Welcome to the exciting world of corporate restructuring!


You probably haven’t noticed, but since the end of May Seven Season’s calendar page (which has never been stellar) has looked like this:

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And the Web site itself hasn’t been updated in a really long time.

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Yup, the “New Videos” are from Very Good.

Something very new has happened, though: KQ Entertainment now has a Web site. (And now they’ve changed the logo and address on Seven Seasons’ Facebook page.) At the moment the site contains a message from CEO Kim Kyu Wook basically saying that they’re going to be more open with the structure that already exists: KQ Entertainment will be the parent company, and Seven Seasons and KQ Produce will be its subsidiaries. Seven Seasons will continue to run Block B exclusively; KQ Produce will run other acts (at the moment just Babylon, but that will probably change). ETA: Block B International has a translation up here–it’s technically a name change, but Seven Seasons will still exist as a subsidiary. Block B United has a chart, if you are more visual.

The only real issue that I can see is that I’m going to have to update the BlockB.com Links page, because the Seven Seasons’ Web site will be subsumed into the KQ Entertainment one. I’m not too torn up about it, in part because I’m hoping they’ll actually, you know, update the damned thing on some kind of regular basis.

Some people are kind of freaking out about this, though, which I feel is really premature. While I think Block B and its members will almost certainly have longer careers than the average K-Pop group (if they haven’t already), it’s most definitely in the interest of any corporate partner to diversify. The members’ contracts with Seven Seasons will expire in two to three years, and who knows what will happen after that. I certainly hope they stay together, but maybe Zico will decide that he wants to start his own label, U-Kwon will become a stay-at-home dad, Taeil will dedicate his life to fish, etc. Anything is possible.

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Jaehyo could die of rage.

Indeed, now is a very good time for KQ Entertainment to start building its own brand and its own roster of talent. They’re still getting whatever they get from Block B, and they still have the cachet that comes from running a top group–honestly, I’d probably be doing the same thing.

But won’t Block B get screwed?

I think people assume that Block B MUST be getting screwed here, some way, because that’s what Stardom did–they took the money Block B earned, gave none of it to the members, spent it on other groups, misplaced some of it, and were just generally awful.

But changing a Web address or the heading on some stationary doesn’t change anyone’s contract. The members of Block B have obviously been doing pretty well on their current contracts, and those can’t be altered unilaterally by the company (at least not legally, and one thing we know for sure about the members of Block B is that they’re not afraid to sue). However big the cut of revenues that the members get, it’s not going to change because Seven Seasons now wants to call itself Seven Seasons: A Division of KQ Entertainment, Inc., or whatever.

If the restructuring does prove some huge distraction–CEO Kim doesn’t love Block B and won’t eat their soup anymore–guess what? Their contracts expire soon! They came out fine from a much more difficult situation, and they’ve only gotten more successful since then. Block B pretty much holds all the cards at this point, and if they part ways with Seven Seasons/KQ Entertainment it’s probably going to hurt the company a lot more than it will hurt them.

One thing definitely won’t change:

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The Engrish. The Engrish will always endure….

ETA: I’m going to amend this to address some of the complaints I’ve seen about what’s going on. (Younger readers can consider this a valuable introduction to life in the working world, in which you will be expected to cope with repeated rebrandings and restructurings without sounding like you’re suffering from acute appendicitis.)

1. Why did KQ Entertainment take over the Seven Seasons social media accounts? Well, there’s the obvious reason–there’s a built-in audience there.

But the other thing is to remember that, with this restructuring, Seven Seasons will be managing Block B alone. Block B already has official social media accounts. So I guess people are expecting Block B to have a set of social media accounts, and then the division that only deals with Block B to have its own set of social media accounts, and then KQ Entertainment to have have its own accounts (and KQ Produce has yet another set of accounts).

Why? Why does Block B need two of everything? It makes much more sense to change the (corporate-oriented) Seven Seasons accounts over to the umbrella company–if you want only the Block B news, follow only the Block B accounts.

2. But Seven Seasons suxxx azzzz!!! They never update their stuff anyway! Block B Japan does a much better job!!! OK. It is true that Seven Seasons doesn’t update very often–I agree. Block B Japan definitely updates more.

However, when it comes to moving product, Seven Seasons clearly has the edge. All you’re proving is that updating social media frequently isn’t actually all that important when it comes to selling music.

And why is Block B Japan so much more efficient? Well, you do know that Block B Japan isn’t it’s own thing, right? It’s part of King Records. So those super-efficient Block B Japan employees are actually King Records employees, who most likely spend all day doing nothing but updating various Websites and social media accounts of the various acts under contract with them.

That’s exactly what KQ Entertainment would like to be doing. They would like to have multiple successful acts, and then they can hire full-time staff that will just sit around and update stuff all day. That’s the goal here with this restructuring.


20 responses »

  1. I saw this when watching a KNK unboxing video and was really surprised to see the Seven Seasons logo on a card in the album… Can you shed light on this at all (maybe it says something in the Korean I can’t read)? At ~6:21 in this video here: https://youtu.be/tixrTePyEeg

  2. This is a very clever way to keep an exclusive agency for Block B while expanding with other artists. I bet all the Block B members have their own shares in all this too.

  3. I have a question, we know the CEO but the agency don’t the members own it? I mean, why would someone random make an agency just for them without them involved? In one of the streamings Jaehyo said Zico call all the shots, he approves and disaproves stuff, he told that in one of those 7 hours streaming, he even mimic to show how zico probally was watching the streaming and saying no no for it. Since there isn’t much info about how seven seasons was really formed maybe the CEO works for them to organize and manage everything but they are really the ones deciding the stuff. If that is the situation I think KQ entertainement might be them expanding their business to start working with other people and other business related to art culture etc.. They have money to do so and probally there are lots of people interesting in investing on them right now, is a good moment to capitalize that. They probally won’t be together as block b in 2 years and contract is done, but doesn’t mean they wont be working together. Jaehyo usually is the one that give more hints, he has being really being a zico fanboy latelly and said he wants to keep working with them for a long time. I don’t know Zico seems someone very prepared to adapt and take chances, he is smart in a very special way and appear since this last comeback he is working to showcase the members more and make them popular probally thinking about their carreer after the group is done.

    the fact seven seasons and kq ent are really misterious makes me think is to keep from public how much they making etc and if they have good producers, song writers, singers, composers… all they need is a very good studio to make a lot of good music and don’t really spend that much. The big 3 spend a lot of money buying rights from others, YG is smart, they always try to keep all of them among them, AOMG does the same Zico probally want one like that for him too. If I had his talent I would too. We know how he took babylon under his wing he might have more people he wants to do the same.

    Sorry lol lots of questions and theories 😀

    • damn, forgive my english, I had to stop writing like 5 times to reply my daughter and ended loosing the concentration… since english isn’t my first language gets worse when I’m distracted. >.<

    • Don’t worry, your English is fine.

      Obviously we really know nothing about who owns KQ Entertainment or anything like that–there are a million, billion theories out there, but nothing has been made public. (And unlike YG, they’re a privately-owned company, so they don’t have to tell anyone anything.)

      But to me it actually made a lot of sense that people were willing to finance Block B after the Stardom fiasco, because the group already had hit songs out there–they weren’t some unknown, they’d sold really well in the past. They knew CEO Kim from Stardom–it’s not like every last person working there was awful–I would guess that they had gotten to know and trust him there, and that they thought his approach could work for them.

      Definitely the way Seven Seasons/KQ is set up, they have a lot of autonomy artistically. Zico is very much the leader of Block B, and the philosophy is to let him do what he does well without interference. Someone like CEO Kim would focus on the business side–hiring/firing, negotiating deals, deciding what country to concentrate on, how to market, etc. For example, Block B isn’t doing TV series like they used to–instead they do shows on V App. That kind of thing is probably something the CEO had a lot of say on. He’s also brought them jobs–he’s the one who got U-Kwon to do his first musical (U-Kwon actually said no, but the CEO insisted).

      Like you, I am really curious to see if the members are involved in KQ Produce. I mean, if any of them want to focus on the production or songwriting side of things, it’s right there, so…hmmm…. It definitely could give the members more freedom in the future if they wanted to back away from being a full-time idol group that has to travel and perform so much. If KQ Entertainment is willing to be flexible instead of insisting that they must do what they’re doing now forever, they’re more likely to stay with the company as their lives progress.

      • Oh I didn’t know that about Ukwon, that’s cool to see. People wonder a lot if PO’s family is the one that started investing on them after the lawsuit, I wouldn’t find it weird. I mean, after all that happened, knowing how SK works with scandals and even with a certain fame people very conservative there, we can see how all CFs disapear as soon as a scandal break the news ( recently AOA case). Seven seasons staff is still pretty small since besides the CEO mostly there’s block b to handle and the people that work with them on studio, but not sure they are part of it tho.

        I still think they should have some PR that knew how to handle not only korean issues but also international ones, to avoid new missunderstandings in the future, cause as a foreigner I know we don’t really have a deep understanding of things like that. In my country many of the stuff people get furious about isn’t a big deal and is used in comedy all the time, but we don’t clash like they do in USA and mean netzens we all have, our biggest source of racism is internet nowadays, cause people enjoy annoying and bullying others online for fun. =/

        In today’s V they told Zico take things to the grave lol so I really think he might be very cautions with anything he does after stardom, that’s why I believe they do have a lot of control of what is going on, don’t think they would like to change what they have now if wasn’t for the better. I still miss them having a tv show, their use of V is very little, wich is why their channel could be a lot bigger if they were online more often, at least with a weekly report or something that would keep the fans in touch. I’m pretty sure the CEO is happy with them, is a hardworking group that try to keep out of trouble and have a lot of talent, wasn’t a bad bet to join them on that. I think one of the new stuff they might do with all that change is start making a brand of fashion or something, they have lots of fanboys in SK and they kind of enjoy fashion, would be something I can see too. I don’t think koreans fans are very happy. They not posting cheerful messages about it.

        • The CEO actually mentioned the possibility of a fashion line in that interview he did a few months back, so we’ll see….

          I think Korean fans just look at the situation and think, “It’s Stardom all over again.” Labels tend not to treat their talent very well in K-Pop, so while we’re over here thinking up ways this could benefit Block B, I think they’re probably feeling much more pessimistic. I think they’re much more used to situations where the talent has no power at all and gets treated like crap, so their default assumption is that that’s what’s going to happen.

          And it’s true that this move might well not be designed specifically to benefit Block B–it could be that they had an agreement with the CEO that if he did well by them, then after a certain period of time he could start trying to build a label. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing–the CEO did do well by Block B, and in my mind, it’s OK for him to have ambitions for himself, especially since the group is in such a good position in the industry right now. At this point, I’m willing to give the CEO credit for not being crazy or a bad businessperson, and the sensible thing is always going to be to keep your stars happy, so…I think he’ll do that, no matter what else he’s trying to do. And the strategies that he develops for Block B, he can hopefully also use to benefit the other talent in the label, so everybody wins.

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