GWSN won the first trial to terminate the contract with their agency.
Due to intensifying competition in the idol market, sales of small and medium-sized entertainment agencies that have been raising idols are becoming difficult, and cases, where members are neglected, continue to appear. Recently, the 7-member multinational girl group GWSN won the first trial with no arguments in a lawsuit to terminate the exclusive contract with the agency. When the judgment is finalized, the exclusive contract will be terminated and the members can move freely.
According to the legal community recently, the 28th Civil Division of the Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by 7 GWSN members against their agency The Wave Music on the 12th to confirm the non-existence of the exclusive contract.
GWSN, which debuted in September 2018, moved to its current agency The Wave Music in July 2020 under an agreement as Kiwi Media Group, the agency at the time, went through rehabilitation procedures. However, in the second half of 2021, the group became less active and recently, there have been rumors among fans that the members are being neglected.
Looking at the situation of GWSN revealed in this lawsuit, it was found that all the members were evicted from the accommodation in February 2022 because the agency did not pay the rent. In July of that year, the dance practice room, which is an essential facility for idol activities, was discarded, and all the employees and managers of the agency who were in charge of GWSN activities left the company.
In particular, it turned out that the agency neglected visa work for two Japanese and Taiwanese members, and the two paid fines and even faced criminal records. No settlement data was provided to examine whether the settlement money, which can be called the singer’s ‘wage,’ was properly paid.
The GWSN side said, “Since the last album activity in June 2021, the plaintiffs have been neglected to a level where entertainment activities are impossible. The contract is completely invalid.”
Judicial precedents believe that the exclusive contract can be terminated if the trust relationship is broken, such as not providing settlement data. However, in this lawsuit, the company did not respond for more than 30 days even after receiving the complaint, so the lawsuit ended without a hearing process. If the company does not appeal within 14 days of receiving the judgment, the judgment becomes final.
Industry experts unanimously say that it is common for singers and trainees to be neglected without receiving support from their agency, as in the case of GWSN.
Despite the expansion of the idol market, only a few groups gain popularity, and if they do not achieve results in a short period of time after debut, they will not receive additional investment, making it difficult for small entertainment companies to do business. If the project is stranded due to a lack of investment funds, employees will leave one after another, leading to a situation where only the singers who are under exclusive contracts are left out.
Popular culture critic Jeong Deok Hyeon said, “In the past, small and medium-sized companies produced girl groups because there was a belief that they would succeed if they made idols, but since then, idols have often been left unattended and unable to move because of contracts.”