The Korea Herald


Questions raised over fair promotion of RM, NewJeans

By Kim Jae-heun

Published : May 2, 2024 - 15:13

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NewJeans (Ador) NewJeans (Ador)

K-pop fans are raising concern over Hybe's promotional activities for BTS member RM and girl group NewJeans, as they are each set to make a comeback with new albums in May, amid an ongoing conflict between Hybe and Min Hee-jin, the CEO of Ador sublabel under Hybe.

BTS and NewJeans are boy and girl groups under Big Hit Music and Ador, respectively, which both fall under the Hybe umbrella. They are considered the “beloved kids” of their producers Bang Si-hyuk and Min, who have recently locked horns over Min's alleged breach of trust.

NewJeans will release double singles, “How Sweet” and “Bubble Gum,” on May 24 and RM is set to drop his second solo album, “Right Place, Wrong Person,” on the same day.

RM (Big Hit Music) RM (Big Hit Music)

K-pop fans are speculating that Hybe purposely scheduled RM's comeback on the same date to disrupt the rookie girl band's comeback. Min also accused Bang of treating NewJeans poorly and preventing the active promotion of the group at an early stage.

"To make the public think that Le Sserafim was 'Min Hee-jin's girl group,’ Hybe didn't even let me promote NewJeans until they debuted," Min said during her emotional press conference held in Seoul on April 25. Le Sserafim is another K-pop girl group under Source Music, also affiliated with Hybe.

The awkwardness of the schedule -- RM and NewJeans making their respective comeback on the same day -- is not lost on K-pop fans.

"Often, K-pop bands try to avoid releasing new albums on the same day as it can distract them from getting full attention. It makes no sense that RM and NewJeans are making their comebacks on the same day, especially as they are Hybe artists,” said Kil Tae-gyu, a K-pop fan, in Seoul on Thursday.

Hybe refuted the claims and said a change in the comeback date for RM and NewJeans was not possible.

“Each label (under Hybe’s multi-label system) decides the release date of their K-pop group’s new album independently. When the dates overlap, we adjust them. This time, it was not possible to change the comeback dates (for RM and NewJeans). We have notified Min and she confirmed that she has no problem with it,” Hybe said Thursday.