A Delayed Beginning

Asia’s hottest new group, JYJ, was scheduled to release its debut album, The Beginning, Oct. 12, but retail stores, at least, are still waiting for their CDs.

At first, the group’s Korean label, Warner Music Korea, announced Oct. 13 that the delay was due to “internal problems” with album pre-orders.

The label received more than 300,000 presale orders for the “luxury edition” of the album from suppliers worldwide and only had reportedly 99,999 CDs in stock.

Another 300,000 “special edition” copies and 220,000 regular-edition copies were ordered, thus making it difficult for Warner to satisfy all suppliers at once.

However, a more potent reason for the delay is probably the injunction that talent agency SM Entertainment filed in a Seoul court to stop the sale of the album.

SM claims that there has still been no ruling on the exclusive contract that the three members of JYJ had with the agency when they were members of the boy band TVXQ.

Last year, Xiah Junsu, Micky Yoochun and Youngwoong Jaejoong left the group and the agency, complaining of their contract’s Draconian terms. The three are now signed with CJES Entertainment.

Warner Music did not mention anything about the injunction in its comment on the reasons for the delay of The Beginning. However, the digital version of the eight-song, English-language album, which includes input from Kanye West and Rodney Jerkins, was supplied to digital sales sites starting Oct. 14.

To make matters even more complicated for the trio, a group called the Korean Federation of Pop Culture and Art Industry, which purports to represent entertainment organizations in Korea, reportedly has sent letters to broadcast and cable TV stations asking them to not invite JYJ onto their programs.

It also sent letters to online music sites asking them not to sell the new album.

However, within hours of the album’s digital release, several of the songs were already in the Korean Top 10.