Payola Accusations

Three Korean entertainment companies filed a complaint on Aug. 7 with the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office against certain management companies, alleging that the companies are illegally manipulating Korean music charts to benefit their artists.

Photo: AP Photo
Expo 2012, Yeousu, South Korea

The three companies, SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment, along with another company, Star Entertainment Empire, that did not participate in the suit, have been saying that these management companies pay outside consultants to download or stream their artists’ songs in bulk online so as to push their position higher on the Korean music charts.

They want the prosecutor’s office to investigate the matter thoroughly. In addition to earning more royalties for the management companies, these alleged practices gain the relevant artists greater exposure on television music shows.

The three companies that filed the complaint, it should be noted, are the three biggest talent management companies in South Korea, and claim that the illegal practice is placing them “at a disadvantage.”

A spokesperson for YG, which manages 2NE1Psy and G-Dragon, probably the three most popular K-pop artists in the world right now, told media that the practice also “hurt the credibility of music charts.”