After three members of Dong Bang Shin Ki filed for a Exclusive Contract Validity Suspension and Provisional Disposition Request and revealed the ugly truth behind their contracts, a storm has begun in the entertainment business.
The attention has spread to other entertainment agencies that debut singers as Asia’s top idol group and Korea’s top entertainment agency have a dispute over contracts; the scandalous debate of ‘slave contracts’ between celebrities and their agencies continues.
What is going on in the Kpop Industry?
It was found that Girls’ Generation’s Yoona‘s contract was the same length as TVXQ‘s 13-year contract. The members of Super Junior each have a contract that lasts between 5 and 13 years. The contracts of the members of ‘SHINee‘ lasted from 6 to 13 years. This singers all work under SM Entertainment.
One member of Super Junior, which is comprised of 13 members, had a phone conversation with Daily Sports on the 3rd an said, “Even if I wanted to move to another agency, the time left of my contract and the compensation I would have to pay would be too big to handle. We have to split our income into 13 so we don’t get as much as people think we get.” It was found that the members of Super Junior also held a conference regarding the issue as a team after TVXQ‘s issue was known to the public.
In the case of other idol groups, Wondergirls‘ contract with JYP lasts for 7 years while Big Bang’s contract lasts for 5 years with YG Entertainment and SS501‘s contract with DSP Entertainment lasts for 5 years.
This April~May, when the Fair Trade Committee inspected 20 entertainment agencies such as YG and Star Empire, it was found that 230 celebrities under 19 agencies had unlawful clauses in their contracts. They had clauses like, ‘Star must tell Agency of their exact location at all times,’ ‘If Star decides to cancel his/her contract, Star must stop all activities relating to or resulting from Star’s celebrity status,’ ‘Star cannot retire without Agency’s consent.’ The revisions of large entertainment agencies are done and now the middle-sized agencies will be revised.
Idols, the majority in slave contracts?
When it comes to law disputes regarding exclusive contract, it has been more of a dispute with actors more than it has been a dispute with singers. But one director of an entertainment agency said, “The reason that the unlawful exclusive contracts of singers hasn’t been seen much by the public is that the Kpop industry focuses more on the connections one can get rather than having a lawful contract.” He also said, “Everyone knows that a rookie won’t survive if they strike up a problem with their agency,” and “There are probably a lot of singers suffering from unlawful contracts.”
For idol singers, many are in their teens who go through 2~3 years of training. Since it is impossible for them to debut if they do not meet eye to eye with their agencies, they have no choice but to agree to the extreme contracts set up by agencies. Since agencies go by a system in which they raise their trainees from a young age, there have been problems regarding agencies that try to take all that ‘investment money’ back when the singer becomes famous. There has also been a bigger problem in which the few people that do succeed and become stars must compensate for the numerous that don’t (which can add up to be a large number) by compensating for the dropouts’ investment money as well.
Of course, the agencies retaliated with their own reasons for doing so. They say that it would be impossible to run an agency if every singer asked to change their contract when they became famous when billions of Won are invested in each of them during their training stages. But music critic Lim Jinmo said, “If Korean agencies continue to only think of the ‘income’ that their singers will bring and not the rights of their singers, than the TVXQ crisis will repeat itself over and over again,” and “An agency is a company that cannot exist or survive without its singers.”
Source: [is plus + DNBN]
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Thanks to Christine who shared this article..
This is this is a good eyeopener for wannabes and trainees.. But then again the chase for fame may just be too great to resist for many..
And I hope the DBSK case resolves soon. It’s left hanging there!