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Singer, actor Lee Seung-gi embroiled in payment dispute with his agency

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Singer-actor Lee Seung-gi / Courtesy of HUMAN MADE
Singer-actor Lee Seung-gi / Courtesy of HUMAN MADE

By Dong Sun-hwa

Singer and actor Lee Seung-gi has been mired in a payment dispute with his management agency, Hook Entertainment, which has been representing him since his debut in 2004. The 35-year-old claims he has not received any payment for the digital streams of his songs over the past 18 years.

According to local media outlet Dispatch, Lee made about 9.6 billion won ($7.08 million) from the digital streams of his music from October 2009 to September 2022. His profit from 2004 to early 2009 could not be identified due to lost data, but considering his remarkable performance on major music streaming charts during that time, the total profit he has made since 2004 is estimated to be more than 10 billion won.

Lee, who burst onto the music scene with his first full-length album, "The Dream of a Moth," has commercially released 27 albums and 137 songs to date. Some of his mega-hits include, "Because You're My Woman" (2004), "Will You Marry Me" (2009), "Let's Break Up" (2009) and "Return" (2012).

He was supposed to be paid 5.8 billion won from Hook Entertainment based on their contract, but he reportedly did not receive any money. Dispatch added that the company did not even show him its payment records, slamming him for "requesting too many things despite being an unprofitable singer."

Lee's legal representative, law firm Bae, Kim & Lee, said Monday that he sent an official document to Hook Entertainment on Nov. 15, demanding it discloses the breakdown of its payments to him.

In the wake of the controversy, Hook Entertainment's CEO Kwon Jin-young released a statement on Monday, saying she would take full responsibility if she or her company are found to be legally responsible.

"There have been some bad stories about me and my company in the media, and whether they are true or not, I feel ashamed about this," reads the statement. "We are currently checking the facts … If I and Hook are found to be legally responsible, we will not dodge the bullet."

Hook also represents veteran singer Lee Sun-hee, actor Lee Seo-jin and actress Park Min-young.
Dong Sun-hwa sunhwadong@koreatimes.co.kr


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