Coronavirus

What Does Coachella's Delay Mean for BIGBANG's K-Pop Comeback?

G-Dragon, Taeyang, T.O.P and Daesung of Korean band Bigbang receive the Best Worldwide Award during the MTV Europe Music Awards 2011 live show at at the Odyssey Arena on November 6, 2011 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

G-Dragon, Taeyang, T.O.P and Daesung of Korean band Bigbang receive the Best Worldwide Award during the MTV Europe Music Awards 2011 live show at at the Odyssey Arena on November 6, 2011 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Despite their big reunion performance postponed, 2020 could still be a major year for the act.

While the official postponement of Coachella 2020 due to coronavirus is a bummer for all artists involved, BIGBANG especially seemed to be banking on the festival to stage a major comeback performance, and now their plans are seemingly thrown into limbo.

The long-running K-pop act has been on a hiatus since 2017, when the members began enlisting in South Korea's mandatory military service. While the 18 to 20 months of service shouldn't derail most artists' returns to the scene, BIGBANG had a member exit (the youngest, Seungri, left amid investigations related to the high-profile "Burning Sun" cases that brought criminal charges against several K-pop stars) and other members with legal issues of their own (T.O.P was indicted for marijuana use, Daesung was investigated over a building he owned).

Despite the influx of headlines, BIGBANG was a surprise inclusion on the Coachella 2020 lineup, following in the footsteps of their younger labelmates BLACKPINK with their name high on the poster, indicating an ideal time slot for what was assumed to be their first performance in years. The booking was a savvy piece of marketing for BIGBANG, seasoned performers who have played multiple arena tours in America and could parlay the inevitable international response from the festival into growing anticipation for their K-pop comeback -- and likely shush the harsh local media and comment culture in Korea.

With the performance on hold, BIGBANG’s future quickly became uncertain, especially after T.O.P commented on social media that he had no plans to return to show business.

But sources close to YG Entertainment tell Billboard that BIGBANG are working on a new album this year as a quartet, putting to rest worries that this was a farewell stage for the group or that new music would be dependent on the response to the performance. Also helping push BIGBANG forward is news that all four stars re-signed their contracts with YG, marking the third round of successful negotiations after the band renewed in 2011 and 2015.

While sources say it’s too early to know if BIGBANG will play the newly rescheduled October dates for Coachella, all signs point toward 2020 marking renewed activity from the band. But instead of using the Indio, Calif., festival for their comeback performance or to premiere new music, BIGBANG will likely need to think up another exciting way to drum up excitement for the release or go through traditional release methods. The guys could also take a page from BLACKPINK -- who released their Kill This Love EP just a week ahead of the festival -- and deliver their new music to the huge audience in October.

No matter what route they take, BIGBANG’s return should be well-received Stateside.

The outfit was the first K-pop group to enter the Billboard 200 back in 2012 and have since earned four No. 1s on World Digital Song Sales, putting them only behind BTS in terms of male groups with the most chart-toppers on the list.

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