Fans of K-pop girl group IZ*ONE have raised nearly US$2million for the Parallel Universe Project, an initiative that hopes to keep the group from disbanding.
The crowdfunding project was launched yesterday (April 21) on Wadiz by the girl group’s fanbase (also known as WIZ*ONE), following the announcement of IZ*ONE’s disbandment. Last month, the group’s management agencies, Off The Record and Swing Entertainment, said that the group would disband at the end of April.
Parallel Universe Project reached its funding goal of ₩1,000,000,000 (roughly US$900,000) within the first 20 minutes of the crowdfunding campaign’s launch, according to statistics from Koreaboo. The figure currently sits at a little over ₩2,186,000,000 (US$1,960,000) at the time of writing.
In a statement on Twitter, the initiative’s organisers claimed they have established an unincorporated association called Parallel Universe Project Investment Association in order to “negotiate with the agencies” that house the group’s 12 members. They added that they wish to “make the fundraising as open and transparent as possible”.
“This is not a place for assigning blame to the agency(ies) responsible for the ending of IZ*ONE’s promotion,” they continued. “Our purpose for the dialogue is in negotiations for the relaunching of the group. We sincerely ask officials of the agencies to engage in consultations.”
— 평행우주 프로젝트 (@IZ_PU_Project) April 16, 2021
IZ*ONE had initially been in talks to extend their contracts in January, but those discussions had seemingly fallen through. The K-pop act were originally pieced together through the reality TV competition Produce 48, under a two-and-a-half-year contract, and consist of members from a variety of labels and agencies.
Over the course of their brief career, IZ*ONE released four mini-album and one full-length studio album in Korean, as well as several Japanese-language projects. The girl group recently surprised fans with a video for new song ‘Parallel Universe’, which they debuted at their farewell online showcase in March. The clip featured moments from the concert, as well as personal messages from each member.