTiffany, and Sooyoung left SM Entertainment and the group went on hiatus. All eight members will return for the group’s upcoming album release in August to commemorate their 15th anniversary.

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8. 2PM’s Taecyeon

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(From left to right) 2PM’s Taecyeon, Nichkhun, Wooyoung, Junho, Jun.K, and Chansung

2PM debuted under JYP Entertainment in 2008. The group originally debuted with seven members, but continued forward with six when Jay Park left in 2009.

They remained active as a group until 2017 when 2PM went on hiatus to fulfill their mandatory military service requirements. In 2018, six of the members renewed their contracts with JYP Entertainment. Taecyeon signed with 51K, but assured fans he would continue promoting with 2PM.

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2PM in May 2022 | @real_2pmstagram/Instagram

2PM released their seventh album Must in 2021 and recently celebrated their 5,000th day as a group.

9. BIGBANG’s T.O.P

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(From left to right) BIGBANG’s Taeyang, G-Dragon, T.O.P, and Daesung at the MTV EMA awards in 2011

BIGBANG debuted under YG Entertainment in 2006. Originally five members, member Seungri retired from the entertainment industry in 2019.

BIGBANG remained active until 2018 when they released their song “Flower Road.” In February of this year, it was announced that T.O.P ended his contract with YG Entertainment, but would still participate in the group’s comeback along with G-Dragon, Taeyang, and Daesung.

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“Still Life” cover | YG Entertainment

BIGBANG released their song “Still Life” in April of this year.

10. 2NE1

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(From left to right) 2NE1’s Park Bom, Dara, CL, and Minzy in 2009 | YG Entertainment

2NE1 debuted under YG Entertainment in 2009 as a four member group. The group was active until 2015 when the members began to focus on solo promotions. During their hiatus, it was announced that Minzy had left the group in 2016, and later that same year, YG Entertainment announced that 2NE1 disbanded.

In 2016, Bom was released from her contract and joined D-Nation Entertainment. CL left the company in 2019, and Dara left in May 2021.

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2NE1 at Coachella in 2022 | @chaelincl/Instagram

Although the group has not continued promoting since joining separate companies, the members continue to show each other love. CL honored the group by inviting her fellow members to perform with her at Coachella this year, marking the first time they’ve performed together as four since their 2015 MAMAs performance.

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