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EXO members accuse SM Entertainment of unfair demands

(ANN/KOREA HERALD) – Three members of the popular K-pop group EXO, namely Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin, have voiced grievances against their agency, SM Entertainment, alleging unfair demands regarding revenue from their individual activities. This dispute reignites their conflict with the K-pop powerhouse after a year of negotiations.

During a press conference at a Seoul hotel, the trio’s lawyer, Lee Jae-hak, accused SM Entertainment of violating the terms of a previous agreement. The agreement, reached in June last year, guaranteed a 5.5 per cent commission rate for album and music sales through INB100, the label representing their solo careers and activities as EXO-CBX, a subunit of the boy group.

“SM Entertainment is failing to uphold the 5.5 percent commission rate and is instead demanding 10 percent of the artists’ revenue from their personal activities, albums, concerts, and commercials,” stated Lee.

Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin. PHOTO: SM Entertainment via ANN/KOREA HERALD

Last year, the EXO members renewed their contracts with SM but later notified the company of their intention to terminate the contracts due to alleged failure to provide proper accounting data. The trio subsequently filed an antitrust complaint with the Fair Trade Commission against the agency.

A temporary resolution was reached when both parties agreed to maintain the exclusive contracts with SM while allowing the members’ individual activities to be independently managed by INB100, an indie label founded by Baekhyun earlier this year.

Lee emphasised promises made by SM’s Chief A&R Officer, Lee Sung-soo, to secure a 5.5 per cent distribution commission rate from distributor Kakao for INB100, which led to the agreement signed last year. However, a formal notice sent to SM in April regarding the breach of this promise received no response.

The lawyer demanded that SM acknowledge the failure to uphold the 5.5 per cent commission rate and refrain from demanding 10 per cent of personal revenue. He warned that if the agreement is deemed no longer meaningful, they will consider taking legal action, including complaints to the police and state antitrust bodies, regarding the agreement process.