SM Hit Producer Criticizes Kpop Companies For Lack Of Originality, Says ‘Stop Imitating EXO’

Published Categorized as kpop Buzz

SM Hit Producer Paul Thompson has some pretty harsh words to say to Kpop companies!

Recently, one instagram story from Paul Thompson has been gaining buzz. He publicly called out Kpop entertainment companies for their lack of creativity and originality, he says that every song and concept is the same, he also topped it off with asking companies to stop being lazy and that no kpop group will be like EXO.

Read his statement:

“KPop Is So Boring These Days…

Every Song Sounds The Same. Every Concept Has Been Done. Every New Group Is Just A Repackage Of A Legacy Group That Did It Better.

Half The Agencies In Korea Ask Me To Make Their Groups Sound Like EXO.

How About You New Agencies Stop Being Lazy & Unoriginal — EXO Is EXO. Your Group Will Not Be Them. Be Creative KPop!


While some Kpop fans voiced their criticism, others praise him and agree with him.

What do you think of his statement? Do you agree or disagree with it?

Related: Kai Knows That EXO-Ls Are Worried About SuperM Project, Says This About EXO Comeback

Related: EXO Members Voice Their Frustration With Fans After Getting Mobbed And Disrespected At The Airport

My Personal Thoughts

As blunt as it may sound, he does make sense. This year has been very difficult for Kpop groups in South Korea. If you haven’t noticed, kpop songs have failed to chart well and instead we have indie artists and ballad singers doing extremely well. And honestly, in comparison, indie artists or ballad singers songs actually sound amazing and they deserve to be at top.

I am not going to deny that there is a lack of originality or creativity these days in Kpop, but that’s also on a surface level. If you dig deeper, you’ll see some worthy Kpop groups that are trying to be different. It seems that he takes pride in EXO, but I’d like to also point out that there many other equally successful Kpop acts around their level as well.

If he says Kpop agencies approached him to help with their groups do something similar to EXO, then I really can’t say that’s he’s lying or refute his statement.

He could’ve phrased all of this better because there are many sensitive Kpop fans who’ll think this is about their group, but he does have some good points here and there.

EXO is EXO and you won’t be able to copy their success recipe with a similar sound, it was appropriate for its time, but now, the market is different. If EXO tries to copy their own sound now, they won’t do as well, music is always changing and you must evolve with.

Its just an interesting statement by an SM producer that I wanted to share with you. Do you agree with him?

By Kevin Miller

My name is Kevin Miller and I am responsible for writing Kpop content on I have been a fan of Kpop since 2014 and I am a multi-stan


  1. Well I agree to him because to be a REAL creative person you should not do what other already did because if you do it is like stealing other’s music and everyone knows that it is not nice and the song will be boring you have to be creative by your own.EXO is EXO , YOUR SONG is YOUR SONG don’t be a copy cat.

    (Sorry for the last word I just can’t control it)

    1. This is pretty ironic, considering how lyrically boring SuperM’s Jopping is, and how much it sounded like an exo song (until the bridge, when Taemin opened his beautiful mouth and it immediately became a shinee song, then switched back when he was done). Take your own advice. I’m an SM stan, but even to me, this sounded awfully pretentious.

  2. I don’t know who is trying to be EXO but I know who isn’t. Ateez are nothing like EXO and frankly, they wouldn’t appeal to me if they were. I have always felt EXO have some singers who are better than some others but their music style doesn’t interest me. It’s ok for him to express his opinion but he needs to have several seats with the BS about everyone trying to be EXO. Ateez has their own team in house including themselves for their songs. They don’t need him and their music doesn’t bare any resemblance to EXO. Totally agree much of Kpop is repeat but not all. When it comes to standards to meet in pure talent, it’s JYJ for my seniors and Ateez for rookies.

      1. I have no idea what he’s on about and no one is giving examples…everyone I listen to a lot has their own sound imo including exo…exo’s style will only be their’s, and if someone else tried to copy it, it didnt work or it morphed into their own…regardless, he seems a bit bitter in the way he phrased things…

    1. All of SM artists songs sounds the same. They do. They tries a little techno here and house rap there to sound different. Its boring and unoriginal, why? Cuz people like him produces it. If SM was smart they wouldn’t hired him, and instead get raw young Korean talents to produce the new sounds. But no, they rather pay western producers and song writers.

      Regards to Exo, Exo is Exo, and pretty much of their songs lately too sound the same. So what if other rookies wanted similar songs, at least he gets paid for his same similar songs like Exo.

      Reasons why these SK Entertainment companies will never be global. They follow a formula like SM. Getting western producers to write and produce their songs and then get diss by these producers.

      Words of advice. Stay organic.

  3. indead. Some kpop groups today just stick to what they think are famous now a day. Like if exo have this cool and dark concept, they will all go for that concept same with the concept tht some famous kpop groups do. They won’t try something new or original like Red velvet do (I love this girls so much because aren’t afraid to try something new and different). They always stick to one concept either badass or cute concept. That’s just so boring.

    1. it’s easy for us to just say ‘yeah why don’t they just get more creative’ as if it’s so simple. That’s so unfair to the groups who work so hard to produce their songs. So what if they sound similar? Every group has their own goal and style and if you weren’t assuming so quickly maybe you guys could actually learn to appreciate the hard work people put into their music. This post was horribly inconsiderate of what reality is for so many of these idols and I honestly don’t understand why anyone would side with this man. OP, think more carefully about what you’re saying and what that implies.

  4. I agree as well. Their genre is different from other kpop groups. Well, EXO made a legacy on their own, wuth their talents and hard work. Long live the group.

  5. i totally agree!! EXO always comes with new genre of music, lyrics, dance and looks.. not a single group do that.. EXO has bunch of rocking songs, mild songs, cheerful and so on.. bt other groups always produce same genre songs and other factors!!

  6. I completely agree with what he’s saying, that’s why i dont listen to kpop like I used to cause its either over hyping BTS or they sound too much alike or, like he stated trying to be similar to EXO. No one will be like EXO. No one will be like BTS or BigBang or even SHINEE, you cant mimic off of another group thinking its gonna work it doesn’t. Being a group means coming up with your own creative thing.

  7. Um… well. How can I be delicate with this? EXO is a copy itself in sound and concept of past U.S. boy groups. It worked because to the young target audience it was “new”. Give it another 10 years and someone can probably repackage the same troupe and sell it once again. Certain sounds and concepts are simply classics and always work. The trick is to make your repackage look like a fresh take instead of a carbon copy. This guy sounds a bit bitter. I’m well pass the target audience for a majority of k-pop so I have seen plenty of EXOs. And there absolutely will rise another. That’s how it goes.

  8. I can understand were that producer is saying. But he has to know not all K-POP groups. Want to be like EXO. And there is a K-POP group that has gone even further then EXO. Who has been writing there own songs and very creative video. And has won awards in America and sold concerts all over . BTS.

    1. Well he never mentioned BTS now. Did he? He said many company’s within Korea ask to sound like EXO. That doesn’t mean BTS or their company asked now. BTS have had a different style since the beginning. Not everything is about BTS now nor who was more successful. Its about being original! Unless he named dropped than that’s a different story. And BTS are original for the most part anways. No one really is going to call them out

    1. Being a fan of both I don’t understand what you mean. Are you implying that he is trying to copy BTS’s sound or concept? No hate just a discussion!

      1. I think it’s more about the new group superM. I say it’s kind of hypocrite what the producer say, though the sound is never the same they still want their new group become the next BTS

    1. He never stated about every group wanting to sound or be the next EXO. He was talking about the companies. And how they want to sound or have songs like EXO. You have a right to your opinion i just dont understand how the BTS or American shows has anything to do with being original within K-POP. Are you saying that people copy BTS more?

  9. I agree. Other companies just seems so lazy in thinking of creative concepts for their groups. Imagine hiring Marz then telling him to create a song similar to Tempo by EXO??? Like bruh don’t you have originality?

  10. He never stated about every group wanting to sound or be the next EXO. He was talking about the companies. And how they want to sound or have songs like EXO. You have a right to your opinion i just dont understand how the BTS or American shows has anything to do with being original within K-POP. Are you saying that people copy BTS more?

  11. Why are some people so arrogant? There’s nothing related to BTS though, by the way EXO did nothing wrong. If you are an army, you think BTS is better, they are the best to you, no others can compare to. If you are an EXO-L, you think EXO is better, they are different, the best of all. Nothing’s wrong about that, so don’t try to offend other groups, like being ‘oh, I don’t think so, I think “‘ is better’. That’s very offensive. SM never plan to promote EXO in America, if yes, then only you all can compare. When you’ve only listened to a song from a group and claimed that nothing’s special, that’s too funny, how can you jump to conclusion like that. Not every girl in this world has a long hair, okay?

  12. You want a broader rang in K-pop, you need to get to the audience with the money. Variety is needed. Idols are beautiful, no doubt about that and very talented. They train for that spotlight for years and deliver. It is not the idols’ fault songs dont chart. It is because of what they are given is below par. You want to see real talent, sex appeal, center visual, beautiful voice, watch Taemin’s music video “Want” it has english sub titles. He is the real deal. Who is in SuperM? Taemin. He IS the complete idol package, not fake, and he delivers performances Why? Because he has been doing this since he was 14 years old professionally, and he is an actor as well. He is 26 now. Military service is around the corner. Kpop will miss this well rounded entertainer for sure during his service. As far as groups copying EXO, thats because they have been around since 2012 successfully. People want to be as popular and successful as BTS. WHY? Because they see billions of dollars. You need a solid fan base and if there are 100 k-pop bands that are releasing basically the same package, just different bodies, too much of the same thing. You need variety and break out of that kpop pre-packaged box.

  13. It’s not the fact that exo songs are necessarily good, it’s because they because popular. He’s not saying their songs are amazing, that’s what he means by “kpop is boring”.

  14. I feel like all SM songs sound the same and they sound like every other kpop song. There are very few kpop groups who actually have a unique sound.

    1. But EXO is the true legacy. EXO brought Kpop to its fame while BTS just magnified it. Not all SM songs sound the same, does red flavour sound like monster? No.

      1. Psy brought Kpop to its fame here in the UK, people then looked into older groups (more content). I personally hadn’t heard of EXO before many other groups, quite a few small ones at that too… EXO has been pretty stable throughout their whole career but what is funny is that the new SuperM song sounds like and reminds me of early EXO music … SM seem to be trying to repeat the success of EXO with the same sort of sound that largely didn’t seem to work (reading comments and reviews). So much talent in one group, shouldn’t they have the right to have their own sound?
        (Also, the mention of BTS – just seemed unnecessary…Just be wary)

  15. Please get a clue .EXO is talented but theur past two albums werwnt great. SM needs fresh producers & choreographers to catch up to now. No one is trying to copy them…

  16. I think as a SM producer he’s bias and the whole “stop copying exo” comment is hypocritical because even Exo isn’t original to begin with. Kpop has it’s issue but he’s only pointing that out to get a paycheck from SM. In the end, the KPOP group who’s truly charted well have been BTS in a long term but other than them we have had groups like Twice, Gfriend, Red Velvet chart pretty well. I don’t see why you would agree with him when SM artists and knetizens find SM’s style to be typical and generic to which it is.

    He isn’t being genuine he’s just looking to boost himself and his job by doing what YG does and look down on others. Nothing to agree with there

    1. Yes I fully agree with you, I mean they are groups that no one can sound like. He is only putting EXO up there and they deserve it but bringing down other groups is wrong, so wrong. Besides who is copying EXO I honestly don’t see anyone. I agree with you. Btw Mina is life.

      1. I agree too! Honestly, the only group that reminded me of EXO was ironically SuperM with their title track… Reminded me of early EXO. Surely a group with that much talent should be allowed their own fresh new sound?

    2. Agreed with you, right now all everyone want is “to be next BTS” . Even SM new group want to be “the next BTS” That’s it, even in melon, I don’t see any SM group among longest charting song. All I see with kpop is it’s all about visual and concept. Concept is repetitive but only with good song they can have a hit and chart longer. All I see this producer just want a clout for himself and remind everyone SM still has influence in k-entertainment industry. Yes, they are but no longer on the forefront of industry, the competition is more open now.

  17. I think people like these are not a good influence on even exo..
    I have liked them a lot, but now they are not the same as before, not the music, neither them, there is not much solidarity in them, even tho their slogan is we are one (dont misunderstand that it bcuz of superM, it has been this way for a long time)
    If he has a point then he can say it without demeaning other groups, he can use general terms, but putting out exo’s is just a way of getting other fandoms or multifandom people to dislike exo.

  18. I think he is going a bit far but as a multi-fandom fan as far as I’ve heard in all the songs I’m hearing nobody is copying EXO, BTS is doing their best, so is Got7 and other kpop groups. And yes kpop has it’s flaws but at least it’s trying it’s best to give fantastic music to all kpop fans.

    1. Why don’t you man up and call out the agencies name. K-pop is more like a separate gener so of course there will be some kind of similarities. Moreover, people gonna critize anyways. BTS tried to create something new, tried to make some difference, they received critisim. Like if you stick to old style, it’s boring. If you try to create new, it’s not acceptable. Like what the hell actually you want.

  19. Well first of all I like EXO!!
    And if this is the company that produced super M?? If not acept my apologies. But I think this group sounded too much like NCT. I like the individual groups best & Taeyang from SF9 , doesn’t get enough recognition for his original outstanding dancing. That’s my comment

  20. The whole Statement just seems like he’s boasting about being a producer in SM but like I’m an Army but just forget about BTS for a moment have you even listened to Stray Kids songs… That is creativity oh and how about SEVENTEEN they are Goddess

  21. SM Town has produced some of the greatest groups and solo artists. The Legend herself, the Queen of Kpop BoA, Red Velvet, Super Junior, and others BEFORE Exo or BTS. They have shown to belt out unique music. And he is right, a lot of the new Kpop artists are essentially carbon copies of each other. I would say they need chill, think about it, and assess what his he is saying.

  22. After commenting out of turn and leaking info on upcoming releases many times prior to this, SM did not renew their contract with this producer’s company, right on the eve of SuperM. This is a sour grapes retaliation and should be considered the comment of a disgruntled ex-employee.

    1. Reading the article and comment months late, but HE didn’t resign the contract SM offered him not other way around. And he mentioned NEW agencies or groups not already established ones. Also he mentioned companies asking him to write for them songs like for EXO to which he replied with a no and to be more creative because EXO is EXO. He didn’t say any other groups are sounding like them but companies want their groups to have that sound. Does that make sense? Anyway, totally agree with his comment. People might not like what he says or some feel like he is attacking other groups but that’s not the case. Clearly he talks about music itself (not groups) from a music producers stand point.

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