SM Entertainment: The ‘Brand’

sm entertainment smtown sm artists idols groups

A few weeks back I wrote about the idea of authenticity that YG Entertainment uses to sell its artists. While I stand by most of my opinions, I feel it comes across as too one sided. I was ready to slam YG and I didn’t stop to consider the ideals of other companies. By other companies I really mean SM Entertainment. They are the yang to YG’s yin. My YG article clearly misses that yang, there is a sense that I prefer a different approach to the YG one, but don’t touch on it. I don’t know if I prefer the approach, but I do prefer SM’s music, so that probably influenced my opinion.

The Asian idol system is a thoroughly transparent one. Fans are allowed to see all elements of how an idol comes to be, their extensive training in not just singing and dancing but acting, PR, and fitness. It is not an entirely glamorous regime, but it’s what it takes to be a star. This transparency means, however, that fans are also under no illusion as to the creators of the music and its authenticity. SM makes no attempt to hide this or push their artists beyond this. So why is SM so popular and yet have no discernible musical figureheads?

Another writer on KultScene got to the heart of this when she wrote about how SM and Disney are very similar companies. It wasn’t totally positive either, equating the recent controversies of SM to Disney’s own troubles with diversity and such. In the context of the companies actual content though, for me, it boils down to the “brand.” These companies are loyal to their brand and what will make their brand the most money. SM has time and again shown that the overall company is more important than any individual. From apparent slave contracts to over-worked idols, no company has had as many high profile departures than SM. The amount of cases show it be a serious problem for young idols and show a lack of understanding from an imposing company.

While groups like Shinhwa and Fly To The Sky left SM after their contracts expired and achieved much success, leaving SM Entertainment prior to the end of the contract has meant difficulties.

The worst of all, of course, is the case where three members left former-quintet TVXQ,  which left Junsu, Jaejoong and Yoochun  (who formed JYJ) unable to attend any Korean television programs. If they do, the station that shows them will potentially not get any SM coverage in the future, losing the station a ton of potential viewers. So JYJ is essentially blacklisted (although Junsu just performed for the first time on television in six years, thanks to EBS.)


 Also on KultScene: What Will SM Entertainment Look Like In 2015?

Like Disney, people have grown to essentially worship the brand of SM. Even after all these controversies, loyalty remains and the fans nearly always side with the group and not the individual. This sort of attitude can lead to a company becoming a Disney-like juggernaut, and that’s a problem. If SM continues growing and accumulating smaller companies, like Woollim Entertainment, they can build a possible monopoly. This might not seem so bad since Woollim has been proceeding business as usual with their affairs, but they’re still under SM’s control. If this continues, the whole Korean music industry would revolve around SM, making it possible that if SM goes under, so does all of K-pop.

Let’s steer away from the dramatics for now and back to a real, current problem for SM: the treatment of individual stars. Maybe it’s not a problem, but just a clear difference in style to YG. Emblematic of SM’s love of the brand, they prioritize cohesive groups over individual talents. It was actually listening to F(x)’s Pink Tape and realizing how replaceable they are as a group that gave me the idea for this article. Yet I still think it is one of the best full length albums in K-pop history. Apart from TVXQ and to a lesser extent, SHINee, all of SM’s groups feature members that could be left out and would make no difference to the quality of their music. Similarly, no group has a defining creative head like G-Dragon, CL or even Bobby, whenever iKon debut. Even TVXQ who are possibly the most talented group in K-pop history, do not have a creative head, merely extremely proficient singers and dancers. This lack of strong individuals shows SM are not interested in people who leave the group or company, in order to shine on their own right as solo artists, overshadowing their previous SM-related efforts. When one of them threatens to possibly do this, they are swiftly taken care of, like former Girls’ Generation member and head of fashion line Blanc & Eclare Jessica Jung.

What about the music these large, anonymous groups are releasing though? This is where it gets tougher to pin SM down. SM is known for creating songs it dubs SMP, SM Music Performance. This is a type of song that is created together as a complete song and performance, which cannot be separated. Essentially, these are incredibly complex songs that go above and beyond what a pop song is expected to be. Examples are SNSD’s I Got A Boy and TVXQ’s Rising Sun. What’s really interesting though is that these are the type of songs that big brands would never dream of releasing. They play with structure in strange ways and swap genre without any notice. Pop songs were designed to lull you into security, make you feel at ease so you won’t go against the system. SM does the opposite and its makes for an interesting case.

To find out why SM does this though, is not easy to find out. We can look at the producers of the songs. A lot of them are outside producers, people like Teddy Riley, Will Simms and The Stereotypes. SM would not let them produce such weird tracks without their consent though, and probably would have even specifically picked out songs like this. This comes across as more of a negative in reality, as it makes SM seem uninterested in even their own artistry not just their groups. Always using outside producers gives them an image of business people rather than musicians, but this is not wholly true either. There are many in house writers and producers like Yoo Young Jin, who has worked on almost every great SM song since its inception.

 Also on KultScene: Artist Spotlight: DaeNamHyup

My last and most likely theory has more to do with the Korean public than the music itself. South Korea did not have pop music as we know it until 1992 when Seo Taiji and The Boys burst onto the scene with their musical fusion. They mixed rap, metal, dance, and many more genres to create something never heard before in the country. At the time they used this music to criticize Korean society (see Gyosil Idea,) which Seo Taiji still does to this day, and it worked thanks to the genre mashing and structure bending forms of their songs. They were so popular, however, that this style of music eventually became commonplace in K-pop. So maybe SM’s songs today are not as strange and revolutionary as I thought, but merely the norm in the country.

One thing I can be sure of though is that SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment have completely different ideologies when it comes to their brand. Of what I have written about, they do share at least one thing in common, having lots of great, artsy teasers, but not delivering with the final product (WINNER for YG and EXO for SM) and I hate them both for it. Ultimately, I don’t know what side I come down on in favor anymore. I prefer SM’s music, but I don’t respect any of their individuals as much as I respect CL and her brazen individuality amongst idols. Either way I’m supporting a big brand whose only goal is to make lots of money.

Let’s support neither of them. Go find a smaller company whom you can get behind and encourage by rewarding quality music and artistry with your support. Like Chrome Entertainment, home of Crayon Pop, whose DIY attitude is already changing K-pop or Source Music who have been accused by netizens of making deals with journalists so G-Friend can get on the charts or any other of the large number of smaller, less corporate companies currently struggling to stay afloat.

What do you think of SM Entertainment’s system? Who do you prefer SM or YG? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

[This article was updated on April 21, 2015.]

EXO’s ‘Call Me Baby’ Song Review

Despite losing two members and various controversies, EXO is still one of the most popular K-pop boy groups, at least until Big Bang makes its eventual return. Thanks to its immense popularity, just about whatever EXO releases is bound in some way to be quite successful. With this sort of safety net and the fact that they are an SM Entertainment act, a company known to be innovative, I still expect them to go a relatively safe route. This is probably because their safest song, Growl was also their most successful and because SM need some stability during this turbulent time.

Call Me Daddy, sorry, Call Me Baby therefore was surprising to me in its understated yet strangely structured whole. It is in short, a new version of Growl with a few added bells and whistles upon first glance. Yet further inspection offers some more unique aspects to the song.

 Also on KultScene: EXO’s ‘Exodus’ Teasers Herald The Group’s Rebirth

Call Me Baby jettisons the genre and crazy structure bending of EXO’s previous songs like MAMA and Wolf, and keeps the simple instrumentation of Growl with a slightly updated song structure. This seems quite fitting given this comeback has been seen as a kind of rebirth for EXO after Luhan and Kris’ departure. The newest title song holds onto EXO’s most successful elements and lets go of now irrelevant parts.

The most notable element from before is the RnB beats that carries the song; it is instantly recognisable and fun to any listener. The horn riff that follows it is equally satisfying and recalls the earlier work of Justin Timberlake. The horns accompanied with the strings, which come in later, are the extent of the aforementioned bells and whistles. Instrumentally and musically, Call Me Baby has little else to offer listeners looking for a new style of music from EXO.

Luckily for EXO and its fans, Call Me Baby is also the group’s most interesting single vocally. As a K-pop fan I can’t really complain that there aren’t enough techniques used in songs, as K-pop is a very diverse genre of music.

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But if I were to ask K-pop acts to focus on certain elements of vocalization, it would be harmonies or vocal rounds. While Call Me Baby doesn’t exactly use these, the song highlights the members vocal talents and matches them to their respective strengths. The song also has varied vocals all at the same time as melding the members vocals together in new ways, ranging from the falsetto chorus “call me baby” to contrasting raps with screams. It adds a great deal of interest to a song that at first listen could have been left alone and seems like a very simplistic choice to be a group’s comeback song.

The chorus, if you can call it that, also takes on a slightly more complex form. Depending on how you see it the chorus either kicks in very early or has a long pre-chorus which contains the “call me baby” parts. It all makes for an interesting structure as there is no discernible chorus or hook whatever way you look at it. This again provides a slightly more challenging listen than first anticipated, something which SM Entertainment specialises in (see all of the songs from f(x)’s Pink Tape).

Call Me Baby has a number of things that warrant more than one listen but does that make it a great song?


Call Me Baby has the elements of a great, traditional SM song and a great weird SM song but comes out on the other end not really shining with either. It exists in a kind of dull middle-ground with nothing but a few interesting features to prop it up. It doesn’t play with the form enough to make a comment on pop music and doesn’t have a good enough hook to be an ear worm. Lyrically it has nothing to offer either, just another guy pining for a girl. That being said I really like the vocal contrasting and some other stuff so it’s not the worst EXO single. But it doesn’t really seem like a title track either.

What’s your opinion of Call Me Baby? Leave your thoughts on the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Playlist Sunday: Kisses

Kisses and kissing aren’t always openly talked about in the K-pop music scene. But there are many songs about first kisses and kissing in general. They can be as innocent as a peck on the cheek or as steamy as a full on lip-to-lip, tongue-to-tongue contact. Sometimes these kissing songs aren’t as blatant as others, but one thing we know for sure is our K-pop idols love to sing about kissing.

Like many before her, Jeon Hyosung used her solo career as a way to show off her large, um, charms. Her solo venture turned out to be just as successful as bandmate Jieun’s but offered something completely different. Goodnight Kiss is an hypnotic trap lullaby for a boy whom Hyosung sings to goodnight. Yet she clearly doesn’t really want to go to sleep but to just kiss and kiss him. Updating fairytales and lullabies is popular these days and this song does a better job of it than most. The song comes off as a reworked lullaby to perfectly suit Hyosung’s sexy image. It starts off relatively innocent but becomes sexier with each part before finally hitting that trap drop. We forget about the lullaby element after a while as it becomes stranger and sexier. It all comes together to create something quite sophisticated and shows that given the right material Hyosun could become a soloist on par with Ga-In.

— Joe

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Dara’s Kiss is filled with ridiculous yet catchy engrish lyrics, yet there’s one line that I’ll occasionally find myself singing to in public; I just wanna kiss, I never wanna miss. Kiss is a fun and rather playful song whereas the music video, which features actor Lee Minho and if you look closely, Kim Woo Bin is also featured, is rather on the dramatic side; I guess that’s what happens when you feature actors in your music video, it suddenly turns into a short drama! Aside from the dramatic acting from both Dara and Lee Minho, the overall production was entertaining and to me, it felt like a commercial!

— Tam

If we talk about kisses, what’s better than a french kiss? Hyuna’s song French Kiss recounts a story at a scandalous party. Hyuna meets a guy and it;s like love at first sight, or maybe lust at first sight. Right then and there she wants to be only with him, alone. The chorus is very addicting and the part where Hyuna whispers “Let’s french kiss” sounds so seductive and sexy. It almost makes the listeners feel that you are the man she lusts over and she is whispering those words to them. The song has a great beat and it’s a great song to just dance let loose and make out.

— Alejandro

Rather than celebrating love, Super Junior‘s My Love, My Kiss, My Heart mourns it. The song is the classic tale of missing an ex lover post break up while reluctantly trying to move on. You know, when it still hurts. The boys lament the love lost, saying they will bury their love, kiss and heart through a heartfelt ballad.

— Alexis

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X’s are for kisses, sings EXO in XOXO. The song is an adorable, upbeat, jazzy ode to the woman EXO loves, filled with sweet lines about dreaming of hugging and kissing the one you love. EXO’s vocals really shine in the song, with enough lines for EXO’s multitude of members to express their own individual vocal colors.

— Tamar

miss A’s Hush actually uses the word ‘kiss’ in the chorus. The ladies sing about their steamy wants and desires. And at the top of the list is kissing, which is a great way to get to know someone intimately. Hush takes things a few steps further than kissing, but the sexy ladies of miss A know what they want and clearly depict all of that in this song. Aside from the content of the song, Hush has an infectious chorus and sultry dance moves perfectly executed by the quartet.

— Tara

Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

EXO’s ‘Exodus’ Teasers Herald The Group’s Rebirth

After a whirlwind 2014, EXO will be reborn in 2015 on March 30th.

EXO is one of K-pop’s most popular acts internationally with an intense fanbase made up of EXO-L’s, the group’s official fanclub name. But all of the fans in the world can’t help the fact that EXO went through some rough times in 2014, with members leaving. But, from first impressions, the group’s upcoming album, Exodus, is exactly what can save EXO from falling apart at the seams, giving the group a second chance. Read more

Playlist Sunday: Animal Edition

This week, KultScene’s staff highlights some of our favorite animal-influenced songs. While some songs are more closely related to animals, whether it be their title or the outfits that the singers wear while performing or the lyrics of the song, these six songs from TVXQ, EXO, T-ara, and 2AM’s Jo Kwon will hopefully make you think of the animal kingdom.

“What are you supposed to be?” “I’m a mouse, duh.” Oh, Mean Girls. T-ara’s Bo Peep Bo Peep is a bit along the same lines, just with some adorable ears, tails, and gloves. The song’s addictive hook and catchy dance led to much success from T-ara in 2009 when the song was released, and became the song that the group debuted with in Japan in 2011. So Little Bo Peep is actually the shepherdess of the sheep, but T-ara’s dressed like cute cats, so it definitely counts, right?


My pick for this week’s Playlist Sunday is not a literal translation to animal. EXO’s Let Out The Beast uses adjectives that describe animals, such as “instinct”, “gazes”, “unleash the beast” and so on. These words describe the animal within us and EXO urges everyone to let it out and to have a great time while living your life. Let Out The Beast has a great beat and infectious chorus that makes it easy to sing along to and to get pumped up for whatever it is you’re doing. So unleash your inner beast and enjoy everything life throws at you.

— Tara

Also on KultScene: When K-Pop Lineups Change – 9 Muses

TVXQ’s “Balloons” is a single off of their 2006 album “O-Jung.Ban.Hap.” This song and music video is extremely bubbly and upbeat and can attract viewers of any age group. When this first came out 8 years ago, it was targeted towards the younger generation, hence the adorable animal outfits and cute choreography but it was also a reminder for the older generation of their forgotten youth. When you’re young, all you want to do is to “grow up” and do all these adult things that you see people around you do; you rush through so much of your childhood, so much that the things that use to be important, no longer mattered; that is, until you’re an adult and those memories come flooding back which then causes you to question where the time went.

“Balloons” continues to be a reminder for the viewers, new and old, of those beautiful childhood memories and the pure innocence that your childhood contained. Besides the fact that this song can make one feel warm and happy inside, how can you look past the fact that these were grown guys wearing animal onesies?!


If there’s any song that expresses one’s inner animal is 2AM’s Jo Kwon’s track Animal. There is no official music video for the song but Jo Kwon fiercely performed in a very avant-garde look. Decked out in feathers, leather, and Jeffrey Campbell’s heel-less shoes Jo Kwon defined the norms and fully expressed himself with his fashion. The track is perfect for a night out to “turn up” with your friends. Plus the song features pre-debut BTS J-Hope which adds that roughness that was needed in the song.


The first time I heard TVXQ’s Yunho’s solo Honey Funny Bunny at their Catch Me World Tour, my lust for him awoke. I was covering the event for an outlet and I was barely getting acquainted with the group, and I couldn’t believe Yunho was making those movements on stage. To say my jaw dropped to the floor in surprise and excitement is an understatement. But despite the very sensual choreography, the song is actually pretty cool too, being an endearing ode to his “bunny.” The smoothness in Yunho’s vocals made me think that R&B is his genre; Honey Funny Bunny is baby making music at its best.

— Alexis

More EXO here but this time it’s their best song, Wolf. You heard me right, their almost universally hated second single is my favourite EXO song and was one of my favourite’s of 2013. The reason I like it so much is because from those first few flute notes to the last ‘awoos’ I had no idea where this song was going to go. Each moment surprised and delighted me and made me want to keep coming back to get my head around it. The wolf concept is used well in the dance and lyrics, despite their cheesiness at times (get it?). EXO’s movements are animalistic and they come off with great energy on stage when performing. Each part of this song is executed in an abnormal fashion but comes together to create a complete performance in true S.M fashion.


Did we forget any “animal” related songs? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

When K-Pop Lineups Change – 9 Muses

Since their debut in 2010 Nine Muses have gone through eleven changes to their lineup. Only three original members remain to this day and yet they continue to promote. The group’s latest single Drama is actually their most successful to date. Changes to group lineups are not uncommon in K-pop and have had varying effects on each group that have had to deal with it. The effects of these changes do not only affect the group though, as fans see their favourite group being dismantled and rebuilt within a short time. This can change their perception as they feel a loss of essence in the group.

First and foremost, losing a group member is always hard. Whether it’s the most important or least important member, their loss will be felt immediately in the live performances. K-pop performances are built around perfectly synchronized choreography where each person has their part to play. When one of these people is taken out, the system must be broken down and built up again with other members taking over. Whether the group leaves a gap in their dance like 2PM post-Jay Park or reboots it like EXO after Luhan and Kris left, the difference is palpable.

Fans watch their favorites perform but notice new movements or gaps in the dance. What was once one of the most fluid things known to pop music becomes jarring. The K-pop dance changes.

Of course, the majority of groups move towards replacing their lost member before they even have to think about rejigging their choreography or line distribution. Most companies have floods of trainees desperate for their chance to shine in the company’s flagship group. Each of these trainees will be as talented, beautiful and charming as the members that were chosen to debut in this group. Despite their readiness, plugging the trainees into an already established group has difficulties that have nothing to do with talent.

Also on KultScene: Why You Should Give ‘Blood’ A Chance

Read more

What Will SM Entertainment Look Like In 2015?

A lot happened at SM Entertainment in 2014 and very few of those things were good. Multiple artists leaving the company in very public scandals reflected badly on SM, as opposed to its main rival YG Entertainment that has kept stock prices high despite a few scandals of its own. That’s why in order to maintain its place as one of the top entertainment companies in K-Pop, SM Entertainment needs to have an extremely solid year in 2015.

In case you missed what happened during the tumultuous year, here are a few things that happened to the company itself and its artists that you should know before reading KultScene’s analysis of what 2015 will potentially bring.


  • January
    -Sooyoung of Girls’ Generation confirms relationship days after YoonA confirmed to be dating Lee Seung Gi

  • February
    -Baljunso, an indie music label, acquired by SM Entertainment
  • April
    -Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany confirms relationship with 2PM’s Nichkhun
    -Girls’ Generation’s Hyoyeon reported for assault on ex-boyfriend
  • May
    -Kris (Wu Yifan) leaves EXO
    -SM Entertainment stock falls 10 points
  • June
    -Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon and EXO’s Baekhyun’s relationship confirmed
  • July
    -Sulli goes on hiatus from f(x)
    -Super Junior’s Leeteuk discharged from army
  • August
    -Red Velvet Debut and Music Video Controversy
    -Sulli confirmed to be in relationship with Dynamic Duo’s Choiza
  • September
    -Girls’ Generation renews contracts with SM
    -Jessica removed from Girls’ Generation
  • October
    -Luhan leaves EXO
    -SM stock falls 10 points
    -SM Entertainment releases statement implying outside forces are affecting EXO
  • -Zhoumi debuts as solo artist
    -SM Entertainment surpassed in market value by YG Entertainment
  • November
    -Kyuhyun debuts as solo artist
  • December
    -Super Junior’s Sungmin gets married
    -SM Rookiez Taeyong’s cyberbully past exposed, SM Entertainment releases apology

Separate entertainment agencies’ (Woollim, Baljunso) artists under SM not included in this list.

Also on KultScene: YG Entertainment Wants You To Know It’s Different

Until April, everything was developing fairly well for SM Entertainment. Artists were releasing music, appearing in dramas, variety shows and films, and holding concerts. The dating scandals, once devastating to idols’ careers, were accepted with grace by fans. Even Hyoyeon’s potentially devastating assault case was relatively quiet.

Starting in May, SM saw multiple members leaving from some of the top groups; Girls’ Generation, EXO, and f(x) all lost members. But the company has seen mass exoduses before. In 2009 three members of TVXQ (who are now known as JYJ) and a Super Junior member (Hangeng) left their groups while two others went inactive (although Kangin has returned to the group).

How did SM get over the changes that time? It promoted different groups like Super Junior and SHINee to fill the void when TVXQ’s two members were almost entirely inactive. Super Junior, despite members leaving, is a large enough group that it was able to make up for the losses. EXO may very well do the same this time around, but with further rumors that members will be leaving, SM Entertainment may change its entire format for the upcoming year. Furthermore, Sulli’s hiatus from f(x) and Jessica’s departure from Girls’ Generation are also troublesome for the company, which has lost serious face.

The ongoing struggles between artists and the company have led stocks to drop extremely low, and both shareholders and fans have little faith in it. SM Entertainment needs to make 2015 one of its best years ever, otherwise face the signs that it may not be the top entertainment company in South Korea anymore.

What SM Is Likely To Do:

-Release a new SHINee album in the first quarter of 2015. SHINee is SM Entertainment’s only group, other than Red Velvet, that hasn’t seen any lineup changes since it debuted in 2008. The group’s stalwart songs will likely be well received and raise faith in SM. A SHINee member is likely to debut as a solo artist, joining the youngest member of the group.

– Debut more solo artists. SM Entertainment has confirmed that f(x) rapper Amber and at least one male artist will promote as soloists in 2015. EXO and SHINee members are likely options due to popularity.

TVXQ: Yunho will likely join the army in 2015, which means that TVXQ will probably release at least one song, possibly an album, before his enlistment. There are some rumors that Changmin will be attending the army at the same time, but it is possible that he will join the list of SM artists who have been going solo.

-Girls’ Generation:Two options-

1. Nothing will change. Despite Jessica’s departure, Girls’ Generation has been doing well, holding concerts in Asia. More members will likely have acting roles in dramas, films, and musicals. Girls’ Generation’s nine members, including Jessica, renewed contracts with SM in September.

2. Girls’ Generation will disband. The girl group’s members will stay under SM and subgroup Girls’ Generation TTS may stay active. Many of the members have their own lucrative specialties that they may take as their sole career as they get older.

TRAX: Both members of SM Entertainment’s only band group are out of the army. Jungmo has been visibly active at the company, and will likely release a song on his own if not with fellow member Jay. TRAX has a small but strong fanbase, and SM needs to remind older fans why they like the label.

Super Junior: Super Junior will be holding Super Show 6 around the world. Members will continue to appear on variety shows, dramas, and radio shows. The group will likely release a new album at the end of the year. Leeteuk will appear on more and more variety shows to return to the role he held before the army, possibly gaining a MC spot. Siwon, for his part, will appear in a drama or film, and Kyuhyun will release a follow up to At Gwanghwamun probably at the start of the year. At least one member, if not more, will head to the army.

Sungmin’s marriage is problematic, but he had few solo activities that will be affected. If he leaves the group, it will be traumatic for fans. But Super Junior will likely continue on as it has, unless other members decide that the group is too old to promote.

Also on KultScene: Hello Venus And Sexism In K-Pop

SHINee: See above. Barring any scandals where a member leaves, the group will likely become SM’s headline group in 2015.

f(x): Amber will release a solo album in the first half of 2015. With or without Sulli, f(x) will continue on and most likely promote Krystal even further into the spotlight. Luna will possibly appear on variety shows and Victoria will continue on with her activities in China. The group will make a comeback in the summer.

EXO: The group is once again in the midst of rumors, hinting to further member’s suing SM Entertainment, and rumors are already flying about their disbandment.

EXO should be another Super Junior-esque situation, but it’s turning more and more into a TVXQ-like one, where fans have lost faith in SM Entertainment’s management. TVXQ took nearly a two-year hiatus when three of its members left. The group is planning a 2015 comeback, but things in EXO can change at a minute’s notice. If the rumors prove true once again, SM Entertainment may very well move the group to a backburner and have individual members promote without forcing the whole group together.

Red Velvet: With Girls’ Generation and f(x) in trouble, Red Velvet will likely start appearing in dramas and variety shows. They will probably make a comeback in the second quarter.

SM Rookies: Due to EXO’s issues, SM Entertainment may release a new boy group sometime in 2015.

Woollim Entertainment: Also under SM are INFINITE, Nell, Tasty, and Lovelyz. INFINITE and Lovelyz are technically rivals of Red Velvet, SHINee, and EXO, so they’ll likely not promote at the same time. INFINITE will probably make a comeback shortly after EXO does, and the same with Lovelyz following a Red Velvet comeback. Tasty will probably release Chinese music, but the duo hasn’t been overly popular in Korea so its unclear whether there will be a comeback. Nell needs to become SM’s rival to YG’s Epik High, as a group that attracts more mature listeners.

Everything, essentially, is up in the air. Some groups are more stable than others, but many of SM Entertainment’s groups have a lot of question marks.

What do you think SM Entertainment needs to do to make 2015 the reverse of 2014? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Let’s Discuss: EXO Luhan & Departure Rumors

This isn’t the first time that it’s being said, but 2014 was not the best year for SM Entertainment. Kris leaving EXO, Sulli going on hiatus from f(x), and Jessica’s removal from Girls’ Generation are not exactly signs of a stellar company. And now there are rumors, mostly among international fans, that EXO’s Luhan will be leaving the group due to poor health, which isn’t good. Not that Luhan shouldn’t take care of his health, but the rumors themselves, and if they were to come true, are not good.

Why Are The Rumors Bad?

It shows panic among SM Entertainment’s audience. Other SM Entertainment idols have been sick in the past and have taken extended leave. SHINee’s Onew only recently rejoined activities after surgery, but there weren’t wide-spread rumors about him leaving the group. However, following the news that Girls’ Generation, one of the most seemingly-stable groups in K-Pop, is removing a member, SM Entertainment fans show that they no longer know what is what at the company.If fans cannot show full support for SM Entertainment, it is likely that SM will act even more recklessly than it has recently.

Following a downward spiral of f(x)’s Red Light promotions being overshadowed by Sulli’s dating and hiatus scandal, SM announced a new girl group, Red Velvet. Unlike the highly hyped debut of EXO, Red Velvet released its first song with little prior-fanfare, and a relatively sloppy, problem-plagued debut.

In regards to Girls’ Generation’s disaster, SM is continuing as usual with TaeTiSeo and individual promotions. But everything that the Girls’ do and every word they say is under strict scrutiny, and the company is likely to announce a comeback of one of its other groups to try and get attention off of the remaining eight Girls’ Generation members.

Also on KPOPme: Let’s Discuss: Jessica’s Departure & Girls’ Generation’s Future

SM Entertainment is often perceived to be the “worst” company of “the Big 3” Korean entertainment companies (SM, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment), due to its history with contract scandals and idols leaving the company. The company needs intense PR, but sudden member losses has become almost expected; EXO fans are practically counting down the days until another member announces that he is leaving, and Luhan appears the likely choice, due to his health issues.

The rumors are bad because it shows a complete lack of faith by fans in SM to manage its artists. SM fans need to support not only their favorite artists but the company, because the Korean entertainment industry is currently a company-dominated one. But right now, SM is in crisis mode and lack of support is making the company struggle anymore.

What oh nonon Luhan

via baekhyunniesbeagle

What If Luhan Actually Leaves?

If Luhan leaving EXO becomes reality, not just a rumor, SM Entertainment will find itself in serious trouble. Luhan is one of EXO’s three remaining Chinese members, and by far the most popular one. Luhan is so popular that he earned a Guinness Award for on Weibo- over 13 million comments on his account, double the amount of the next runner up. If Luhan’s health issues require that he, unfortunately, leaves the group, it would mean that SM’s EXO experiment has failed.

EXO has already failed in some ways, when the group became EXO rather than EXO-K and EXO-M. Fans wanted all twelve members together, but it meant that the split marketing campaigns were a failure, and fans wanted one, traditional K-Pop act.

Luhan’s absence would mean that only two Chinese members of EXO remain, Lay and Tao. Both, as all members of EXO, are immensely popular, but former member Kris and Luhan have definitely been the two most popular members of the EXO-M contingency. If Luhan leaves, EXO’s Chinese fanbase will reel and accusations of unfairness towards Chinese members will fly.

Also on KPOPme: Let’s Discuss: Did ZE:A’s Lee Hoo Go Too Far?

Remember, initial reports of Kris’ withdrawal blamed his health. Luhan’s poor health condition has already been acknowledged by SM Entertainment, so the rumors are understandable. Hopefully, they will just be rumors and Luhan will get the rest that he needs.

via allaroundasia

EXO needs no more problems, and SM Entertainment needs no more headaches. Hopefully these rumors will be pointless, but if Luhan, or any Chinese member leaves, EXO is in trouble.

Are you worried about EXO and Luhan? How do you feel about the recent SM Entertainment scandals? Be sure to share it and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

[Picture credit to SMTOWN]

5 K-Pop Songs For Morning Commutes

Getting out of bed is only half the battle during the week, but actually making it to work in a relatively decent mood is the next step. Music can serve as a great pick me up, so when you’re on your morning commute to work or school, listen to some of our favorite K-Pop songs. For people who like to take the day more slowly, there are some songs for you, while those of you who need something fast-paced to get you really revved up, there’s also that. Whether you’re in a car, on public transportation, or your own two legs, these songs will really hit home. If your morning commute doesn’t involve driving (or if it does then you can have a look at it later), then you may wish to pass the time reading a blog about motorists and their music habits. If this is something that you think you might be interested in, then you can find it here.

K.Will – A Bright Day

Before getting into anything that will definitely wake you up, take it slowly. Listen to A Bright Day; think about what the day ahead of you will hold. Will it be a great day, an okay day or, unfortunately, a difficult one? Hopefully, it will be a fulfilling one, and make this commute well worth it! Mediate for a few minutes while listening to K.Will, and then move on to some other songs in this list that are a bit more upbeat.


You’re already awake and on your way, but you may not be completely awake. The soft snapping and piano instrumental at the beginning of R U Ok? transitions into a faster beat that will wake you up a little bit, to the point where you may be bobbing your head along to it.


Also on KPOPme: 8 K-Pop Jams For Your Next Workout

EXO-K – Angel

If you still have gunk in your eyes and you’re not so sure if all of your buttons are done properly, you’re probably not ready for something really loud and wild. EXO-K’s Angel, from the group’s debut album, is a simple ballad that has some great high points throughout the song that will definitely lift up your mood.

Roy Kim – Love Love Love

The singer’s acoustic guitar and gentle voice will gently raise your level of awareness. The melody has its fast points and also soft, harmonious moments that ends in a crescendo that will result in anybody feeling a bit more awake after listening.

Also on KPOPme: K-Pop Songs to Start Your Morning

SHIMMixes – K-Lubbing

This song is a bit jarring, so this may actually be a great replacement for coffee. It’s not a K-Pop song per say, but one of the greatest mash-ups of songs from May-September 2013 by SHIMMixes. The entire mix will have you dancing in your seat, so that by the time you’re at work you’ll be pumped.

What’s your favorite song to listen during your morning commute? We’d love for you to share your picks, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

8 Reasons Why Fans Love Luhan

EXO has been popular since their debut (and even before that), as each of their members possess a certain air that makes their fans swoon. There’s no doubt in particular that Luhan has quite the large fanbase, but what is it about him that grabs your attention?

At first, I couldn’t come up with definite explanations, but I gradually came up with eight reasons why this guy is so darn lovable.

1. He’s kind of pretty-handsome

Luhan pretty

Yes, we all know that SM Entertainment is known for their gorgeous idols, but Luhan ranks high on the list of pretty-yet-handsome celebrities. In an industry where androgynous looks are popular, he definitely excels in that field.

Luhan handsome

However, let’s not forget his sharp debut pictures that put great emphasis on his handsome jawline:

Luhan handsome teaser

2. His proportions are elfin

Luhan body

Branching out from his attractiveness, his proportions are otherworldly. From his baby face to his tall stature to his very cute hands, it’s hard to believe that this guy’s not from another planet.

Luhan hands

Let’s not forget about his lean physique:

His long neck adds a graceful aspect to complete the whole package:

Luhan neck

3. He sings well

I fell in love with Luhan’s voice when I first heard him sing with Chen in Baby Don’t Cry for the group’s debut showcase. There’s a reason why he’s the lead vocalist; his voice is extremely soft and soothing, and yet he maintains a strong sense of emotion along with gentle vibrato:

4. He takes care of his members

You wouldn’t think, with his youthful appearance, that Luhan is one of the oldest members of EXO. Well, he is, and he shows his protective, brotherly side to his younger bandmates. Not only does he make sure they’re doing okay in variety shows and performances, but he also translates for the Korean members during Chinese promotions.

5. He’s not afraid of sasaengs

In this current time period where many people have no idea what personal lives are, idols have to deal with a number of obsessive stalker “fans” called sasaengs. When faced with annoying, overzealous sasaengs, Luhan doesn’t back down; he stands up for himself and makes sure the rest of the good fans know exactly what’s going on.

You see that? That’s the face of someone who’s not afraid to show how annoyed they are when people call them nonstop on their personal phones.

6. He’s sporty

Luhan soccer

Tons of idols get their bodies from sheer practice alone, but Luhan actually enjoys sports as a hobby. Growing up with football (or soccer) and being a fan of Manchester United, he’s participated in a variety of idol events involving the sport. Did I mention he’s also pretty good?

7. His manliness complex

This is what you might call a cute fault! Due to his feminine appearance, Luhan often reminds people that he’s not just a pretty-boy by claiming that he’s the manliest member in his group. Sometimes he plays along to the cute trope, but he generally stands his ground:

8. He’s a weirdo

Do I even need to say anything about this? Despite being an idol, Luhan has the widest range of facial expressions I’ve ever seen:

Yeah… Weirdo. But that doesn’t mean I hate him for it. It kind of makes me cry more inside because he’s so strange, and I can’t help but adore that.

Is your bias Luhan? What are your reasons for liking your favorite idol? Share your thoughts and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.