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It's the end of an era for K-pop girl group 4Minute. After seven years, the members decided to disband following the end of their contracts with Cube Entertainment.
So far, only member Hyuna is confirmed to have renewed her contract with the label. The other four members—Jiyoon, Jihyun, Sohyun, and Gayoon—are still in negotiations, and may or may not leave the company altogether. The group reportedly no longer shares a common focus and holds different career goals, including in singing and acting.
4Minute debuted in 2009 in the midst of the "Golden Era" of K-pop and has been considered one of the key groups to have influenced the K-pop scene. Despite its prevalent name however, some netizens are not surprised by the news. Some are debating whether the break up was inevitable, having predicted it since the group's February release of its seventh album, Act 7.
According to Soompi, the group was relying heavily on the success of Act 7 to determine whether or not they would renew their contracts. The members had revealed they hoped to be viewed as artists, rather than just idols, and worked with Skrillex for the title track "Hate."Others have attributed the disbandment to the disparate popularity between Hyuna and the rest of the members, saying that the company promoted her more than the others. Hyuna launched a solo career in 2010 with the song "Change" and has released four songs since then. She also formed the duo Trouble Maker with former label mate Jang Hyunseung in 2011.
Regardless of how or why, the news of their breakup is depressing for many fans, who are taking to social media to voice their support for the group. Both the #ThankYou4Minute and #4MinutePleaseStayTogether hashtags have been gaining popularity on Twitter since the group's announcement.
Update 12:19pm CT, June 16: Cube Entertainment announced on Thursday that the four remaining members decided against renewing their contracts with the company. According to Soompi, members Gayoon and Jihyun wish to pursue acting careers, while Jiyoon is interested in singing and producing. Contracts from other agencies have reportedly been offered, but none of the members have officially signed anywhere yet. The youngest member, Sohyun, has been participating in the Korean variety program My Pet Laboratory and will continue on as a member of its fixed cast.