Artists’ Complaints Pile Up at SM Entertainment

SM Entertainment is facing a significant crisis as multiple artists voice their dissatisfaction, leading to a substantial drop in stock prices and raising concerns about the company’s future. The focus is now on how SM will navigate and resolve these escalating issues.

RED VELVET’s Joy Voices Frustration

On June 24, girl group RED VELVET celebrated their 10th anniversary with a comeback, and their new album Cosmic achieved first place in 41 regions worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong.

However, member Joy publicly expressed her dissatisfaction with SM on a communication platform, sparking controversy. She stated, “They didn’t listen to any of our opinions and told us to wait, only to see a music video with no changes,” expressing her discomfort.

Even before their comeback, Joy hinted at a strained relationship with SM. She questioned SM’s lack of promotion for RED VELVET’s new album, expressing her frustration by saying, “I wonder if it’s supposed to remain a secret, if they forgot to announce it, or if they’re planning to announce it next week.”

With SM yet to renew contracts with all Red Velvet members, these tensions have heightened fans’ anxiety. SM renewed contracts with Seulgi last August and Irene in February this year, but there has been no news about Joy or the other members. The future of RED VELVET remains uncertain, and Joy’s dissatisfaction adds to the concerns.

Precedent of Poor Handling

SM’s handling of artist issues has a precedent. Taeyeon of GIRLS’ GENERATION previously expressed similar dissatisfaction with SM. In October 2019, when her solo song Spark was released later than scheduled, Taeyeon voiced her frustration on social media. SM responded by apologizing for the delay, but Taeyeon’s reaction highlighted her discontent.

SHINee and TVXQ have also faced similar issues, with delayed releases and errors in music videos that required re-editing and re-releasing.

These conflicts are just the tip of the iceberg. SM is also embroiled in a legal battle with EXO’s Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin (CBX). Although EXO-CBX signed new contracts with SM, allowing them to pursue personal activities outside the company with certain conditions, tensions have escalated recently.

On June 12, SM sued CBX to honour their contract, and on June 14, CBX countersued SM for unpaid settlement fees. CBX accused SM of not fulfilling an agreement to guarantee a 5.5% distribution fee through Kakao and refused to pay SM 10% of their personal earnings.

SM Entertainment countered by accusing CBX’s agency INB100 of tampering, further intensifying the conflict. As this dispute shows signs of prolonging, EXO fans are increasingly anxious about the group’s future.

Impact on Fans and Artists

The public complaints and criticisms from SM’s artists are confusing fans. Fans expect their favourite artists to be actively supported by their agency, enabling them to focus on their activities. Frequent complaints against SM can reduce the artists’ activities and alienate fans.

Without fans, there are no artists; without artists, there is no agency. SM Entertainment must take these issues seriously before it’s too late.

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