Recently 2AM veteran, Jo Kwon, left his label of 16 years, and then soon joined Cube Entertainment. Due to concern from fans, Jo Kwon felt the need to defend his decision through an Instagram post. Some fans’ nervous reactions could be due to Cube’s rocky history with current and previous acts as they either under-promote them or use redundant concepts for their comebacks.
During his time with JYP Entertainment, Jo Kwon enjoyed a successful career — releasing four albums with 2AM and two solo albums. For 2016, Jo Kwon was reasonably active with variety shows, a musical, and a solo album. After having a mostly quiet year, Jo Kwon decided not to renew his contract with JYP Entertainment.
Due to his versatility, Jo Kwon would be arguably a treasure to any agency due to his variety in talent. He’s done collaborations with artists like Gain, Jun.K, and Hyoyeon. He’s applauded for and brings laughter in variety shows with his sometimes controversial cross-dressing performances. Jo Kwon has also been in four musicals and more recently starred in On the Starry Night. He’s bursting with talent and creativity, and has been an idol long enough to know how to handle his career going forward.
Which leaves the question as to why he would choose to join Cube considering they have a reputation of mismanaging their acts. More notable is the lack of promotion for current soloist, Hyunseung, who remained after the rest of the members of Beast decided to leave to form a new company. Since the others left, Hyunseung has still not received a solo album or single and has had little to no activity in 2017.
Additionally, the fan favorite collaboration group in which he’s a part of, Troublemaker, has not reunited for an act since 2013. Instead of listening to what the fans want, Cube decided to recreate Beast with new members. After the announcement, Hyunseung expressed his confusion in the now-deleted Instagram post stating he was unaware and had not agreed to this. On top of not promoting him in any activities, they’re making big decisions without even taking into consideration his own feelings on the matter showing their complete disregard for the artist. Understandably enough, this would make any fan worry about their favorite artist working with Cube since he’s not being allowed to grow, work, or be involved in his future.
Additionally, both soloists Roh Jihoon and Shin Jihoon have little to no activity the past couple of years, and are no longer listed under Cube’s current artists which indicates they may have quietly left the label. It seems like Cube knows how to obtain talented individuals at the beginning of their careers, and then the company just stands idle as their careers fade out.
Obviously, Cube can’t be all bad, otherwise, they wouldn’t have the success that they do. Which is probably why Rain, the King of K-pop, decided to join with them for his comeback after his release from military duty back in 2013. Cube allowed Rain freedom on his album which was mostly written and produced by him. To announce the album, Rain performed at MAMA teasing the date. Once released, the album peaked at number one on the Gaon Music Chart during it’s first week showing that Cube did right by allowing Rain to take control of the content, and helping to immediately promote the album prior to release.
During his time with them, Rain was involved in many promotional activities for his album. He had a comeback showcase, went on tour, had his first fan meeting since his return, and even starred in a reality show called, Rain Effect. His two lead singles, “30 Sexy” and “La Song”, both landed on Gaon’s Music Chart as well as on other various music charts — a largely successful comeback. Cube was a great support system in this case as they let Rain take the lead on the creative content while they helped market his brand. Rain would leave Cube Entertainment at the end of his contract but would do so on good terms to start his own agency.
Similarly to Rain, Jo Kwon is already an established artist with a loving fanbase, and Cube can go far with him if they put in that same dedication they did with Rain. Instead of leaving him in a state of uncertainty like they’ve done with Hyunseung, Jo Kwon should be consistently promoting himself with a variety of activities. They can easily place him in jobs that he’s already popular for like musicals and variety shows that help showcase his charismatic personality along with his talent.
Cube can also use what has worked for them in the past without being redundant. For example, they’ve produced collaborations like Troublemaker and Triple H, and Jo Kwon has already shown he works well with others in projects such as Triple T with Hyoyeon and Min, formerly of miss A. This is their chance to create another joint musical act that they could continue to expand on instead of allowing it to fizzle out like they did with Troublemaker.
More importantly, Cube can simply listen to Jo Kwon and how he wants to steer his career. They need to openly discuss any decisions or possible directions in order to prevent any miscommunication like they did with Hyunseung. Similar to Rain, Jo Kwon should be allowed to take control over the content and production of his future comeback album. Jo Kwon obviously knows his fans the best, and what they would want from him.
While it may be difficult, and fans can be protective of their bias, we can only have faith in Cube and Jo Kwon’s decision to work under their direction. Cube has had its mishaps, and can be frustrating at times with their lack of fulfilling fan’s wants, but Cube’s management wouldn’t have chosen to seek someone like Jo Kwon if they weren’t interested in managing his career well. Jo Kwon has already expressed his sincerity in trusting that Cube Entertainment will enact his vision as he wants so we can only wait and see if they will let Jo Kwon continue to flourish or if they end up stifling his career.
(Naver   , Sports Chosun, Instagram  , Nate, Segye, Cube Entertainment  , Youtube  , Gaon Chart  . Images from JYP Entertainment, Mnet, and Cube Entertainment.)