K-pop boy band Wanna One won't have its contract extended and is set to be disbanded at the end of this year, its agency Swing Entertainment said Tuesday.
"Wanna One's contract will expire on Dec. 31 as planned. Its official activities, however, will continue through January," the agency said in a statement. "It will participate in year-end annual awards events and meet fans for the last time through concerts next month."
The news will disappoint avid fans who had hoped the group would extend their contract and stay together for a few more years.
The project boy group, comprised of 11 winners of music channel Mnet's idol competition show "Produce 101," started its group activities in August 2017 for a limited time, with its deadline set at the end of this year.
But its immense popularity in and out of the country triggered rumors -- and anticipation -- among fans about a possible contract extension.
In fact, relevant parties, including CJ ENM, heads of the agencies representing each member and the group's current agency had been engaged in heated debate over the group's future plans since this summer, but apparently failed to narrow differences.
"We really appreciate their amazing performances for the past one and half years. We also support their new beginnings and careers," the agency said. "We also offer sincere gratitude to local and overseas fans who love Wanna One. We hope for your continued support and blessing for the members."
Since its official debut, the group has grown quickly on the back of solid fan support and popular songs, earning them the nickname "monster rookies." It has dropped two EPs, "1×1=1 (To Be One)" in August 2017 and "0+1=1 (I Promise You)" in March; the repackaged album "1-1=0 (Nothing Without You)" in November 2017; and the special album "1÷X=1 (Undivided)" in June.
Last month, the group released its first full-length album, "1¹¹=1 (Power of Destiny)."
The latest album, with 11 tracks, shares the 11 boys' cherished memories and unforgettable musical journey for the past two years, and their strong will to overcome sorrow and fear and face the destiny of disbandment, it said on its album.
At a press conference for the release of the studio album, members talked about their time together. "We couldn't have come this far had it not been for support from Wannable. I would like express my sincere gratitude for those who like us," Park Ji-hoon said. Wannable is the collective name for Wanna One's fans. "I also want to say that this is not an end."
"It was such a fun journey. We had many fun challenges, and I have no regrets. At this moment, I want to only think about how we will try harder for our future stages," vocalist Kim Jae-hwan said.
Kang Daniel, arguably Wanna One's most popular member, and the winner of "Produce 101," said, "It feels bittersweet. It feels good and sad at the same time. It is complicated."
The group is scheduled to appear at the Seoul Music Awards on Jan. 15. It will hold final concerts sometime next month, although the exact venue and time have yet to be determined.
source: Yonhap News