Strange things arose from the ‘1st Asian Song Festival’, which was held on November 2004. On the eve of the festival, Hallyu star singer Tony An, who was supposed to host it, announced that he would not do so. It was because the organizer initially asked him to host and perform on the festival, but suddenly told him not to perform. Tony An said that there was no point in just hosting it, hence he rejected the request. At that time, the key participating members of the festival were singers under SM Entertainment. Netizens simultaneously protested that there were senior-level figures from SM among the board members of Korean Federation for International Culture Exchange that organized the festival. They also questioned if SM tyrannized Tony An in order to promote singers who were under its management.
In 2005, a terrestrial musical 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 on public and cable TV everywhere. SM not only has influence in domestic broadcast, but also in the world’s second music industry, Japan, Europe and the United States. In the mid-1990s, the CEO of a huge agency who had successful actors under its management threatened a reporter who went to cover a report by saying, “If you don’t stop reporting, I will immediately stop the actors in my agency from appearing in the drama.” The huge agency, which manages its top stars in this way, has more influence than one imagines.
Among the big agencies, SM is boastful about its system being the most systematic in terms of its relationship with the mass media, method of content distribution, training of its singers, etc. Silently, SM backbites singers who left the agency. JYJ, who emerged after the separation of TVXQ is a typical example of backbiting.
After SM and JYJ started their lawsuit, JYJ have to live their lifes, covered with scars. They were frequently barred from appearing on music and artistic talent programs and denied from appearing on ‘KBS Jeju 7 Wonders Special Live Broadcast’, etc. Such siituations, which are difficult to understand using common sense, continued to occur. Recently, the screening of JYJ’s ‘The Day’, a documentary about their lives, on cable channel QTV suddenly went up in smoke. The trailer for the documentary has already been made.
Frankly, which broadcasting company will reject top stars like JYJ? Many netizens and people related to broadcasting believe that SM caused the revolt and ‘suffering of JYJ’. With concern, they are keeping an eye on the situation. What the fans of Hallyu hope for is strong logic rather than a magnanimous and tolerant attitude to accept everything.