Min Hee Jin Exposes HYBE’s Alleged Album Manipulation Practices

min hee jin hybe
min hee jin hybe
Credit: SPOTVNEWS, Hankyung

Min Hee Jin, CEO of ADOR, and her legal representative brought serious allegations against HYBE. According to legal circles on the 17th, an email sent by Min to HYBE’s management outlined her refusal to participate in an alleged scheme to artificially boost NewJeans’ album sales by 100,000 units.

In the document, Min Hee Jin stated, “HYBE’s major issue is perpetuating industry malpractices without any ethical considerations. As a leading company in the entertainment industry, HYBE fails to fulfill its social responsibilities and lacks transparency in its governance, causing direct and indirect harm to NewJeans.”

She highlighted HYBE’s “album pushing” as a prime example of these unethical practices, noting, “This act deceives shareholders, members, the capital market, and the fandom, leading to severe public backlash. It’s alarming that HYBE, a supposed industry leader, exploits regulatory loopholes to engage in such activities.”

“Album pushing” involves record companies or distributors buying large quantities of albums during the initial sales period (first week) and compensating for these purchases through fan events like signings. This practice, aimed at inflating first-week sales numbers, has become an ingrained industry habit. Fans often buy more albums than necessary to participate in these events, creating a vicious cycle.

Min revealed, “NewJeans was urged by HYBE to engage in ‘album pushing’ during the release of their ‘Get Up’ album to break aespa’s first-week sales record. However, we firmly rejected this proposal as it contradicted ADOR’s business philosophy.”

Explaining her refusal, Min said, “We feared that NewJeans’ pure achievements could be tarnished, potentially damaging various business opportunities. If the ‘album pushing’ issue gained more public attention, even NewJeans could be wrongly perceived as having manipulated their success simply because they are part of HYBE.” Min further remarked, “HYBE’s encouragement for groups like NewJeans, which already have high sales without manipulation, shows a significant lack of ethical awareness.”

Additionally, Min criticized HYBE for discriminating between labels in distribution, business, and management; overly interfering in the operations of individual labels; favoritism; maintaining a militaristic culture; and lax management ethics.

Roh Jong Eun, a representative lawyer from Law Firm Jonjae, stated, “If HYBE’s ‘album pushing’ indeed occurred, it would not only undermine the foundations of the K-pop industry but also show how those with capital and power exploit young talents. This is a classic form of market manipulation, distorting album sales information and hindering the growth of other idols while potentially misleading stock investors and causing financial harm.”

>> HYBE’s Bang Si Hyuk Loses 550 Billion KRW Amid Conflict with Min Hee Jin: BTS Stock Wealth Takes a Hit

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