[WS] ‘Liberal’ overseas strategy, ‘Narrow-minded’ domestic operation… Two faces of SM?
Strange things arose from the ‘1st Asian Song Festival’, which was held November 2004. On the eve of the festival, Hallyu star singer Tony An, who was supposed to host the show, announced that he would not be doing so. Because the organizer initially asked him to host and perform at the festival but suddenly told him not to perform, Tony An said that there was no point in just hosting, hence rejecting the request. At that time, the key participating members of the festival were singers under SM Entertainment. Netizens protested that there were senior-level figures from SM among the board members of the Korean Federation for International Culture Exchange, which had organized the festival. They questioned if SM tyrannized Tony An in order to promote singers who were under its management.
In 2005, a well-known music program suddenly vanished. A person involved claimed that SM had something to do with it. A staff from the broadcasting company said, “SM ceased the appearance of its singers on the program, showing how much it wanted the program to stop”.
SM is the biggest agency in South Korea. It is practically impossible for SM singers to stop appearing everywhere on public and cable TV. SM not only has influence in domestic broadcast, but also in the world’s second largest music industry, Japan. In the mid-1990s, the CEO of a huge agency who had successful actors under its management threatened a reporter by saying, “If you don’t stop reporting, I will immediately stop the actors in my agency from appearing in the drama.” A huge agency, which manages its top stars in this way, has more influence than one imagines.
Among the big agencies, SM often boasts about its methods being the most systematic in terms of its relationship with the mass media, method of content distribution, training of its singers, etc. Under the table, SM backstabs singers who left the agency. JYJ, who emerged after the separation of TVXQ is a typical example of such treatment.
After SM and JYJ began their lawsuit, JYJ have to live their lives covered with scars. They are frequently barred from appearing on music and artistic talent programs and were denied from appearing on ‘KBS Jeju 7 Wonders Special Live Broadcast’, among many other instances. Such situations, which are difficult to understand when using common sense, continue to occur. Last fall, the screening of JYJ’s ‘The Day’, a documentary about their daily lives and which was set to air on cable channel QTV suddenly went up in smoke, even though the trailer for the documentary was already made. [Might be some confusion in the article – More recently, just this past week, there was more controversy when the same documentary got pulled from CGV theatres right after its public announcement confirming screening information, and despite contracts having been signed.]
Frankly speaking, what broadcasting company would willingly reject top stars like JYJ? Many netizens and people related to broadcasting believe that SM caused the revolt and ‘suffering of JYJ’. They are keeping a concerned eye on the situation. What the fans of Hallyu hope for is actual logic, rather than a “magnanimous and tolerant attitude” that accepts everything [even the wrong thing].