Friday, July 16, 2010

SM vows to create better working environment for artists

Major South Korean talenthouse SM Entertainment (SM), pop group Girls' Generation and National Assemblyman Cho Moon-hwan have taken action to establish a better working environment for artists in the Korean entertainment industry.

The agency on Tuesday held a proclamation ceremony at Cho's office, where they announced that SM and Cho's team will join forces to protect the rights of artists and set up a mutually beneficial contract system across the industry.

The ceremony was attended by SM president Kim Young-min as well as Girls' Generation, the biggest name represented by the agency. Solo male singer Kang-ta participated in a press conference after the ceremony.

Cho, who sits on the National Policy Committee, has been looking into the conventional contract system between talent agencies and their artists since the annual government audit session held last October.

He had asked the Fair Trade Commission to carry out a thorough investigation into major entertainment agencies as well as smaller agencies, making sure the management contracts do not include any inappropriate content such as invasion of the artists' privacy.

Cho had continuously placed requests for an environment where a healthy contractual relationship could be formed between the artist and the agency.

During the months leading up to the proclamation ceremony, SM and Cho had discussed on several occasions how they can protect the rights of entertainers and create solutions that will benefit the industry on the whole.

SM, on its part, explained that it had drawn up contracts which reflected the reality of the entertainment business as well as the legal rights of entertainers, and had them signed with working artists and trainees at the agency.

The two parties have agreed to continue their discussions and cooperation in the matter.

"After putting in a lot of attention and hard work, the contract system in the entertainment industry is slowly seeing changes and moving towards a better environment," Cho was quoted as saying. "I hope that this proclamation ceremony will be an opportunity for more entertainers to recover their rights and create an environment where agencies and artists can trust each other."

"By establishing mutually beneficial contracts between artists and the agency, we will work harder in not only promoting the industry by expanding [the influence of] Hallyu (Korean Wave) but also creating added value for the country," said Kim Young-min, president of SM.

Founded in 1995 by former singer Lee Soo-man, SM quickly became one of the most influential talent agencies in Korea. Lee, who stepped down from SM's board of directors in February, has created and masterminded the successful careers of numerous K-pop artists including BoA, Fly To The Sky, H.O.T., SHINee, Super Junior and TVXQ.

SM also manages many songwriters, music producers, comedians and actors including Ara, Choi Jung-yoon and Lee Yeon-hee.


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