All of K-Pop’s “Big 4” companies—HYBESM EntertainmentJYP Entertainment, and YG Entertainment—have now revealed their revenue and profits from 2021’s first quarter (Q1). Which agency came out on top with the most money between January and March this year? Read on to find out.

First, a quick breakdown of terms: K-Pop company finances are measured via three key figures—revenue, operating profit, and net income. Revenue is the simplest figure, representing the total income from all sales before any costs are deducted.

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Lee Sung Soo, CEO of SM Entertainment | SM Entertainment

Operating profit is how much money the company has left after paying all their expenses, except debts and taxes. This figure also doesn’t include profits generated by savings or investments. Operating profit is used to show how much was earned from directly running the company.

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Bang Si Hyuk, CEO of HYBE | KOREA NOW/YouTube

Net income, on the other hand, is the money left over from all cash flows after paying all costs and expenses. Net income is an important figure because it shows the true profitability of a company; plus, it’s used to calculate earnings per share.

Let’s get into the numbers.

4. YG Entertainment

YG Entertainment had the lowest net income of 2021’s first quarter: ₩8.65 billion KRW (about $7.68 million USD). The company recorded an operating profit of ₩9.53 billion KRW (about $8.46 million USD) after generating ₩97.0 billion KRW (about $86.1 million USD) in revenue between January and March.

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| YG Entertainment

Q1 2021 saw comebacks from TREASURE, iKON‘s Bobby, and WINNER‘s Seungyoon as well as BLACKPINK Rosé‘s solo debut. Earlier in the second quarter, YG Entertainment was demoted from “blue-chip company” (superior) status to “mid-sized business” after facing consistent operational losses.

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| YG Entertainment

3. SM Entertainment

Next up is SM Entertainment, which accumulated a net income of ₩8.67 billion KRW (about $7.70 million USD). The company recorded an operating profit of ₩15.3 billion KRW (about $13.6 million USD) after generating ₩154 billion KRW (about $137 million USD) in revenue between January and March.

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| SM Entertainment

In Q1 2021, several SM Entertainment artists made their comebacks: SHINee, Super Junior, and EXO‘s Baekhyun. Like YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment was also demoted from blue-chip status earlier this year due to financial losses.

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| SM Entertainment

2. JYP Entertainment

JYP Entertainment had the second-highest net income of the first quarter at ₩12.0 billion KRW (about $10.7 million USD). The company recorded an operating profit of ₩13.7 billion KRW (about $12.2 million USD) after generating ₩32.3 billion KRW (about $28.7 million USD) in revenue between January and March.

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| JYP Entertainment

Surprisingly, no JYP Entertainment artists had comebacks in Q1 2021. The company also lost one of its biggest groups, GOT7, when all members decided not to renew their contracts in January.

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| JYP Entertainment

1. HYBE

Last but not least, HYBE had the highest net income of 2021’s first quarter: ₩15.8 billion KRW (about $14.0 million USD). The company recorded an operating profit of ₩21.7 billion KRW (about $19.3 million USD) after generating ₩178 billion KRW (about $158 million USD) in revenue between January and March.

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| Big Hit Music

Like JYP Entertainment, HYBE also didn’t produce any comebacks from its labels’ artists. The company underwent dramatic changes towards the end of Q1 2021 when it was rebranded from Big Hit Entertainment to HYBE. Shortly after, HYBE announced a 100% stake acquisition in major U.S. company Ithaca Holdings.

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| Big Hit Music