Okay, the big 3 is something I discovered a few months after getting into Kpop. In the beginning it was all about discovering new groups and songs and just sitting happily by and enjoying them. Then I started getting people asking me “So which of the 3 are you?” and I had no idea what they meant. After asking further, they clarified “Are you a YG, SM or JYPE?”
This didn’t help at all.
I’d heard of the YG family but none of those random accronyms meant a thing to me. I did my homework and realised that there was more to kpop than I thought.
There are many entertainment companies in Korea, but “The Big 3” referrs to the three top companies in Korea and they are the main ones you should know about. They are:
JYP Entertainment was founded by Park Jin-Young (Hangul: 박진영) in 1997. JYPE also made idol hunk Rain famous, who worked under the company from his debut in 2002 until 2007. Their groups include 2PM, 2AM, Wonder Girls, JJ Project and Miss A. The company’s owner and namesake is also an artist as well, well known for his songs “Don’t leave me”, “Honey” and “Your house”
SM Media is one of the largest of the three companies with their incredibly popular groups like Super Junior, Girl’s Generation, Shinee and, biggest of all, EXO. SME first started producing artists in the mid 90s with its first artists, the boy group H.O.T and girl group S.E.S, who were very popular until they disbanded in 2001 and 2002. SM Entertainment has had a number of controversies and legal disputes over the years, which we’ll cover another time!
YG entertainment was founded in 1996 by Yang Hyun Suk (Hangul : 앙현석), a former member of the 90s group Seo Taiji & boys. Known as Papa YG by fans, he’s the head of the company with huge traction in the entertainment business, both in Asia and internationally. YG’s artists include BIGBANG (whose members all have successful solo careers), 2ne1, Se7en, new rookie group Winner and, the internet sensation with the most Youtube hits ever, Psy. YG is a very cooperative company, with the different groups and artists regularly collaborating with each other.