IOI’s Post-Disbandment Groups Highlight Struggle for Small Agencies

The debut of the K-pop girl group I.O.I took place on May 4, 2016. The group was created by CJ E&M via the survival reality show “Produce 101″in 2016.

(Photo : Instagram: @ioi_official_ig)

The initial contestant lineup included trainees from multiple entertainment agencies. Over time, the final lineup was formed with 11 members, specifically Kyulkyung, Nayoung, Mina, Yoojung, Doyeon, Sejeong, Yeonjung, Somin, Sohye, Chungha, and Chaeyeon.

Despite being a project group, their contract was limited, resulting in the disbandment of I.O.I on January 29, 2017. Following their disbandment, the former members returned to their respective agencies and pursued various opportunities in the music industry, including some who ventured into acting.

On June 7, a thread was posted online with the title, “The Groups that I.O.I Members Debuted in After Disbanding Are Now Almost Non-Existent.

The author listed the various groups that some former I.O.I members were a part of and highlighted that each of these groups had either disbanded or become inactive.

“Gugudan – debuted in 2016 with ‘The Boots’


DIA – debuted in 2015 with ‘Will You Go Out With Me?’


Weki Meki – debuted in 2017 with ‘Picky Picky’


WJSN – debuted in 2016 with ‘As You Wish’

They haven’t released a song in 1 year and 11 months.

PRISTIN – debuted in 2017 with ‘WEE WOO’


It’s already been 8 years since Produce 101 was aired in 2016, so this might sound like a natural outcome.”

The current status of the groups has left K-netz feeling sorrowful.

  • “PRISTIN, seriously.”
  • “The importance of a company.”
  • “Gugudan, Jelly Fish, F**k
  • “Seeing it like that, IZ*ONE is so fascinating.”
  • “I hope they can go back to IOI, with a good song.”
  • “The idols industry too, only the top 1% will remain.”
  • “I didn’t know there were WJSN members in IOI?”
  • “Please reunite IOI again.”
  • “The reality of small agencies.”

On a different platform, netizens from around the world discussed the challenges and difficulties faced by smaller K-pop agencies. They also expressed their frustration with the cutthroat nature of the K-pop industry.

  • “I blame the companies because most of them could have amazing careers yet they put them in nugu groups with hundreds of members and gave them shi**y songs. The only one who survived well is Sejeong.”
  • “The way half of the IOI members have pursued acting careers now. Only Chungha has continued her path as a singer.”
  • “The reality of small/medium agencies. They can’t handle sudden fame.”
  • “More than IOI members or anything, it’s the fact that they are all mostly from small companies. If it wasn’t for the IOI members in them, they would’ve just been another small company group that quietly disbanded without anyone even hearing about them.”
  • “They are nugu companies, what did you expect? These Big 4 privilege fans have a distorted view of how brutal the K-pop market is. It’s actually the standard.”
  • “Because back then, their companies were being greedy as well. During IOI’s promotion period, these companies started pulling off members from their schedule to promote their own groups.”

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