T-ara (/tiˈɑːrə/; Korean: 티아라) is a South Korean girl group formed in 2009 by MBK Entertainment. Their most well-known lineup featured Boram, Qri, Soyeon, Eunjung, Hyomin and Jiyeon. T-ara’s career is marked by hook-heavy dance-pop music, a result of their close partnership with composer Shinsadong Tiger. A broad array of visual concepts have earned the group a “chameleon-like” reputation.
The group officially debuted in July 2009 with the single “Lie”, following line-up changes due to creative differences. Their debut studio album Absolute First Album was released in December 2009 and spawned several hit songs including “TTL (Time to Love)”, “Bo Peep Bo Peep”, and “You Drive Me Crazy”.
T-ara gained nationwide recognition after releasing “Roly-Poly” in 2011, which went on to become the Gaon chart’s best-selling single of the year. At the height of K-pop’s popularity in Japan, T-ara signed onto management agency J-Rock for $4.7 million—reportedly the highest figure of any Korean girl group expanding into the territory at the time. Both their debut Japanese single and studio album reached number one on the Oricon weekly charts and were subsequently certified Gold. T-ara’s late-2011 Korean release Black Eyes spawned three consecutive number ones: “Cry Cry”, “We Were in Love” and “Lovey-Dovey”.
In 2012, T-ara experienced a dip in popularity as the group faced accusations of internal discord, resulting in Hwayoung’s immediate departure with Areum following a year after. T-ara’s later material was released to varying degrees of success before the group began focusing on promotional activities in China, where they attracted attention for their cover of Chopstick Brothers’ “Little Apple” in 2014. T-ara is regarded as one of the most popular K-pop girl groups in China.
T-ara’s final release as six members was tentatively scheduled for May 2017, ahead of Soyeon and Boram’s expiring contracts; however, conflicts with their management delayed What’s My Name? until June 2017, effectively without their involvement. Qri, Eunjung, Hyomin and Jiyeon had previously extended their terms with MBK Entertainment until December 2017.
The original pre-debut five T-ara members (Jiae, Jiwon, Eunjung, Hyomin and Jiyeon) trained together for three years under Mnet Media. The meaning behind the group’s name, which is based on the word “tiara”, comes from the idea that they will become the “queens of the music industry”. In April 2009, they released their first song “Joheun Saram (Ver. 1)” (좋은 사람, “Good Person”) for the Cinderella Man soundtrack. Jiyeon teamed up with labelmates SeeYa and Davichi for a collaboration single titled “Yeoseong Shidae” (여성시대, “Women’s Generation”), which was released in May 2009.
In June 2009, Mnet Media announced that Jiae and Jiwon would be leaving T-ara due to differences in music style. The first new member to be added to the group was Boram, the daughter of singer Jeon Young-rok and actress Lee Mi-young. Soyeon, a former trainee of S.M. Entertainment who was supposed to be the leader of Girls’ Generation, and Qri were added to T-ara three weeks prior to debut. In early July 2009, the group was moved from Mnet Media to its subsidiary company Core Contents Media.
T-ara made their debut on MBC’s Radio Star talk show on July 29, 2009. Their first performance was on Mnet’s M Countdown music show on July 30, where they performed “Geojitmal” (거짓말, “Lies”) and “Norabollae?” (놀아볼래?, “Wanna Play?”) from their debut single. Their debut was looked upon negatively by webpostings, where people stated that it was lipsynched and commented that it seemed like an “elementary school” performance. The group announced afterwards that future performances would be live. In September 2009, Eunjung, Soyeon, Hyomin and Jiyeon collaborated with labelmates Kwangsu, Jihyuk, and Geonil of Supernova for the single “TTL (Time to Love)”. It was released on September 15, 2009, and became both groups’ first number one song as it topped many of the online charts. T-ara and Supernova collaborated again for “TTL Listen 2”, a sequel to “TTL (Time to Love)”, which was released on October 9, 2009, and included all the members from both groups.
T-ara released their debut studio album, Absolute First Album, on November 27, 2009. In order to determine the album’s title track, Core Contents Media held a survey in which the public had to choose between “Bo Peep Bo Peep” or “Cheoeum Cheoreom” (처음처럼, “Like the First Time”). 9,000 people took the survey on various music portals with 53% (4,770 people) choosing “Cheoeum Cheoreom” over “Bo Peep Bo Peep”. However, the latter was promoted on music shows instead for unknown reasons. “Bo Peep Bo Peep” peaked at number four on the Gaon chart, while “Cheoeum Cheoreom” peaked at number ten. They held their comeback performance on Music Bank on December 4, 2009. At the 24th Golden Disk Awards, T-ara was awarded Rookie of the Year along with girl group 4minute.
The group won their first-ever music show award with “Bo Peep Bo Peep” on the New Year’s Day episode of Music Bank. The song went on to win five awards in total: two on Music Bank and three on Inkigayo, earning them a “Triple Crown”. Later in January 2010, the group announced promotions for their follow up single, “Cheoeum Cheoreom”, which ended quickly as Soyeon was diagnosed with H1N1. The same month, T-ara made a cameo appearance on the seventh and eight episodes of God of Study, in which Jiyeon played a main role.
In February 2010, the group announced a re-release of their debut album under the title Breaking Heart. The two lead singles, “Neo Ttaemune Michyeo” (너 때문에 미쳐; “I Go Crazy Because of You”) and “Naega Neomu Apa” (내가 너무 아파, “I’m Really Hurt”), were digitally released on February 23, 2010, and peaked at number one and number thirty-one on the Gaon chart, respectively. T-ara held their comeback performance on the same day on M Countdown, and won several music awards for “Neo Ttaemune Michyeo” over the course of their promotions: two consecutive Mutizen wins on Inkigayo and one first place award on M Countdown. Breaking Heart was released physically on March 3, 2010, peaking at number two on the weekly Gaon chart and number thirty-five on the yearly chart; selling 40,695 copies. After promotions for “Neo Ttaemune Michyeo” ended, T-ara performed “Naega Neomu Apa” on music shows until early April 2010. In June 2010, the group donated all the proceeds of the World Cup merchandise sold on their online clothing shop T-ara Dot Com to a charity for African children. On July 16, 2010 T-ARA representatives announced the addition of Hwayoung Ryu as the seventh member of the group. The reason given was that with so many solo projects, they would be able to have a more complete lineup for T-ARA when individual members were filming or doing other appearances. They also stated that it would allow the members to undertake more solo activities, and would give them all some relief from their heavy schedules.
In November 2010, The group starred in the third season of the reality show Hello Baby, in which they took care of Moon Mason and his two brothers. T-ara released the digital download for “Wae Ireoni” (왜 이러니, “Why Are You Being Like This”), the lead single for their first extended play, Temptastic, on November 23, 2010. Temptastic was released in digital format on December 1, 2010, along with their second single, “Yayaya”. The album’s physical release was delayed until December 3 due to the bombardment of Yeonpyeong earlier in November 2010. T-ara held their first comeback performance through Music Bank on December 3 and began promotions with their new seventh member, Hwayoung, and new leader, Boram, and received two consecutive wins for “Wae Ireoni” and “Yayaya” on M Countdown.
T-ara’s second EP John Travolta Wannabe was released on June 29, 2011. It charted at number three on the Gaon Album Chart and has sold 30,116 copies as of 2011. The EP’s only single, “Roly-Poly”, peaked at number two on the Gaon Digital Chart and number one on the Korea K-Pop Hot 100 chart. The single became a breakthrough success, becoming the top-grossing and highest-selling single of 2011 in South Korea with over four digital million units sold. “Roly-Poly” was awarded Best Music Video at the 3rd Melon Music Awards and Singer of the Year (July) at the 1st Gaon Chart Awards, and was nominated Best Dance Performance by a Female Group and Song of the Year at the 13th Mnet Asian Music Awards.
The group released a limited edition re-issue of John Travolta Wannabe, titled Roly-Poly in Copacabana, on August 2, 2011. The title track, “Roly-Poly in Copacabana”, is a eurodance remix of “Roly-Poly”, named after the song “Copacabana” which was popularized in the 80’s in Jongno disco clubs. The album peaked at number three, while the single peaked at number forty and forty-five on the Gaon and Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100 charts. The group began follow up promotions for the remixed single on Music Bank.
T-ara released their debut Japanese single “Bo Peep Bo Peep” on September 28, which peaked at number one on the Oricon weekly singles chart with over 49.7 thousand copies sold, making them the first non-Japanese girl group to rank at number one for a debut single in Oricon history. The single peaked at number one on the Billboard Japan Hot 100, and was certified Gold by the RIAJ for both full-length cellphone downloads and PC downloads.
In November 2011, T-ara released their third extended play Black Eyes which charted at number two on the Gaon charts. The album was preceded by the release of “Cry Cry”, which peaked at number one on the Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100 and won two consecutive first-place awards on M Countdown. The music video for “Cry Cry” was noted for having a billion Korean won production budget and a thirty-minute drama story line. The group released their second Japanese single, a remake of “Yayaya” from their Temptastic EP, on November 30. The single peaked at number seven on the Oricon charts and number six on the Billboard Japan Hot 100.
In December 2011, Core Contents Media announced that T-ara’s third leader Hyomin would be passing on her leadership to Soyeon. The group performed a three-day mini-concert tour titled X-mas Premium Live, that was held at the Shinagawa Stella Hall in Tokyo, the Zepp in Nagoya, and the Zepp in Osaka. T-ara rose to become the second biggest girl group in Korea in 2011 by ranking at number eight on the Gallup Korea poll. T-ara and Davichi released their Christmastide ballad, “Uri Saranghaetjanha” (우리 사랑했잖아, “We Were in Love”) on December 23, 2011; which was later included on T-ara’s Funky Town re-release album. The single reached number one on the Gaon Chart and peaked at number two on the Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100. Both groups performed the song weekly on SBS’s Inkigayo in the midst of T-ara’s heavy preparations for their year-end ceremonies.
T-ara re-released Black Eyes under the title Funky Town on January 3, 2012. The album peaked at number one on the Gaon weekly album chart and number two on the monthly album chart, selling 76.749 copies. “Lovey-Dovey” was released as the second single from the album, which peaked at number one on both the Gaon and Billboard Korea K-pop Hot 100 charts. The single has sold more than 3 million digital copies in South Korea alone.
In February, Forbes Korea, in celebration of their ninth year of establishment, reported the year’s list of the “Top 40 Power Celebrities”. T-ara ranked on the list at number seventeen, thus making them as the third most powerful girl group and the seventh most powerful female celebrity in Korea.
In April, Core Contents Media announced that two new members were to be added to T-ara’s line-up in July, thus transforming T-ara into a nine-member group. On May 30, 2012, 14-year-old Dani was announced as one of the group’s new members. She later starred in the drama version of T-ara’s “Day by Day” music video. However, as of August 2016, Dani is still a trainee and has not debuted as a member of T-ara. On June 14, 2012, Core Contents Media introduced 18-year-old Areum as the new maknae (막내, youngest member) and last of the group’s two new additions.
The group released their first Japanese album Jewelry Box on June 6, 2012. The album debuted at number two on the Oricon weekly albums chart with sales of over 57,000 copies. They embarked on their first Japanese concert tour T-ara Japan Tour 2012: Jewelry Box in Nagoya on June 19; the tour’s attendance was expected to exceed 40,000 people. Four singles had been released prior to the album: “Bo Peep Bo Peep”, “Yayaya”, “Roly-Poly” and Lovey-Dovey”.
On July 3, T-ara released their fourth extended play, Day by Day, which charted at number five on the Gaon chart. The title track, “Day by Day”, was released as a single on the same day, peaking at number two. The first comeback performance for “Day by Day” was held on July 7, 2012, on Music Core, which was backed by a 70-person orchestra and featured the stage debut of the group’s eighth member, Areum.
On July 25 and 26, T-ara held a concert in Japan, with Hwayoung only performing one song due to a leg injury. After the concert, one member of T-ara tweeted a general message about determination, and four of the other members agreed with her. Subsequently, Hwayoung and her sister, Hyoyoung, tweeted about a “bad person,” which gave Korean netizens the impression that there was a conflict within the group. Netizens retweeted the messages and speculated that Hwayoung was being bullied. When the bullying controversy got out of hand, Core Contents Media abruptly announced Hwayoung’s immediate departure on July 30, after being with the group for one year and eight months. CCM’s CEO, Kim Kwang-soo, claimed that Hwayoung’s contract was terminated because staff members felt her behavior was hurting teamwork, and the bullying controversy was not the reason for her departure. The controversy caused the group to temporarily suspend activities, while the members continued with their individual activities. Both Hwayoung and the other members of T-ara have said that facts about their bullying issue were made-up by netizens, but on the other hand confirmed there was in fact a conflict between Hwayoung and the other members.
It was later announced that there would be no changes to T-ara’s upcoming comeback; however, their agency took the statement back and announced that their comeback would be postponed indefinitely. Their Day by Day extended play re-issue, Mirage, was eventually released on September 3, 2012. Two singles, “Sexy Love” and “Najgwa Bam (Love All)” (낮과 밤, “Day and Night”), were released from the album on the same day, with “Sexy Love” peaking at number four on the Gaon charts and number three on the Billboard Korea K-pop Hot 100 charts. “Najgwa Bam (Love All)” was a collaboration single featuring T-ara’s Areum with Gun-ji of Gavy NJ and Shannon.
On September 10, 2012, it was announced that the group would release a best of album in Japan consisting of all of their Korean singles to date (excluding “Day by Day” and “Sexy Love”) in celebration of one year since their Japanese debut. The album was eventually released on October 10. On September 26, T-ara released the Japanese version of “Day by Day”, which is mainly composed of scenes from their Korean music videos for that song.
In October, T-ara released the Japanese version of “Sexy Love” and shortly after, the group departed to Japan to promote for their upcoming single.
T-ara released their sixth Japanese single “Bunny Style!” (バニスタ! Banisuta!) on March 20, 2013. The A-side “Bunny Style!” is their first single composed specifically for the Japanese market. The single was released in ten different editions each with a different B-side: seven regular editions that contain a solo song by one of the members, and three limited editions which contain a song performed by a sub-unit. To promote the single, the group held special showcases in 10 Japanese cities, starting on February 20, 2013, at the Sapporo Factory Atrium and ending on March 9, 2013, at the Seagull Square in Nagasaki.
On April 1, 2013, T-ara’s Japanese label, EMI Music Japan, was absorbed into Universal Music Japan, became defunct as a company and was renamed to EMI Records Japan. Therefore, all of T-ara’s further Japanese promotions will be done through Universal Music Japan.
In early April 2013, it was announced that T-ara would be forming a sub-unit with members Eunjung, Hyomin, Jiyeon, and Areum called T-ara N4. This is a shortened form of ‘T-ara Brand New 4′, signifying the transformation of the four members. The sub-unit debuted on April 29, 2013, with the song “Jeon Won Diary” (전원일기), produced by Duble Sidekick. T-ara performed at the Nippon Budokan on July 13, 2013, to celebrate the release of their second Japanese album Treasure Box due August 7, 2013. The title for Treasure Box was revealed on June 15, 2013, along with the album’s track list of thirteen songs. The group’s concept for the album will be “treasure hunting” (宝探し, “takarasagashi”). T-ara released the music video “Painkiller” as a digital single song. The song was a collaboration with T-ara, Davichi, See Ya, 5dolls and Speed. Jiyeon appeared as the main character in the music video.
On July 10, 2013, it was confirmed with a video released by Core Contents Media that Areum would be leaving the group to pursue a solo career “towards the beginning of next year”. In August, T-ara released the music video “Bikini” featuring Davichi and Skull. At their Budokan Concert, it was announced that Qri would be the new leader of T-ara.
On September 15, Core Contents Media announced that T-ara would hold their long-awaited Korean comeback on October 10. Before their comeback, T-ara, together with Davichi, SPEED and The SeeYa was holding a concert in Mongolia, which attracted a crowd of 20,000 people. On October 6, T-ara performed “Number 9” for the first time at “Hallyu Dream Concert” along with “Sexy Love”. “Number Nine” was released with T-ara’s mini album Again on October 10.
T-ara also released a Japanese album to promote a Japanese movie, Jinx, featuring Hyomin named Kioku ~Kimi ga Kureta Michishirube~, in November. The album was released according to the date on which the movie will premiere.
T-ara had a Korean comeback on December 2 with the song “Do You Know Me”. Their concept for this comeback and music video according to theater concept with retro style. They also release a repackage album named Again 1977 which contains the best songs from their album, Again. The group also released a ballad version of “Do You Know Me”. On December 13, T-ara released a Christmas song, “Hide & Seek”.
T-ara was ranked seventh as the group with most number one hit songs on digital music charts in the past decade with 13 songs, despite debuting 4.5 years ago. On January 19, T-ara had their second concert in Chengdu, China, one out of five concerts they planned to stage China in 2014. On February 14, T-ara held a joint concert with label-mates Speed in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On the 19th of February CCM released a music video for a promotional track from Cho Young Soo’s All Star Project with the single titled as “First Love” sung by Hyomin, Jiyeon and Soyeon featuring rapper EB. T-ara had a Japanese comeback with the double A-side single “Lead The Way” and “LA’booN” on March 5, and their third Japanese album Gossip Girls was released on May 14.
On September 11, T-ara’s sixth mini album And & End was released along with two music videos for the title track, “Sugar Free”. The song was inspired by EDM and is part of the big room subgenre of electro house music. On September 24, a remix album was released called EDM CLUB Sugar Free Edition. This album included an English version of “Sugar Free”, which was the first song T-ara had recorded in English.
On October 13, T-ara signed a management contract with influential Chinese entertainment company, Longzhen Culture Development. The contract worth 5 billion KRW (~4.8 million USD). On November 24, T-ara released a Korean/Chinese cover of “Little Apple” by Chopstick Brothers, as well as a music video. This video featured Jiyeon, Eunjung, Qri, and Hyomin, as well as Seunghee from F-ve Dolls and Dani. The video hit ́8 millions views within two days on website Tudou.
On December 25, T-ara held their first domestic concert named “Dear My Family” at COEX Auditorium in Samseongdong, Seoul. In order to be close with fans and spend a meaningful time with them, the concert was small with 1100 seats. On December 27, T-ara held their concert in Shanghai as the beginning stop of their 2013–2014 China tour.
After their first concert in Korea, T-ara headed to Vietnam for a Mini Concert. On January 9, the group arrived at the airport, where problems occurred which resulted in scheduling changes. Nevertheless, the group’s mini-concert, which took place on October 10, drew in more than 3000 Vietnamese and International Fans.
On February 7, 2015, MBK Entertainment debuted a project group known as “TS” with the artists Eunjung, Soyeon, Cho Seunghee, Minkyung (The SeeYa), Ki-O, Jongkook and Sejun (SPEED). The group released a winter single, titled “Don’t Forget Me.”
In March 2015, it was announce that T-ara would be the main performer for Malaysia’s Sultan Of Johor Coronation celebrations in Johor Bahru. The group will appear at the event alongside Sistar and The Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo, which attracted 50,000 audience.
On June 20, 2015, T-ara began their first China tour, Great China Tour started from Nanjing, Beijing and Hefei. It was the first concert held by T-ara after signing with their new agency Banana Plan, who manages their Chinese promotions. The group performed 22 songs and sold out 4,000 tickets. The next concert on their Great China Tour was held in Guangzhou on December 19, and sold more than 5,000 tickets – making it the second consecutive sold-out concert on the tour.
On July 17, 2015, MBK Entertainment confirmed that the group will join the summer comeback lineup in the first week of August. On August 3, 2015, T-ara’s seventh extended plays, So Good with title track “So Crazy” was released. It was composed by Brave Brothers, the composer of Hyomin’s solo debut title track “Nice Body”, and surpassed 1 million views in 2 days.
On August 13, T-ara held a press conference for their web-drama “Sweet Temptation” which features a total of 6 episodes for 6 separate stories.The drama was released on October 2015.
On October 15, the website “Insider Monkey” published a list of 16 best selling girl groups of all time where T-ara was placed N°10 with a total of 36.18 million sales recorded. The group continued to make further impact by appear on season 3 of a famous Chinese variety show The Brain, making them the 2nd Korean act to appear on this show after Kim Soo-hyun, who visited the show during season 1.
On June 4, T-ara participated alongside other artists at the Dream Concert 2016. The group’s performance was a remix of Be Peep Bo Peep, Roly Poly and So Crazy, which was well received by the public.
As of 2016, the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper has published many items on the Korean idol stars who have had influence in the last 20 years based on a poll of 2,000 people in Korea. In the category “Top 14 Favorite Songs”, T-ara ranked 14th with the song “Roly-Poly”.
On September 9, T-ara performed 3 songs for the IASGO in Seoul. On September 11, T-ara flew to Japan for their Tokyo Fan-meeting. The “Premium Live Concert” was held the Tokyo Dome City Hall where T-ara performed 7 songs and talked to their fans. T-ara performed twice during the day as the event was divided into 2 parts, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. T-ara performed their song “Memories” for the first time live.
On September 17, T-ara held their last Concert for their Great China Tour at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai with around 8500 people attending.
On September 29 was the first broadcast of the new Variety Show “Master of Driving” with Hyomin and Eunjung as part of the cast. The show consists of 3 experimented celebrity drivers who will give them driving lessons.
T-ara participated in the Busan One Asia Festival 2016 on the opening performance on October 1. They also took part in Kpop concert on October 4 and performed 8 different songs, with many Chinese and international fans attending and cheering them on. Following their appearance, T-ara flew to Jeju to perform at the Jeju Olleh Duty Free Shop Concert on the 9th and performed 5 songs such as “Sexy Love” or “I don’t want you”.
In October 2016, MBK Entertainment announced that T-ara would be releasing a mini-album produced by Duble Sidekick in November. T-ara’s eighth extended play, Remember, with lead single TIAMO was released on November 9. The release was followed by 3 fan-signing events.
In February 2017, Hwayoung and her twin sister Hyoyoung appeared on a reality show and spoke about the controversy again; with Hwayoung saying her sister was the only person who had supported her during the incident, and how hard everything had been for her. Soon afterwards a former staff member stepped forwards and alleged that it had actually been the twins who had “bullied” the other members, and released texts that appeared to show Hyoyoung threatening former member Areum with physical harm for not supporting Hwayoung’s behaviour. Soon afterwards, more and more staffers came forwards with evidence that Hwayoung had been disrespectful to the other members as well as stylists, and had faked how severe her initial injury was in order to get more sympathy. Hwayoung initially tried to deny the rumours, lashing out at the staffers in return, but eventually admitted that the texts were real. After suffering from an intense backlash, including being removed from several television shows, Hwayoung deleted her Instagram account.
On March 6, 2017, MBK Entertainment announced that T-ara will be releasing their final album in May, with Soyeon and Boram terminating their contracts after its release.· Qri, Eunjung, Hyomin, and Jiyeon will stay with the label until December 2017. On May 7, MBK Entertainment revealed the group’s plans had changed, and that the final album had been rescheduled to release in June 2017, with members Boram and Soyeon not being able to partake due to the expiry of their contracts. On May 8, it was announced that T-ara’s last performance as six-members will be in Taiwan concert on May 13.
The remaining four members continued as a group with releasing their ninth extended plays and last promotional album, What’s My Name? on June 14, 2017. After a five-year period without receiving any awards on music shows, T-ara won first place on The Show on June 20.
T-ara has released track “My Love” on July 15 for KBS 2TV’s drama Greatest One-Shot.
On November 4, the group held their first concert in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, which reportedly attracted 10,000 attendees. A portion of the ticket sales would be donated to charity in Vietnam in honour of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and South Korea. On November 24, the group performed alongside B.A.P, Rain, Kim Jong-kook and Haha for K-Pop Music Wave 2017 in Penang, Malaysia.
On January 3, 2018, Hyomin took to her Instagram account to announce that herself, Jiyeon, Eunjung, and Qri had decided to not renew their contracts with MBK, thus leaving the company. This was confirmed by a source at MBK, clarifying that the group had left the company, however they did not state that the group had disbanded.
Jiae and Jiwon left the group in 2009, prior to debut due to creative differences. Boram, Qri, and Soyeon were added to the group shortly before debut single, Lie. Hwayoung joined the group on July 26, 2010, thus making T-ara a seven-member group. Core Contents Media announced on May 30, 2012, that a new member named Dani would join the group following the completion of her training, and one month later, Areum joined T-ara.
Following the bullying controversy, CCM announced Hwayoung’s contract was to be terminated. On July 10, 2013, T-ara returned to its original debut lineup after Areum left to start a solo career. T-ara then continued as a six-member group until Core Contents Media (now under MBK) announced Soyeon and Boram were leaving the group.
On April 12, 2013, Core Contents Media announced the launch of the group’s first sub-unit, T-ara N4 (티아라 엔포), which stands for “T-ara Brand New 4”, consisting of four members: Jiyeon, Eunjung, Hyomin, and Areum. T-ara had previously tried sub-units with the promotions of their sixth Japanese single “Bunny Style!”, in which the B-sides were sung by units of two and three members; however this was their first time doing formal unit activities. The group’s debut song, “Jeon Won Diary” (전원일기; Jeon-won Ilgi), was inspired by the 1980s drama of the same name. Produced by Duble Sidekick, it is a “funky and intense” dance song with elements of hip-hop. with the main motif of “Jeon Won Diary” being about breaking away from the same everyday routine. T-ara N4’s extended play, Jeon Won Diary, and the music video for the title track were released on April 29, 2013.
A Japanese sub-unit called QBS was announced in May 2013, featuring members Qri, Boram and Soyeon. The group focused on the Japanese market. The sub-unit released their debut single “Kaze no You ni” (風のように, Like the Wind) on June 26, 2013. Written and composed by Takanori Fukuta, the song is described as a refreshing pop tune with an evergreen melody that leaves a “lasting impression”. To promote the single, QBS held a live show at the Sunshine City Fountain Square in Ikebukuro, Tokyo on June 10, 2013. The group performed “Kaze no Yō ni”, along with Boram and Qri’s “Shabontama no Yukue” (シャボン玉のゆくえ) and Soyeon’s “Love Poem” from their “Bunny Style!” single, in front of 2000 fans.
In October 2009, the group signed a contract for their first commercial-film with Nonghyup Apples. They recorded the song “Apple Song” especially for the CF, which was later included and retitled as “Apple is A” on the group’s debut studio album Absolute First Album. In 2010, the group modeled for such companies as Mentholatum Korea, Tedin Water Parks, and Olympus cameras. T-ara was chosen to model for Tedin Waterpark again in 2011.
In 2011, T-ara modeled in commercial films for sports brand Spris, electronics brand iRiver, software company Windysoft, optical store Look Optical, instant noodles brand Shin Ramyun, Crown Mountain and many others. T-ara launched their own café franchise called Cafe Page One that will expand into a chain of 500 nationwide stores. The name of their café was influenced from the cafe that member Eunjung ran in her drama Coffee House. Cafe Page One was opened on July 1, 2011, where the members were present to greet the customers. The same year, T-ara was chosen as the new advertisement models for cosmetics brand Tony Moly. The group is expected to model for the brand in not only South Korea, but China, Japan, and other Asian countries as well. T-ara is also the first idol group to sign a contract with online shopping mall Hi-Mart. In February 2012, T-ara became models for the chicken chain Brilliant Chicken.
In early 2015, T-ara reportedly signed a US $1 million contract with Celucasn, a Chinese popular clothing brand with images and a short promotional video also have already been released. In November, T-ara became spokesperson for Chinese server of an multiplayer game World of Warships and released the Chinese version of “Cry Cry” as the official Theme Song. The group also became the face of the mobile game Dream of the Three Kingdoms. In the same month, T-ara was appointed ambassadors in respect of the establishment of business partnership between Hankyung Media Group and Sina Weibo.
In 2016, the group became brand ambassadors in Vietnam for Pantech Korea as the company was launching new phone models.
T-ara held a charity event on December 14, 2013, in Eunjung’s mothers cafe, Cafenne. T-ara’s old clothing, stage costumes and donations from Davichi, Ha Seokjin, Hwang Jungeum and Son Hojun were to be auctioned off. T-ara raised a total of 12.5 million won (~US$12,000) from the sales and donated about 2.5 million won (~$2,400) directly on the same day. On the 27th, T-ara donated the remaining 10 million won (~$10,000) to the Sharing Campaign “Hope Windmill” organized by the Red Cross by directly visiting the event. T-ara said, “We are able to end the year with a warm heart thanks to the many people who took part in the charity event and we give thanks to those who helped T-ara take the steps necessary for it.”