2NE1's surprise appearance and MAMA's struggle to strike a balance between SM & YG


Do you remember 2015 MAMA? Various k-pop stars attended the awards and showed high quality performance, electrifying k-pop fans all over the world. Which was your best stage? Well, it's hard for me to pick just one, but I'm sure many of you were surprised at 2NE1's appearance on the awards.

As you know, 2NE1's Park Bom got into trouble due to her drug issue and had had time for self-restraint and self-reflection for more than a year. However, she has never apologized for it and just made a surprise comeback at 2015 MAMA. That's why many people blamed her for her shameless. Well, what do you think? I can't say there was no problem, but I think it was YG's smart strategy. People in the world of k-pop usually call Yang Hyun Suk "adventurer," and he certainly showed his ability as a born businessman through 2015 MAMA.


MAMA is not a just award ceremony. MAMA always tries to keep a balance among big k-pop agencies, such as SM and YG, and what determines the winners of MAMA is sometimes - or always - the power relations between MAMA and k-pop agencies.

So, YG was in a conflict with Mnet because “M Countdown” excluded iKON’s new song from its chart, and the agency could have boycotted 2015 MAMA. However, Mnet made a ceaseless effort to soothe the powerful k-pop agency because the broadcasting company really needed YG’s BIGBANG and PSY to make 2015 MAMA a success. But Mnet can’t just ask the YG artists to attend the award ceremony. Because, yeah, it’s a system of give and take. Then, what do you think was YG's demand? First, awards. Big Bang received 4 awards, and iKON became the best new artist at 2015 MAMA. Second, high quality stages for its artists. Big Bang, PSY, and iKON showed outstanding performance at 2015 MAMA, while Mnet provided full support to them. But, that’s not all. There was one more thing what YG wanted. Yeah, it was 2NE1's surprise appearance.



MAMA is the end-of-year music award ceremony, and there was no reason for 2NE1's appearance in 2015 MAMA because 2NE1 didn't release any new albums in 2015. Mnet knew about this but couldn't reject YG's proposal because the broadcasting company needed YG's famous stars. And for YG, 2015 MAMA was a great chance to bring 2NE1 back into the world of k-pop. In a word, 2015 MAMA was a great show for YG.

So, through 2015 MAMA, Mnet could become close with YG. However, YG is not the only big k-pop agency. Yeah, Mnet had to care about its relationship with SM too, and that's why 2015 MAMA gave a total of 8 awards to SM artists. But, it was an iconic matter that just 3 of Girls' Generation members attended the ceremony and Girls' Generation TTS didn't perform its new song “Dear Santa” at 2015 MAMA. To SM, 2015 MAMA was totally unsatisfactory because, yeah, as I said, it was a great show for YG.