actors and singers Lee Seung Gi He was reportedly not paid by his former agency hook entertainment for his music releases over a period of 18 years as they manipulated him into believing that his hits were in fact not profitable due to the costs incurred.
A few days ago, Lee Seung Gi applied for content certification and demanded transparent accounting from Hook.
Well, Dispatch has now reported that he hasn’t been paid for his music by Hook at all since 2004.
While Hook Entertainment collected the revenue from Lee Seung Gi’s music, Lee Seung Gi received no money. In the past 18 years, he has released a total of 137 songs, but his music-related earnings have remained 0 won.
Dispatch received a settlement statement from the distribution channels that distributed Lee Seung Gi’s music. Between 2006 and 2022, Lee Seung Gi’s music activities generated revenues of over KRW 9.60 billion (approx. USD 7.16 million). In other words, the same amount was booked as revenue in his company account at Hook Entertainment. The documents for 2004-2009 were lost, so not all information could be recovered. As the information was lost, the accounts from June 2004 to August 2009 could not be fully verified, so both the income and expense accounts no longer exist. There’s no way to confirm how much was spent compared to what he earned on his hits during that time, although some estimates have been made for 2006-2009. However, it can be assumed that Lee Seung Gi’s music sales would easily exceed KRW 10.0 billion (approx. USD 7.46 million) if the missing years are taken into account.
Funnily enough, it all started with an erroneous text message from Hook, unknowingly revealing to him that a digital song he was releasing was eventually making money. A senior in the industry was slammed by Lee Seung Gi because he thought his songs had lost money.
Lee Seung Gi: Hyung. I think I also make money from digital sales. Even after the production fees of KRW 200 million (approx. USD 149,000), I earned KRW 33.6 million (approx. USD 25,100).
Senior: What are you talking about? How much do you think the royalties will be? You earn a lot of money for you. Haven’t you been paid yet?
Lee Seung Gi: That’s right. I keep hearing that I’m a minus singer.
Senior: What are the terms of your contract with Hook? Why haven’t you been paid yet?
In particular, Dispatch announced the details of his 6th album, which shows total production costs of $127,000 and earnings of $787,000, but no payment was made to him.
He had inquired about the company’s profitability in the past, but the company kept telling him that he was a “negative singer” because his fans weren’t buying albums and they were losing money because of production costs.
1) June 2021: Seung Gi! I don’t want to say that to a singer from our agency… You’re a minus singer, how should we calculate that?
2) August 2022: Do you know how much it costs to promote an album? I had to give a gift to Media Director A and bought another gift for Media Director B…
3) November 2022: You are so annoying! We asked Accountant Park to prepare the billing data, but the f***er wouldn’t do it because he didn’t want to work.
Incidentally, Hook was recently searched on suspicion of embezzlement by company executives, and while that’s allegedly unrelated, it certainly doesn’t add to their credibility on the matter.
I’m honestly just shocked that a “big” agency could get away with effectively cheating a big star for so long. I’m expecting a lot of bullshit, and maybe I could see a company skim a famous artist, but I never thought that someone of Lee Seung Gi’s fame would get nothing for his music for almost two decades. The media describes it as a new “slave contract,” and it’s hard to disagree.