EXO, one of the most popular K-pop groups, is facing a significant shake-up as three members—Baekhyun, Xiumin, and Chen—have decided to terminate their exclusive contracts with SM Entertainment, their agency. The news of their departure has sent shockwaves through the K-pop scene and has raised questions about the future of the group.
The members, represented by their lawyer Lee Jae-hak, have accused SM Entertainment of unfair treatment and an abuse of power. They claim that the agency has been pressuring them to extend their contracts, which already span a lengthy 12 to 13 years. This duration exceeds the standard seven-year contract recommended by the government and is seen as a violation of the artists’ rights.
In a statement released by their lawyer, the members expressed their concerns about the agency’s handling of their contracts. They revealed that SM Entertainment failed to provide them with documents detailing how their payment had been calculated during the long contract period. Despite their repeated requests, the agency denied them this information. Feeling mistreated and undervalued, the members decided to take a stand against the unfair practices.
Notably, the members highlighted that their situation is not unique, as many other artists under SM Entertainment also face similar challenges regarding long-term contracts. This revelation suggests a broader issue within the agency and raises questions about its treatment of its artists.
The members are considering escalating the matter by involving the Fair Trade Commission, a government body responsible for protecting fair trade and consumer rights. By taking this step, they hope to shed light on the unjust practices they have experienced and potentially bring about change in the industry.
In response to the members’ announcement, SM Entertainment issued a statement claiming that external forces are influencing the members to disregard their contracts and sign with new agencies. The agency firmly stated that it would take all necessary legal measures to address what it perceives as illegal acts committed by the members.
EXO debuted in 2012 as a 12-member group and quickly gained popularity across Asia with their hit songs like “Wolf” and “Growl.” However, the group has faced member departures in the past, particularly from the Chinese members Luhan, Kris, and Tao. Lay, the last remaining Chinese member, terminated his contract with SM Entertainment in April of the previous year.
The departure of Baekhyun, Xiumin, and Chen comes at a crucial time as the group was preparing to release a new album that would feature all of its current members. With the contract dispute casting uncertainty over their plans, fans and industry insiders are left wondering about the future direction of EXO and how this will impact their music releases and activities.
As the situation unfolds, fans eagerly await further updates and hope that a resolution can be reached between the members and their agency, allowing EXO to continue their musical journey while ensuring fair treatment and rights for all involved.