SM Entertainment has responded to statements that EXO member Baekhyun made in a livestream about new music and the founding of his own company.
On Monday (August 7), the K-pop idol went live on his personal Instagram account to address speculation on his finances by Korean netizens. In the livestream, Baekhyun revealed that he had personally founded a company, tentatively named One Signature, with a friend, and that he had taken out a ₩13billion (approximately £77,500) loan for it.
“It’s a company I started with my friend Kasper at the thought of wanting to grow many good choreographers and dancers. It has yet to be made concrete, but I am researching a lot and trying different things to make good results with good purpose,” he said, as translated by Soompi.
During his Instagram Live, Baekhyun also touched on the antitrust complaint he filed against SM Entertainment alongside bandmates Chen and Xiumin in June. “I have always been curious about settlement and contract-related matters for a long time,” he said in the livestream. “In the midst of that, we were faced with various situations due to Lee Soo-man’s absence, and I think that made me more curious.”
The trio and SM resolved the dispute, which was said to be about unfair contract terms, later that month. In the stream, per YonhapBaekhyun described his current relationship with SM Entertainment as amicable: “There are rules within the company that must be adhered to. As I now understand SM’s position, and the same goes for SM, we are supporting each other through amicable agreements and compromises.”
He also claimed that SM was aware of his decision to launch One Signature, saying that it “positively support[ed]” his new endeavour. “This decision wasn’t made solely on my own,” he assured fans, confirming that he will remain with the agency and continue activities with EXO as he navigates the new venture.
Yesterday (August 9), however, SM said it had not known of Baekhyun’s new company. “Our company had never heard anything about this before, and we learned about it through the news,” the agency said in an official statement, per Soompi. “Although we are flustered [by the sudden news]we trust that [Baekhyun] will keep the promises he made during our mutual agreement.”
SM also said that it was preparing a solo album for Baekhyun with a view to release it this year – despite the idol saying in his livestream that he was not putting out a record so he could explore production and do more preparation before releasing new music. “The reason why I’m not releasing an album is not because I’ve lost my initial mindset but because I think that this is a very important period in my life,” he said.
Baekhyun’s contract with SM runs until January 2024, according to the agency’s statement. SM also said that it came to an agreement with Baekhyun, Chen and Xiumin to resolve their antitrust complaint “in order to preserve the group EXO and all of its members, and above all else, for the sake of the fans”.
If the three members’ dispute with the agency had continued, SM said, it would have been “difficult” to promote their comeback album, ‘Exist’, which was released last month and marked their first project as a group in two years (albeit without Kai, who was unable to join in due to his military enlistment).
“If the dispute had continued, it would have been difficult to normally promote the album that all of the EXO members had worked hard on, and the future of EXO’s group activities would have become unclear, so we came to an agreement for the sake of the members’ activities as a full group.”
Baekhyun has yet to respond to SM Entertainment’s statement.