SM Entertainment and EXO Members End Dispute Ahead of Quick-Approaching Album Release

EXO terminate SM Entertainment contracts
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EXO terminate SM Entertainment contracts
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Photo Credit: Republic of Korea / CC by 2.0

At June’s start, three members of SM Entertainment’s EXO boy band moved to terminate their exclusive contracts with the K-pop agency. Now, following a decidedly public war of words, the involved parties have put the dispute to rest, with Baekhyun, Xiumin, and Chen remaining part of the more than decade-old act.

South Korean media including the Korea Times just recently reported on the “amicable settlement,” which SM Entertainment and the trio of EXO members at hand revealed in a joint statement.

When we last checked in on the contractual disagreement – which continues to spur criticism and protests from ticked-off EXO diehards – an anonymous SM employee was taking aim at (among other things) the appropriate artists’ alleged mistreatment of employees. Not long thereafter, EXO fanatics penned a firmly worded open letter to SM management, calling out the Kakao-partnered company’s alleged “misleading statements in the media.”

In spite of these points and the alleged violations of South Korean entertainment law identified by Baekhyun, Xiumin, and Chen, the dispute looks to be in the rearview, as initially mentioned.

“We are glad to announce that SM and the three artists have resolved our differences and reached a mutually amicable settlement,” the company and the professionals communicated. “We will make negotiations and modifications to our contracts and further solidify our relationships.”

SM Entertainment execs likewise emphasized a desire to “bolster our cooperation with our artists” – and, in turn, prevent similar situations – moving forward. Interestingly, given the ultra-competitive K-pop landscape, higher-ups also said they’d received and then (via discussions with EXO) uncovered the truth about “a tip-off that a third party with an improper motive was trying to approach our artists.”

While the business’s stock (KOSDAQ: 041510) has rebounded in value by over 11 percent during the last five trading days, to ₩121,900 (currently $94.59) per share, some EXO supporters don’t appear ready to move past their hard feelings about SM.

“I just don’t understand what exactly is the beef of sm with exo,” penned one such follower of the K-pop act, which is expected to release its seventh studio album, Exist, on July 10th. “You got the BEST singers in a single group, the group became the biggest group that ever came out of that company yet the company HAS never supported them once like the sabotage is crazy I hate sm so much.”

In other K-pop news, BTS agency Hybe is reportedly raising close to $400 million to bankroll an international acquisition, and the company’s own stock (KRX: 352820) cracked a 52-week high price of ₩307,500 ($238.76) per share earlier this month.