Three EXO members, SM settle dispute over contract terms

Members Baekhyun, Ximuin and Chen of boy band EXO and its subunit EXO-CBX [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

SM Entertainment settled its dispute with three members of boy band EXO — Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin — 18 days after the feud that threw another major blow to the K-pop agency this year.

"The company and the three artists took the time to talk heart to heart about all the issues that have been brought to light," SM Entertainment said in a press release Monday.

"And we are happy to announce that through the talk, we have mended the differences in opinion and the misunderstandings that have taken place, coming to an amicable decision."

The three members — which the agency referred to by their real names instead of their stage names, Byun Baek-hyun, Kim Jong-dae (Chen) and Kim Min-seok (Xiumin) — and the agency agreed to maintain their current contract but fixed "certain terms" based on "equal relationship" between the two parties.

The company also apologized that it had been mistaken about "a third party" that was allegedly trying to lure its artists away from SM Entertainment and to another company.

"We apologize once again to the other members of EXO and everyone who had waited for EXO," the agency said. "We will try our best to return all the support we've received from everyone."

This has cleared the path for EXO's seventh full-length album to drop on July 10, the band's first new album in four years and four months with all members.

The dispute between the three EXO members, who are also the three members of EXO's subunit EXO-CBX, began on June 1 when they announced they wish to end their contracts with SM Entertainment.

They said the agency has been mistreating its artists by forcing them to sign excessively long contracts and not properly disclosing how they were paid.

SM Entertainment, on the other hand, argued that the company had been complying in every way with the law and respecting the artists' rights.

It also claimed at the time that the EXO-CBX members had been "lured" by a third party that was trying to steal its talents away.

The controversy shook the agency just three months after it had gotten out of a muddy month-long battle over the company's management rights between HYBE and Kakao, resulting in ousting of its founder Lee Soo-man.

SM Entertainment announced the so-called "SM 3.0" project amidst the fight, promising new management and production structures for its music and artists to revive investor sentiment.

"We will take this chance to look deeper into the direction we've been taking since we began our 'SM 3.0' phase," the agency said Monday. "We wish to reevaluate our goals so that we may leap into a more sustainable future. We will endeavor to build a relationship of trust and respect with its artists under the new and developed value of 'SM 3.0.'"