It’s been a successful past few months for YG Entertainment – 2NE1 exploded onto the music scene, and G-Dragon’s first solo effort is already the best-selling album of 2009. But, as a once-great multi-monikered rapper once said about success: “‘Mo’ money, mo’ problems.” Persistent plagiarism allegations have been lobbed at the company as of late, a dark cloud dampening what should be a period of celebration for the company. But Yang Hyun-Seok has finally decided to speak out, addressing his and the company’s stance on all the controversies, and has released an open letter to the public:
Hi, It’s Yang Hyun-Seok.
For the past few months, there were way too many rumours and misunderstanding regarding YG Entertainment.
Frankly speaking, we kept our words, because we did not think it was right to defend against every single rumours.
I am feeling deeply sorry for burdening you with our silence, and decided to explain ourselves.
I will answer the questions as if we were in an interview setting.
There has been an issue of plagiarism regarding G-Dragon’s solo album title song, Heartbreaker.
How come YG has not released an official statement regarding this issue?
– Apart from the part of this issue, as a person who loves music, and as a producer who is taking part in improving
popular music industry, I apologize from deep below. The reason why YG and G-Dragon did not release a statement
up till now, is because we heard that the publishing companies have sent the music file to the original composer,
and we have been waiting for a reply.
We did not think it was right to release our opinion before the composers have.
It was broadcasted on “News magazine 2580 (시사매거진 2580)” that Sony ATV has sent a warning to
YG entertainment. What is YG’s response?
– First of all, we are very upset towards Sony ATV. Everything they do, they try to justify it in the media as an
official statement. I do not know whether they sent the warning to YG or they sent it to broadcast it in the media
in the first place.
To the makers of music, the word ‘plagiarism’ represents the worst honour. Even if the composers say ‘it isn’t
plagiarized’, it remains as unhealed deep wounds to those involved. In case of “Heartbreaker”, the other publishing
companies owning 90% of the rights have remained silent, whereas Sony, owning 10% of the rights, have released
their “official statement” on the media.
A few days ago, a lawyer from Sony ATV was interviewed with “News magazine 2580″, and told that they have sent
a warning to YG entertainment. The only thing YG is concerned about, is that the public is thinking as if YG has
been sued from the composers and YG is in a deep trouble. Contrary to the public’s belief, the warning Sony ATV
sent to YG is nothing but mere document they could send hundreds of copies per day. It contained no opinions of
the composers themselves, it looked like it was quickly made to be broadcasted. Apart from the lawyer of Sony ATV,
there was the president of Sony ATV Korea, Heo Young-Ah. You need to remember that she appeared as a board
member for Korean Music Publishing Association; she concealed her identity as the president of Sony ATV Korea.
Ever since this issue of plarigiarism broke out, YG has never asked for anything from Sony ATV. We did not want to
resolve this issue without the public knowing. If there needs to be any legal actions taken, YG will try its best, and is
not afraid a bit. However, we have heard that Sony ATV has only two to three people working, and we have been
concerned with that. “Are they able to contact the composers directly?” “Are the original composers interested in
this matter at all?” For nearly a month, we have not heard a single word from the composers, and we are doubting
for a bit.
In the warning Sony ATV sent to YG, there are not only G-Dragon’s “Heartbreaker” and “Butterfly”, but also
2NE1’s “I Don’t Care” and Big Bang’s Japanese song, “With U”. We were surprised to see new songs being accused,
but we will think it as Sony’s new strategies, thinking that accusing G-Dragon alone is not enough. For the cases
of “I Don’t Care” and “With U”, they are the works of YG’s main producers, Teddy and Perry. Teddy has been a
producer for 10 years, and Perry has been for 15 years. There are hundreds of songs they composed and
produced. Among them, there may be cases they might be accused, but for the past 10 years, there has been any
accusations for their works. They remained in YG despite the countless scoutings from others. They have high pride
s of their music, and are hurt deeply from Sony ATV’s hush press releases. Their hurt pride is not able to be healed
fast, and YG has been accused full of “composers who plagiarize” in the public. To be honest, I think because they
are famous and both producers, Sony ATV is using them for their advantage.
Sony ATV has accused that G-Dragon’s “Butterfly” has copied OASIS’ “She’s Electric” for having similar parts.
The musician who appeared on “News magazine 2580″ stated that the parts the two songs are similar are 2 bars,
panning approximately 5 seconds. But he also stated that because that is the main sequence melody, it may be a
Then, I think I get to ask you a question as well.
A few days ago, Mariah Carey’s new song, “Standing O” teaser was released on youtube. Comparing this song to
“I don’t care”, you get 8 bars of similar parts. It is 24 seconds, instead of 5 seconds, also has it as its major motive,
and adding up the similar parts together, results in approximately 1 minute. What is Sony ATV’s opinion towards this song? I don’t know, but I am sure that you can’t easily say that Mariah Carey has plagiarized 2NE1’s song that was
released 3 months ago, although it contains longer and clearer motives from “I Don’t care”.
I have thought reversely as well. “What if this was G-Dragon’s music? What if it was the other way around?”
It is quite scary.
Although embarrassing to admit, the music Sony ATV presented for “I Don’t Care”, none of the composers nor
myself have heard the song, because it isn’t the type of music we listen to in the first place. Upon Sony ATV’s
standards, if you were to put together pieces of any music together by force, I do not think any music could be
innocent in your standards. If protecting the rights of publishers is Sony ATV’s job, you should also take a note that
other publishers’ dignity and rights are just as important.
Because Sony ATV released such rash public statements, YG and G-Dragon had to receive more sarcastic remarks
and offensive responses, but we decided not to release our statement towards Sony ATV through the media. It is
because we respected your company, NOT because we did not have anything to say. The first and last proposal
from YG to Sony ATV, is that please deliver us the opinions from the original composers to YG, and stop releasing
unconfirmed statement to the media before anything finalizes. If the 4 songs you warned YG are proved to be
innocent in the near-future, you should be prepared to see YG’s reaction.
Where does YG stand in this plagiarism issue?
– In my opinion, all the arguments and discussions could be seen different depending on the views and the viewers.
So, I cannot explain my personal opinion of whether it was influenced by other songs or not.
However, in the centre of attention, there is “Heartbreaker”. This issue emerged above the surface because it had
similar rap-flow as Flo Rida’s Right Round. Right Round is an extremely famous song even in Korea, and recently
another Korean artist has sung it with translation, and appeared on the media. It is impossible that the composers
at YG and G-Dragon tried to go around their way to plagiarize. It is impossible, because with the internet and all,
everything gets revealed quickly.
Many expressed their concerns, “Why did G-Dragon do this? For the rappers who write and rap, it shouldn’t be hard
to fix a few verses and re-recording”, and “How come did Yang Hyun-Seok, Teddy, Perry and Kush never mention
that to G-Dragon?” It isn’t because we were trying to fool the public, but the other way around. I did not expect
such a stir among the public, and I think I should be 100 folds more responsible than G-Dragon as the executive
producer. I am truly sorry to G-Dragon and his fans who are burdened alone.
Any more wrongs from the media and misunderstandings?
– YG never released a statement that “Heartbreaker is G-Dragon’s solo-composed piece. Would the public like this
piece if this was a plagiarized piece?”. This is absurd and truly psychotic. Due to high interest to Big Bang and
2NE1, there are many unsaid things being reported to the media, and rumours are creating more rumours. Because
i do not socialize as much, there are haters and misunderstandings happening frequently.
Recently, KBS Radio boycotted all the YG music from being played on the air, and because 2NE1’s manager declined
an interview request, one newspaper continuously pours out articles containing some crap about YG.
Even yesterday, he wrote that “Yang Hyun-seok is loving his artists in the wrong way”. For the past three months,
there are over 30 articles he wrote against YG. I think the saying, ‘you never get tired’ suits him for sure. I think it
is maybe because he has too much love and interest towards YG.
Mere entertainment companies can’t fight against media corporations. It is also hard to lobby them to put on
better articles. I try to think to groom myself first instead of talking badly of others these days.
There are opinions which claim that “the issue has elevated because YG has been covering G-Dragon
as a genius composer”. What do you think about this?
– The funny thing is, for the past 9 years G-Dragon has resided in YG, never I nor YG called him as a genius
composer. I am known to be cold and objective from my artists. The fans know that I am not that kind of person
complementing the artists often. In opposite, the fans were upset because I talked about G-Dragon’s collaboration
process with others.
There are around 60 songs which G-Dragon took part in compositing and writing lyrics. Usually he wrote the lyrics
by himself, but when composing music, he collaborated with many people. The reason is because he has been
really busy to take time arranging the songs. When G-Dragon was 16 years old, I have used my own personal
money to get him some musical gear, and G-Dragon has made many hiphop tracks, but because Big Bang debuted
and had rigorous schedule, it had been stopped. I heard that there are 10 people holding license for “Right Round”.
It is such an ordinary way of composing music with others.
A few months ago, it is important to be able to arrange songs you have composed, but it is also important to make
the melodies and lyrics, and designing the structure of the song as a whole. They are important because they
cannot be only learned. You need that sense of gift for that part.
The term ‘genius’ does not suit the 22-year-old composer, and nor does he want it. The reason why so many
people have their hopes for him, is not because he is a genius, but because he has his unique style and sense
towards music. Extraordinary 13-year-old boy has become the G-Dragon of today, and people see him in the long
run and in his potential from today.
There are sayings that this issue is part of the marketing for YG.
– First of all, YG is not that clever to come up with a marketing plan like this.
Especially for G-Dragon, he was receiving enough attention as the leader of famous idol group in Korea, and for
releasing his ever-first solo album. He is even cutting off the appearance on the stage…
There are also rumours that you are having troubles with one broadcasting company, because your
artists are not appearing on the stage.
– Whenever I hear about these rumours, I feel bad towards the broadcasting company. I think this was derived
because of YG’s marketing scheme of appearing only 1 show per week. YG is only concerned about the best
program for its artists, we do not try to make better connection with the broadcasting companies. We are not
ignoring the broadcasting company, nor does the company boycotting the appearance of YG artists. In the eyes of
broadcasting company, there are way too many artists wanting to appear the show. However, 2NE1 and G-Dragon
has not requested to be on the show… It is only fair that they do not need to cast YG artists from their side.
Again, I apologize for any misunderstandings.
Now, the good news:
– This weekend, we are filming Tae Yang’s music video “Where U At” with Seo Hyung-Seung PD. We know that
his promotion period was extremely short. We are trying to come up with ideas for longer promotion period.
It is being planned that the song will be released with a music video as digital media first. The estimated date for
Tae Yang’s full volume cd is still to be announced. I will keep you posted about Tae Yang soon.
On the first weekend of December, there will be G-Dragon’s solo concert. It will be held in Olympic Gymnastics
Stadium, and there will be two concerts. A detailed notice will be posted up soon, and the ticketing will be done
after the Chinese new year.
That’s it for now. I will try to come back only with the happy news next time.
2009 09 24
This was clearly a major thorn in Yang Hyun-Seok’s side, but it was appropriate and necessary that the company finally release a statement. He addresses a lot of the arguments and accusations floating around the internet, and while I believe he puts many of these claims to rest, no doubt netizens will find more in this letter to nitpick. Hopefully, this will put the whole issue to bed, for a while.
To (better), less serious things: Oh yes, more Taeyang please! I hope all of the hubbub does not hamper his promotional activities, but I greatly enjoyed his first solo effort, and if we can’t have new Big Bang material, this is the next best thing.
Remember, think lovely thoughts, everyone.
I know I will be…
credit: YG World, translation by 코코마탑횽 @bbvipz (tiptop.mireene.com)