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EXO’s Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin to countersue SM Entertainment over royalty fee dispute

EXO members Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin – also known as EXO-CBX – have announced plans to countersue SM Entertainment.

Earlier this week, SM Entertainment filed a civil suit against the EXO’s Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin, alleging that they have been evading a 10 per cent royalty payment for two months. The news came shortly after the trio’s agency INB100 claimed in a press conference that SM was making an “unfair” demand of 10 per cent of their earnings.

SM Entertainment in its statement said that “CBX’s nonsensical actions cannot be tolerated anymore”, while claiming that both parties had agreed to the 10 per cent royalty fee in a contract that was signed in June 2023 after an earlier dispute.

Today (June 14), Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin shared their intentions to countersue SM Entertainment and report the K-pop agency to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) of Korea in response to the lawsuit.

According to The Korea Times, the trio alleged that SM Entertainment had demanded the 10 per cent royalty fee from them despite not honouring their agreement to allow a reduced commission rate of 5.5 per cent for music distributed through Kakao Entertainment, a subsidiary of SM’s parent company, Kakao.

“We proposed a compromise to pay for the use of SM [Entertainment]’s music and EXO’s brand name, instead of 10 per cent of our revenue, during the press conference, but the company ignored this,” they said in a statement per the news outlet.

They added that they were prepared to “disclose everything” since the agency was the first to file a lawsuit against them, including the negotiations that took place during their 2023 dispute. “We’ll file a lawsuit against the company for a settlement of accounts, which we have always been suspicious of,” they said.

The three EXO members filed to terminate their contracts with SM Entertainment last June, citing “mistreatment and unfair contract terms”. The conflict appeared to be resolved after both parties agreed to maintain their existing contracts while the EXO members were allowed to pursue their solo careers under INB100, a label founded by Baekhyun.

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