I step away from K-pop for a moment and THIS is what I hear?
This year has been the year of news-media slumps for SM. From the dating scandals, lawsuits, controversial music videos and debuts, as well as group mutiny, SM hasn’t had the best of luck with it’s artists this year.
To strike the lowest blow, all of these problems have brought SM’s stock market profits down 15%, down to an all time low! They are now under YG Entertainment as the most successful K-pop production label. The name alone used to be worth something. The name of SM has now been smeared over the past couple of months…Though they still are pretty profitable. But YG’s market value is higher, and this gives YG the lead in the consumer world.
The latest slams have been towards two of SM’s most successful groups: The young boy band, EXO, and the fully established female group, Girls’ Generation!
I have this strange feeling that this production company is being sabotaged by some underlying force. How can all of these scandals come out so rapidly, in one whole year? I guess that’s what happens when you reach the top. Stories are juicier coming from a major company. And those companies are easier to shatter. Well now that YG is at the top, I bet they will be next…
YG has something that makes them superior to SM’s label. YG is truthful. They don’t try to purify their artists. They give their artists more freedom than any other label in Korea. SM makes their artists into “Gods” and “Goddesses”, something that is hard to live up to. Because SM profits off of this manufactured perfection, they end up controlling their artists’ actions so they won’t look bad and so their label won’t be smeared. It ends up doing the opposite to them as a company.
I’m not one to take sides unless I know the full story, but because of SM’s tactics, the average person sees SM as foggy. It’s hard to know whether we should sympathize with the company or the artists. Sure, we can’t blame the company for every artist that jumps ship, but we should hold them responsible for something. Well, I’m here to give you my opinion on the two recent MAJOR scandals that can influence the future of SM’s success. I’m here to talk about the departure of members from MAJOR K-pop groups.
EXO: Luhan has filed a Lawsuit
EXO was a 12-member group consisting of a Korean group and a Chinese Mandarin group: EXO-K and EXO-M.
Earlier in the spring, EXO-M’s Kris filed a lawsuit out of nowhere just before he was about to go on tour. All 12 members were diligently preparing for the tour. Suddenly, and without warning, Kris jumped ship. Many people thought he was fed up with SM, as SM has lost artists to lawsuits before (Super Junior and JYJ), but Kris went about it in a way…that seemed poorly executed.
Here we are, 4 months later, and another Chinese member flows the coop: Luhan, with the same tactics Kris executed.
All eyes are peering closely at SM. Many people believe there is someone in the Chinese music industry offering deals to the members. If this were true, what is more tempting to these members than working for SM? Whatever offers are being made available for these artists, it seems enough for the artists to drop their loyalties.
Well, I think it should be a little obvious. A good number of SM’s artists are not from Korea. This is also the difference between SM and YG. Kris and Luhan may feel more comfortable in a country that speaks their language and understands their culture. Further, they could be closer to family members…
Or is there more to the story? Kris was from Canada. Moving to China wouldn’t make him close to his folks. But it certainly doesn’t seem to stop his career. Perhaps China has better music label contracts in it’s country. In Korea, his career may be over. But in China, it is just beginning.
EXO is a fairly new group, and it’s unusual for two members to leave within two years of their debut, and at the height of their success for that matter. Did they just discover there were other things they wanted to do? But what would be the need to sue a company? The company locks them into binding contracts, but so does every label. Is SM treating the members of EXO unfairly? Why would they have the need to hit so hard? I mean, it’s very easy to treat members unfairly when you have so many members to tend to.
The real mystery comes up when considering how the two members went about it. They didn’t tell SM, they didn’t tell their fellow members. They just went about their task in a sneaky way, as if they trusted no one. Could it also mean that their relationship with remaining members were not that tight either?
Variety shows are bs. K-pop artists have to act close on these shows in order to sell their products. But even brothers fight. This doesn’t mean there was no trouble in paradise. What’s really going on is a mystery.
I want to blame the management at SM. I want to attack the way they’ve treated their artists. They don’t have a good reputation. Perhaps they treat their international artists poorly. Perhaps their international artists are not used to Korea’s standards. Coming from a different country, there was still a lot for these young men to learn about the culture. But perhaps they were just too young when they were trained. I think SM trains it’s artists too young. Many of these kids barely know what’s good for them. Teens see the world through rose-colored glasses until they are out to fend for themselves. Life changes when people become adults. Many times, teens grow up wanting to do other things. They eventually find themselves doing things they never wanted to do before. I wanted to be a journalist as a teen. I ended up being an educator…Though I still write on the side. You just never know where life will lead you. This just doesn’t apply to careers, but relationships, too. Trust me.
I want to charge like a bull at this company, but why did these men have to jeopardize the other members’ careers? Couldn’t they have at least prepared the other members? Couldn’t they have at least first talked to SM about it to see what they could do? The way they went about it makes it hard for others to side with them.
But we don’t know the whole circumstance or why these men had to be so secretive about it. What we do know is now EXO is down to 10 members.
Luhan had more of a clear reason than EXO’s Kris. He cited an invalid contract. Still, SM says he claimed he had “health issues”, which seems to be the common excuse for SM artists. SM always claims they were “talking” to these members about it, but we don’t know if that’s true. What I do agree with SM on is that the EXO members didn’t have to file a lawsuit to get their supposed problems solved…It seemed a little too…blown up.
SM’s claims are interesting regarding Luhan.
“[Luhan] had expressed that he wanted to focus on individual activities in China rather than moving as a group with EXO due to health issues, and we were in the middle of discussing his future activities, so this sudden lawsuit is puzzling,” SM Entertainment’s statement read in part. “However, seeing that, just as in the case with Kris, Luhan filed for a lawsuit with the same law firm in the same way without reason makes us think that after gaining popularity with the group, he is now prioritizing his own personal benefit with disregard for those affected by the termination of his contract. Moreover, it seems that there is a behind-the-scenes influence.”
Perhaps he does see how he can strike it solo now that he’s a major star. Maybe he did take advantage of the lawsuit fiasco. Maybe there is someone sabotaging the label and offering the artists better opportunities. I mean, what label doesn’t want EXO on their hands?
It’s interesting to quote the bit: “with disregard for those affected by the termination of his contract”. This sounds like SM is putting some negative salt out there. But it may be true; we don’t know. He obviously didn’t care how this would affect his group or his fans. He was just fed up, and he knew his fans would worship, ahem, I mean, support him, no matter what.
But SM really needs to get their crap together or they will lose everything.
Then there’s the EXO fandom. I hate to come down hard on them, but some of them are abusive when it comes to EXO, and many of them don’t respect EXO. They tend to embarrass the group and other fans. Maybe these boys want out of such abusive fan-idol relationships. Maybe they want to date, live their life, and be young. I always say a company is as crazy as it’s fans. I mean, the fans are the money, and that’s what the company wants. If the fans are crazy, the company will be, too.
Girls’ Generation: Jessica has been BOOTED out! Say What?
Is this even legal?
Girls’ Generation (SNSD) was a 9-member group that laid serious K-pop ground since 2007! They were SM’s first major all-female group. Their success has traveled far and wide, bringing K-pop to other parts of the world.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Jessica is ousted from the group! Here’s the lowdown.
Jessica wanted to start her own fashion business and just opened her first store in Hong Kong. She claims she asked SM and her fellow members about it a long time ago, and they gave her the go-ahead. But a month after, they trapped her in a meeting and asked her to choose between her music career and her fashion business. SM and her fellow members claimed that it conflicted with performing schedules. SM also said that Jessica chose to leave the group due to personal reasons. They claimed that during “insufficient negotiations regarding conflicts of differences”, Jessica proceeded to start her business. They basically claimed she never officially secured agreement with the company.
Jessica said that she never wanted to leave SNSD. She claimed she was forced out. She claimed that the company and her members wanted her to choose, and she refused to choose between her two passions. The agency told her she could continue the fashion line under her renewed contract, but they also told her she was no longer a member of Girls’ Generation! Jessica sounded devastated on all of her responses, like she didn’t know this was coming. She even said she was excited about an up-coming fan event. Jessica said she was removed for no “justifiable reason”. The reason seems a little petty to me. It’s something that could’ve been resolved.
If it was Jessica’s decision to leave, why would she be acting so shocked? If this were her decision, she would be confirming these statements or staying quiet about it, like everyone else who has decided to leave SM.
Further, this doesn’t seem like an SM problem. Why do I think this has little to do with the label? Because they are still continuing to support her business, they are still using her name under their label, and they plan to debut Jessica as a solo artist. This leads me to believe this has something to do with the group-on a personal level.
Artists do solo activities ALL the time. Many artists around the world have run successful fashion lines as well as continued their careers. Since this is her business, I’m sure she could’ve adjusted her schedule so it wouldn’t interfere with promotion of her music. So why was she not given that chance? At least one chance to prove she can do it?
All of the SNSD members have had solo activities that have interfered with promotions. In fact, many of SM’s artists have. Just look at f(x). Okay, and I will admit that I’ve been seeing Jessica do a whole lot of solo activities lately. But shoot, they haven’t been a part of f(x). That’s all those girls do! And if Jessica has been hanging with baby sis Krystal, I’m sure she’s seen the benefit of securing herself in other areas besides music. SNSD isn’t getting any younger. They need other skills in order to continue their success. But that doesn’t mean she wanted to let her fans down!
And despite what they say about Jessica, she has NEVER missed a fan event! She’s been at all the events, schedules, and promotions, which is more than I can say about other members. So how has she been putting her business before the group? Furthermore, the business is too early on to make that kind of conclusion! She just started a month ago!
SM would not be against the fashion business as much as the members because it brings more money in their pockets, as they own the rights to Jessica’s name and they are funding the business. This has to do with hidden animosity within the group. Someone was not happy with Jessica. And I think it has little to do with the fashion business. SNSD’s Sub-unit, TTS, claimed that they were trying to protect the group’s interests, but that just sounds like Jessica was some sort of threat to them for whatever reason. They shed tears, but it’s hard to tell whether they are crying for Jessica or crying because people are pointing out their unethical move and it’s making them look bad.
Instead of seeing her business as acting against the group, they should’ve looked on the positive side. It actually could’ve promoted Girls’ Generation more! With fashion stores around the world, she would be bringing K-pop to everyone, simple because she was a member! It would’ve been like SNSD merchandise!
They claimed they wanted to make the best decision for the group. But if they were really thinking about the group’s interests as they claimed, they would’ve been thinking logically from a business perspective. They would’ve been thinking about declining sales, fan disappointment, poor customer service, extra work to re-do future performances where Jessica is included, etc. We could tell this was a bad decision. Shortly after, SM’s market value declined sharply! Negotiations, compromises, trying something new, supporting the business by adding some SNSD flavor to the business, like perfume and merchandise-there were so many things that could’ve been done to handle this situation! A group that really valued Jessica would fight to keep her there.
It’s amazing to me that they couldn’t see this opportunity…
SM has so many problems with members LEAVING their company or suing them. Why would they risk another lawsuit with Jessica or simply get rid of a girl that brings in some of their greatest revenue? They wouldn’t make up for loss with a loss! No. They wouldn’t do it without serious pressure to do so from somewhere. The pressure must have been coming from the other members.
I also find it funny that ALL 9 members agreed with this. You mean not one member objected to her being removed? They’ve moved on without her. Only the leader has made comments on it. At least with Kris, all the other members expressed their shock and disappointment.
Why would any of them pressure her to choose when they acted excited about it? Didn’t they understand that this would be a hard decision? That sounds a little like betrayal to me. A fortune-teller did tell Jessica that she had some “untrue” friends…
And yes, we don’t know the whole story. But no matter from what angle you tell this story, the other members are going to look bad. They look like witches in this situation.
Jessica could’ve been a tyrant, hard to work with, or completely neglecting the group in every way. Krystal said she had a strong personality and a bad temper. But if that were the case, couldn’t they have talked to her about her attitude first before jeopardizing the future success of the group? And if she was putting her business before her work, supposedly, why was she at EVERY event? She never missed ONE! They’ve gotten along this long, and we all work with people we can’t get along with. I’m sure the other members have sour points in their personalities. Still, it was not enough to remove her from the group. Why wasn’t an agreement made? Why weren’t the members a little more supportive of her dreams? Why now of all times? Something stinks.
And is it legal for them to remove her without notification or without her agreement? Her contract binds her to SNSD, not anything else. She’s a member and deserves a vote. It’s so rare you find a member fired rather than quitting!
This is the result of poor ethical business practices, and it reveals the mentality of the label, as well as the rest of the members. This much confusion from both parties is alarming. Jessica didn’t expect this, but SM said she chose this. Jessica claimed she secured agreement, but SM said it wasn’t official yet.
This is how I think it went down. Ahem: The agency and her group mates asked Jessica to choose between her business and her music. Jessica said she wasn’t going to make that decision. But Jessica started her business anyway. So, because she went ahead with her business, I guess they assumed Jessica made the decision to put her fashion before music. So, they decided for her and kicked her out of the group. As far as they were concerned, she made her choice. That’s what I think happened.
This is why Jessica should’ve gotten everything in writing. If someone agrees to something, it should be documented and signed. Then, she could prove that SM agreed to it. And thus, she could’ve had a winning lawsuit. But now, there is no telling who we can believe. It’s because she didn’t get it in writing, we have no choice but to believe SM when they said she didn’t secure agreement. I personally believe she told them about it and asked for the go-ahead, even if she can’t prove it. No one would jeopardize their career like that. I bet she’ll remember this in the future. So will I. This reminds me to secure everything I ask for in WRITING.
I just hope Jessica can continue both her music career and her fashion business. She’s good at both. I also hope this doesn’t affect Krystal from f(x).
I honestly don’t know if I respect the group after this. I can’t see them the same. To add, my favorite member was Jessica. She was the only member I followed with interest, and I will continue to.
This all honestly makes me worried about f(x)’s Sulli. I hope she doesn’t leave. I’m very worried. This was my first year being interested in the group, so I’m anxious about it.
This makes me wonder overall. Are these K-pop groups as close-knit as they portray themselves?
The IRONIC PART: Red Velvet just had a comeback with a concept that seemed more suitable for SNSD. It’s so convenient for SM to give Red Velvet songs to cover up their scandals.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about all of these SM scandals!