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3 EXO members accuse SM of 'unfair' revenue demands, renewing dispute

By Yonhap

Published : June 10, 2024 - 19:38

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From left: Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin (SM Entertainment) From left: Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin (SM Entertainment)

Three members of the popular K-pop group EXO -- Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin -- claimed Monday their agency SM Entertainment is making an "unfair" demand over revenue from their individual activities, reigniting their conflict with the K-pop powerhouse after a year.

They alleged that the agency is unjustly demanding a 10 percent royalty from revenue of their individual activities without fulfilling its end of a behind-the-scenes deal made to resolve the conflict in June last year.

During a press conference at a Seoul hotel, the trio's lawyer, Lee Jae-hak, said SM is violating the terms of the agreement that guaranteed a 5.5 percent 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," Lee said.

The EXO members had renewed their contracts with SM but later notified the company of their intention to terminate the contracts last year. The reasons cited included the failure to provide proper accounting data. The trio subsequently filed an antitrust complaint with the Fair Trade Commission against the agency.

The conflict was temporarily resolved when both parties agreed to maintain the exclusive contracts with SM while allowing the members' individual activities to be independently managed by INB100, the indie label founded by Baekhyun early this year.

Lee emphasized that SM's Chief A&R Officer, Lee Sung-soo, had promised to secure a 5.5 percent distribution commission rate from distributor Kakao for INB100 and this promise led to the agreement signed last year.

The lawyer also revealed that a formal notice was sent to SM in April, pointing out the breach of this promise, but there was no response.

He demanded SM acknowledge the failure to uphold the 5.5 percent commission rate and refrain from demanding 10 percent of personal revenue.

"Since the agreement is no longer meaningful, we will consider either canceling the agreement on the grounds of fraud or terminating it due to nonfulfillment of obligations," he said. The trio will also consider filing complaints with the police and the state antitrust body regarding the agreement process, he warned. (Yonhap)