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Red Velvet’s contract renewals: Uncertain future amidst Irene’s decision

Red Velvet, which debuted in August 2014 with their first single ‘Happiness,’ celebrated their 9th anniversary this year. In the K-pop industry, where the maximum exclusive contract period is limited to 7 years according to the Fair Trade Commission’s standard contract, 7 years is considered a ‘jinxed period.’ Red Velvet has not officially confirmed any contract renewals to date, but as they have been active for over 7 years, it appears they have broken the 7-year jinx.

However, as they approach their 10th year since debut, thoughts on contract renewals are coming up one by one. Seulgi was the first to break the news last month by renewing her contract with SM Entertainment.

The contract periods of Red Velvet members vary due to issues such as their joining years at SM, and there are cases where the contract is extended under mutual agreement before it expires. Therefore, even within the same group, the contract periods of members differ.

To smoothly carry out full-group activities, all members must renew their contracts with SM. Of course, if a clause is included in the contract to maintain group activities even if a member leaves SM, Red Velvet can continue. However, this would require strong bonds of loyalty even without a renewed contract or a beautiful farewell with the original agency.

In the case of Red Velvet, the situation is ambiguous. Leader Irene has not renewed her contract. Therefore, SM is currently unable to confirm Red Velvet’s activities, including albums, performances, and events.

Was it a 9-year stroke of luck?

Red Velvet has had an album hiatus since releasing ‘Feel My Rhythm’ in March and ‘Birthday’ in November last year. They announced ‘The ReVe Festival 2022,’ a new music festival that would start with ‘Feel My Rhythm,’ but they have only released two albums. It’s hardly worthy of being called a ‘festival.’ It ended almost as soon as it started.

Ultimately, the Red Velvet fandom protested in front of the SM building in July with a truck carrying messages like “It’s the 10th year since debut, and you only have a 2nd full album? Execute the 3rd full album plan as promised” and “What’s the point of just releasing songs? SM’s promotional activities relying on brand recognition. Conduct various promotions.”

While they did announce through a live broadcast last month that they were preparing for the 3rd full album in the second half of this year, whether these plans will proceed smoothly if contract negotiations falter remains uncertain.

Especially since the ‘SM 3.0′ era, which has been publicized since Lee Soo-man’s departure from the exclusive producing system, various artists, including Kim Min-jong, Super Junior’s Kyuhyun, Eunhyuk, and Donghae, Girls’ Generation’s Sunny, Shin Dong-yup, and Lee Hye-sung, have left SM. Therefore, the renewal status of Red Velvet is a matter to watch. Additionally, since SM is a publicly traded company, it cannot escape the influence on its stock price.


Author Nat.O
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