SM Entertainment Sues Former EXO Members, EXO Countersues Immediately

SM Entertainment sues EXO members, former EXO members countersue
  • Save

SM Entertainment sues EXO members, former EXO members countersue
  • Save
Photo Credit: Republic of Korea / CC by 2.0

Last week SM Entertainment moved forward with a lawsuit against former EXO members Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin—collectively performing now as EXO-CBX. The lawsuit demands that EXO-CBX fulfill their contractual obligations to SM Entertainment as outlined last year during the settlement process.

EXO-CBX renewed their contracts with SM Entertainment in December 2022. However, in June 2023 the three members filed for the termination of those contracts, claiming unfair terms. A legal dispute between SM Entertainment and EXO-CBX carried on for about a month before EXO-CBX settled with SM Entertainment.

Under the terms of that agreement, the three former members would promote under SM Entertainment for EXO group activities—while maintaining their freedom for individual promotions under their new label. For the duration of the contract, 10% of all sales made by the new label are to be paid to SM Entertainment.

In January 2024, Baekhyun started his independent label INB100, which lists himself, Chen, and Xiumin as artists. All was quiet from the EXO-CBX group until June 10, when the trio held a press conference deriding the agreement to pay 10% of all sales to SM Entertainment as part of its settlement contract. EXO-CBX also accuses SM Entertainment of not paying 5.5% album distribution fee from album sales and streaming, another clause in the settlement contract.

“The receipt of 10% of all sales by the independent labels was a standard set by the court during SM Entertainment’s previous lawsuit against the Chinese members of EXO and therefore it is considered a reasonable payment based on precedents,” SM Entertainment said in a statement in response to the press conference. Now EXO-CBX members have launched a countersuit against SM Entertainment.

“We proposed a compromise to pay for the use of SM’s music and EXO’s brand name, isntead of 10% of our revenue, during the press conference, but [SM Entertainment] ignored this,” the trio said in their statement announcing the lawsuit. “Since SM was the first to file a lawsuit, we will disclose everything, including last year’s negotiation process and engage actively. We’ll file a lawsuit against the company for a settlement of accounts—which we have always been suspicious of.”