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(LEAD) K-pop act GFriend bids farewell to fans after 6 years

All News 10:41 May 20, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS details in last four paras, photo)
By Lee Minji

SEOUL, May 20 (Yonhap) -- Gfriend, known for its powerful performances and formerly school girl concept, bid farewell to fans after its longtime agency announced the termination of its contract.

Source Music, which had represented the six-piece group since its debut in 2015, on Tuesday announced their contract will end Saturday.

While the label, which was acquired by K-pop powerhouse Hybe in 2019, did not officially use the term "disbandment," it said in a statement that the group has agreed to walk "separate paths" following in-depth consideration.

This photo, provided by Source Music, shows K-pop act GFriend. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

On Wednesday, the group's six members -- Sowon, Yerin, Eunha, Yuju, SinB and Umji -- posted handwritten notes on the fan community Weverse in a move acknowledging the termination.

"Gfriend has officially neared an end, but this doesn't mean the end of us. Don't be too sad Buddy," Sowon, the leader of the group, said, referring to the act's fan base called Buddy.

Yuju thanked fans for their unwavering support and promised to show growth going forward.

"Thank you for protecting me so that I won't break, and I'll make sure to strive forward so that this end will not only end in sadness," she said.

The members suggested they will continue to remain in the entertainment industry. SinB wrote that the group will "pay back (their gratitude) with individual activities" and Eunha pledged she "will try to sing wherever I am."

This photo, provided by Source Music, shows K-pop act GFriend. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Considering that the group had remained active on social media until recently and showed no sign of ending the contract, Tuesday's announcement came as an abrupt surprise for fans.

The group, which released its third full album "Walpurgis Night" in November, had also voiced ambition for musical growth and thanked Hybe for its support in a news conference.

Tens of thousands of fans left comments on Sowon's message on Weverse saying, "Let's all meet again."

GFriend, whose Korean group name translates to "girlfriend," debuted in 2015 with the EP "Season of Glass." It has since released hit tracks like "Me Gustas Tu," "Rough" and "Navillera."

This Jan. 25, 2016, file photo shows K-pop act GFriend performing during a media event in Seoul. (Yonhap)

GFriend, now in its seventh year, is not the only K-pop act to part ways before its seven-year anniversary.

South Korea's fair trade watchdog advises that management agencies sign exclusive contracts of seven years with its celebrities, which has led to the coining of the industry term "seven-year jinx."

A number of K-pop acts have disbanded after failing to renew contracts with their agencies and after group members signed individual contracts with new agencies.

In January, boy band GOT7 and their former agency JYP Entertainment announced the group's disbandment. Members of the multinational act, which officially debuted in 2014, signed contracts with other agencies following the departure.

mlee@yna.co.kr
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