[YG LIFE] PEOPLE 2014 │① Yang Hyun Suk, The Problematic Person of the Year

“2014 will be the most important for YG than any other years. To put it roughly, this year is going to be a year of gamble that will determine the next 10 years of YG.” What YG’s Executive Producer, YANG HYUN SUK, wrote on the official blog YG LIFE early this year has become true. YG artists like 2NE1, TAEYANG, EPIK HIGH, WINNER, AKDONG MUSICIAN, and HI SUHYUN stayed at the very top of music charts all throughout the year. That does not mean that YG’s sales has surpassed that of SM Entertainment. However, in the past, they took a long time producing an album for just one artist, and release dates were quite frequently delayed. But this year, it was different. They produced album after album, which all had extraordinarily distinct colors. And every one of them was a success. But out of anything, it was the newbie artists like AKDONG MUSICIAN, WINNER and soon iKON who contributed a lot. YANG’s gamble returned as a very high profit.

The bet for the gamble was a survival show with an endless competition. YANG is like a gambler in a way that he picks his artists through risky survival shows. WINNER was the champion of Mnet’s [WIN], and the losing team’s B.I and BOBBY went on another survival game [Show Me the Money] to compete against top rappers. And then there was [MIX & MATCH] to determine the final members of iKON. On the other hand, LEE HI and AKDONG MUSICIAN were discovered on SBS’s [K-Pop Star]. “People tell me that I like survival programs too much. But those deep wounds will make them stronger. The hard process gave birth to greater outcomes than we have ever imagined.” (At the production event of [MIX & MATCH]) It really shows his way of managing the agency. Stay alive. Survive. Then you can become a star.

The battles in [WIN] and [MIX & MATCH] were designed by YANG himself, which are a clear example of his principles. He picks talents through forms of competition, like monthly assessments, while asking for more from the lagging candidates. But he guarantees a debut for the champion and an unrivaled promotion that can put them at the very top. However, his original “friendly” image is diminishing. Even the confident B.I and BOBBY look small standing before YANG for the assessment on [WIN] and [MIX & MATCH]. If BOBBY and B.I were the champions, than YANG is the one who created them. The viewers could even see it, which naturally led to criticism that brought about side effects. In the midst of continuing survival shows, fans of WINNER and iKON went through many conflicts. YANG was dubbed the cruel producer. And his explanation on BOM’s drug incident earned him even more criticism. He talked about his regular daily life on SBS’s [Healing Camp], but now everyone knows that he is the game-changer behind the industry.

But the real irony is this: the more criticism he gets, the more successful he became. Hinting his passion for 2014, he actually made it happen, and despite receiving criticism, he produced some real stars. BOBBY, who has gone through the fiercest battles among all, has garnered popularity that is hard to believe he didn’t even make an official debut yet. People criticize these shows, but can’t help from getting addicted to them. They enthusiastically cheer on the champions. Survival show itself became a hit product, while the stars produced from it became another. YANG applies his passion and his management skills to the entertainment agency. He simply won the game by sticking to his principles in 2014.

Nearing the end of 2014, YANG appeared on [Healing Camp]. “What I envy is youth. If someone asked me if I could give up all the money I have to return to my 20’s, I would. This is how much potential and chances you, the youth, have. Be crazy about what you want to do,” he said. But that also means you must be ready to go through much competition and to seize success. That’s how he succeeded. Competition may be brutal, but it can make the champion much stronger. The cruelty of the process can bring a bigger success. And now, since BIGBANG’s survival [Real Docu BIGBANG] in 2005, his influence has become evermore powerful. Competition in the current society has become much fiercer than 9 years ago, and winner takes all, more than any other times in history. It is hard for idols to succeed unless they belong to giant agencies like SM and YG. Idols are in constant competitions. YANG’s principle for competitions and his thirst for success indeed show a Korean trait. Curiosity builds to see how YG and YANG HYUN SUK will transform from here, starting from 2015.

2014. 12. 9.

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