Two months after celebrating their 10th anniversary, K-pop act Girls’ Generation has reached a crossroads. On Monday (Oct. 9), the band’s agency SM Entertainment revealed that three members of the group have opted out of renewing their contracts with the label.
According to Yonhap News, members Tiffany, Seohyun, and Sooyoung have reportedly left SM to pursue solo ventures. The latter pair will pursue acting, while California-born-and-raised Tiffany will pursue her studies in the States. Taeyeon, YoonA, Yuri, Hyoyeon, and Sunny have renewed their contracts with the Korean entertainment agency.
“Girls’ Generation is a precious and meaningful group for SM and for fans,” said an SM rep, reports Yonhap. “The members are not thinking of disbandment at all. However, since there are members whose contracts have been terminated, we will discuss the future direction of Girls’ Generation with the members and make a careful decision.”
Each of the three members who did not renew with SM Entertainment have already made headway in their solo careers: Along with being two-thirds of Girls’ Generation sub-group TTS, Tiffany and Seohyun have each released solo albums. The former also recently collaborated with Far East Movement, while Sooyoung and Seohyun have each acted in Korean television shows and the latter has also appeared in multiple musicals.
The news came shortly after the act released their sixth album, Holiday Night, in August to commemorate their decade in the industry as one of K-pop’s most iconic and long-lasting girl groups.
Girls’ Generation rose to fame in 2009 as a nine-member act — former member Jessica Jung left in 2014— when their hit “Gee” became one of the most iconic Korean pop songs ever with its infectious bubblegum sound and propelled the group to the top tiers of the K-pop industry. Since then, the group has won countless awards and released multiple hits as they became South Korea’s most prominent female pop act. They saw two albums appear on the Billboard 200 over the years, and Holiday Night was the act’s third No. 1 on the World Albums chart upon its release in June.
The act is the latest K-pop band to shake up the industry this year, joining groups like Infinite, AOA, and T-Ara, who have also lost members this year during their contract renewal period. Other popular girl groups, such as Wonder Girls and Sistar, have broken up entirely, signaling a generational shift.