1st June 2023 – (Seoul) EXO members Baekhyun, Xiumin, and Chen have notified SM Entertainment that they are terminating their contracts with the agency due to mistreatment and unfair contract terms. The artists’ attorney, Lee Jae-hak, announced the decision on Thursday, citing the agency’s refusal to provide sufficient payment data and its offer of excessively long contract terms.
According to Lee, SM Entertainment has been refusing to provide papers on how the EXO members have been paid since their debut, despite multiple requests from the singers. Lee emphasised that it is the artist’s basic right to demand clear and precise proof of how payment has been made, and SM Entertainment is required to abide by the law. However, the agency has maintained that such data cannot be shared.
In addition to the payment issue, Lee noted that SM Entertainment has offered the singers 12- to 13-year contracts, which is longer than the standard 7-year contract recommended by the government. A standard contract is usually based on seven years, and an artist has the right to terminate the contract if it surpasses the 7-year threshold. The excessively long contract terms offered by SM Entertainment have been a contentious issue in the K-pop industry for years, with many artists speaking out against them.
EXO is a nine-member boy band that debuted in 2012 under SM Entertainment and is one of the most popular third-generation K-pop boy bands. Over the years, the group has amassed a huge following both in South Korea and internationally, with their music and performances captivating fans around the world.