As if to follow up on a K-pop idol, Jay Park's recent revelations about the physical abuse he endured as a trainee, the Korean government has demanded that changes be made to existing agency-trainee contracts, which up until now, have unfairly given powerful management companies complete control of the prospective idol's career.

The Korean music industry is notorious for its unfair treatment of performers by the all-too-powerful agencies that represent them. There's even a phrase, "slave contract," that is used when describing the relationship between artist and management — the deals are exclusive, the artist has almost zero creative control, and the money is not even close to what it should be. The entertainers are often treated as slaves to the agencies that own them. And finally, after years of uncontrolled abuses of power, the eight powerhouse entertainment agencies of YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, SM Entertainment, FNC, Cube, Jellyfish, DSP Media, and LOEN Entertainment were ordered by the government to change clauses in their contracts that were deemed unfair to the trainees and essentially, illegal. 

Their were a total of six changes made to existing contracts, specific issues the Fair Trade Commission considered problematic. Here are a few examples: JYP, Cube, and DSP Media can no longer just force a trainee to sign an exclusive deal with them. The trainee, and the agency in question, must sign a mutual agreement before any deal is made; LOEN, JYP, YG, Cube, and DSP Media must now provide their clients with a grace period before they terminate them; and SM, FNC, and DSP Media now cannot just let someone go without providing a reason. All basic rights, you would think, but only included in contracts because of this most recent government intervention. So hopefully now, when some sort of disagreement or dispute occurs between the trainee and management, the issues can be settled legally in court, with fair protection under the law provided to the young men and women who have been victimized by their agencies for way too long.

SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment talent

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Tomorrow With You

Starring Shin Min Ah and Lee Je Hoon

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