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Three EXO members to file countersuit against SM over financial settlement

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Members of K-pop boy group EXO-CBX Baekhyun, left, Xiumin, center, and Chen / Courtesy of INB100

Members of K-pop boy group EXO-CBX Baekhyun, left, Xiumin, center, and Chen / Courtesy of INB100

Three members of the popular K-pop group EXO — Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin — said Friday they will file a lawsuit against their agency, SM Entertainment, for a settlement of accounts, escalating a recently reignited dispute between the two sides.

The plan comes in response to a lawsuit filed by SM on Wednesday, which seeks to enforce the artists' agreement with the agency.

The conflict was rekindled following a press conference Monday, during which the trio hinted at revoking a year-old agreement if SM failed to fulfill its promise that was set as a precondition for the deal, which had ended the dispute last year.

Under the agreement, the three EXO members, who also have solo careers and perform as EXO-CBX, a subunit of the eight-member boy band under a different agency, are obliged to pay the agency 10 percent of the revenue from their individual activities as a royalty.

However, they have accused SM of only demanding the 10 percent royalty without honoring its pledge to allow a reduced commission rate of 5.5 percent for albums and music distributed through Kakao Entertainment, a subsidiary of SM's parent company, Kakao.

"We proposed a compromise to pay for the use of SM's music and EXO's brand name, instead of 10 percent of our revenue, during the press conference, but the company ignored this," the trio said in a statement released Friday.

"Since SM was the first to file a lawsuit, we will disclose everything, including last year's negotiation process and engage actively. ... We'll file a lawsuit against the company for a settlement of accounts, which we have always been suspicious of."

The EXO members had renewed their contracts with SM but later notified the company of their intention to terminate the contracts in June last year. The reasons cited included the failure to provide proper accounting data. The trio subsequently filed an antitrust complaint with the Fair Trade Commission against the agency.

The conflict was temporarily resolved when both parties agreed to maintain the exclusive contracts with SM while allowing the members' solo careers under INB100, an indie label founded by Baekhyun.

Following Monday's news conference that reignited the dispute, SM claimed that the members should respect the agreement, as they had consented to its terms in exchange for pursuing their solo careers separate from their group activities. (Yonhap)



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