Label control battle casts shadow over NewJeans' comeback

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : April 23, 2024, 15:19 Updated : April 25, 2024, 17:40
ADOR CEO Min Hee-jin Courtesy of Big HIt Entertainment
ADOR CEO Min Hee-jin / Courtesy of Big Hit Music
SEOUL, April 23 (AJU PRESS) - An apparent power struggle over control of the music label behind NewJeans is casting a shadow over the highly anticipated comeback of the popular K-pop girl group.

Entertainment giant HYBE said Monday it is conducting an audit of the management of its affiliate, ADOR, on suspicion that CEO Min Hee-jin is seeking to take over the management control of the label.

The investigation, launched on the same day, targets Min and another ADOR executive, according to sources. Auditors reportedly seized electronic assets from their offices and began collecting statements in connection with the allegations.

Min fired back later in the day, denouncing the probe as an attempt to expel her in response to her claim that another HYBE girl band was plagiarizing NewJeans' style.

HYBE owns multiple music labels, including Big Hit Music, which manages the K-pop sensation BTS.

The controversy arose just one month before the planned comeback of the five-member group consisting of Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin, and Hyein.

The iconic female band has announced it will unveil a new album titled "How Sweet" on May 24, marking their return after a 10-month hiatus. Sales are scheduled to begin on May 26.

The quintet debuted in July 2022 and has released global hit songs including "Attention," "Hype Boy," "Super Shy," "ETA," and "Ditto." They clinched the Group of the Year Award at the 2024 Billboard Women in Music Awards.

Currently, HYBE holds 80 percent of ADOR's shares, while Min and other executives control the remainder.

"There are suspicions that they were trying to take over ADOR's control," a HYBE official said Monday, referring to Min and the executive under investigation.

It has been reported that they discussed plans to attract investors by leaking confidential company information and ways to induce outside investors to buy ADOR shares held by HYBE.

Depending on the investigation results, HYBE is expected to begin legal proceedings against Min.

Min has denied the allegations, calling them "ridiculous media plays."

In a statement, she claimed that HYBE has been attempting to terminate her employment after she raised the claim that the girl band ILLIT, formed by another unit of HYBE, BELIFT LAB, copied the concept of NewJeans. HYBE has not yet issued any statements regarding Min's argument.

Min is recognized as a genius idol incubator who planned concepts for SM Entertainment bands such as Girls' Generation, SHINee, and Red Velvet. After being hired by HYBE, she also took charge of the design of HYBE's headquarters in central Seoul.
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