3 EXO members to stay with SM Entertainment, resolving contract dispute

June 19, 2023

Three members of K-pop boy group EXO have decided to maintain their exclusive contracts with SM Entertainment after resolving differences over a contract issue, both sides said Monday.

Baekhyun, Xiumin and Chen of the nine-piece group had been in a dispute with the K-pop powerhouse over what they claimed were excessively long contracts and the agency’s lack of transparency in financial settlements.

SM, however, had refuted the claim, saying there was nothing wrong with the contracts and the artists were enticed by a third party to sign double contracts with a new agency.

Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin of K-pop boy group EXO (Yonhap)
Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin of K-pop boy group EXO (Yonhap)

“This company and the three artists resolved their differences caused by misunderstandings and reached a mutual agreement based on smooth communication,” the three members and the K-pop company said in a joint statement.

“Both parties have decided to continue pursuing EXO’s activities more actively and consistently while acknowledging and maintaining the contracts,” they said, adding that parts of the contracts were modified to align with each other’s position.

They, however, did not give further details of the agreement.

According to the joint statement, SM also acknowledged that its claim about the double contracts was based on incorrect information and apologized to those involved.

The agreement is anticipated to result in a prompt resolution of the dispute.

Earlier this month, the trio took its case to the Fair Trade Commission, a government regulatory body tasked with overseeing unfair trade practices. This action raised concerns that the dispute could escalate into a legal battle, potentially disrupting the group’s ongoing projects.

EXO is scheduled to drop “Exist,” its seventh full-length album, next month.