If Park Gyu-Ri didn’t see this coming, who did?
The world of KPOP has been blasted with news that one of it’s darling girl groups is pulling a DBSK and filing to terminate their contracts with their company.
- Han Seung-Yeon, Goo Ha-Ra, Jung Nicole, and Kang Ji-Young are filing to terminate their contracts with DSP Media.
- Park Gyu-Ri is not.
- DSP Media has filed an application to trademark KARA‘s name.
- DSP Media is seeking legal action against the members of KARA seeking to terminate their contracts.
- The lawyers representing the member’s of KARA that are filing for lawsuit are citing “pain” and “psychological damages” and a “relationship [that] has been destroyed” as their reasons for filing such a suit.
- Gyuri was not informed that this was going to happen.
- KARA brought in $18 million dollars with their Japanese promotions but have only received $3,000 as a result due to specific clauses in DSP’s contract with Japanese distributors, which is typical of a Korean act entering the Japanese market.
- Members of KARA have been approached by another agency and asked them to join their agency. Gyuri’s mother refused such an offer claiming “could not betray DSP”
When members and their mother asked for appropriate documentation (aka documentation that proves that everything is legal and KARA is not being cheated out of money), DSP claims that appropriate documentation was presented.
My personal thoughts: This is sad. KARA was gaining immense popularity in Japan and Korea and this inevitable legal battle will definitely put that momentum on hold.
But I must say, I am neither a KARA fan or anti-fan. However, for fans and anti-fans that are taking this opportunity to jump to conclusions, I feel the need to bring a couple of things to your attention.
- It is no secret that the KPOP entertainment agencies has significantly more power than the artists they represent. KPOP artists are held under multi-year contracts and receive a small portion of the profits they gather. However, it is has always been my firm opinion that a) This is not surprising and b) This is not necessarily unjust. KPOP artists are frequently compared to American artists for a variety of reasons: Korean artists have longer contracts and gain a smaller profit, but they also do not compose their songs, produce their own music, write their own lyrics, choreograph their own dances, and receive a long and intensive training period that could have done someone like Miley Cyrus some good. A lot of people put in a lot of effort into producing our favorite KPOP acts and this is the reality: those people need to get paid also. I am neither saying that KARA deserves to be paid so little nor that the company deserves to be paid so much. I am saying that how much a Korean artist makes and an American artist makes really isn’t comparable. And let’s not forget the huge population gap in both markets.
- Since this is a 4 to 1 split, there are four members on one side and another member on another side. Besides the fact that it seems sketchy, the one thing it also says: There are two sides to a story. No one knows if DSP’s claims are accurate and no one knows if KARA’s claims are accurate. Fans of KARA will defend their artists and fans of the capitalist business model in Korea will defend DSP Media. But beyond the bullets I have noted in my “FACT” section, none of those claims can be supported with documentation that is public knowledge. If this situation is to be handled carefully and elegantly, everyone needs to stop jumping the gun and calling DSP Media evil and the members of KARA ungrateful.
- Distribution does actually cost A LOT of money. I have worked at Universal Music Group (the same company that manages KARA in Japan) and, I can tell you as someone who knows what they’re talking about, that it is the most expensive part of the musical process so the 85% divide is not shocking at all, especially for a rookie act.
- There is no excuse for mistreating a human being; I don’t care if you’re DSP Media or the the guy who cut me off when I was driving this morning, treating someone with distrust, dishonesty, and disrespect is inexcusable. I agree, KARA does owe DSP Media a lot; after they gave them the opportunities to get them where they are today. However, if KARA’s allegations are true, that does not mean that they are being ungrateful, little brats. They are fighting for basic human rights. If KARA is unhappy, then who is anyone to stop them? Of course, their are repercussions (fees and legalities) that must be faced but so what?
Unfortunately, in situations like this, fans are left with a great deal of uncertainty. A lot of claims and unprovable statements are made leading fans to think one thing and then another. But the biggest bit of uncertainty, is what will become of the group. Time will tell.