The reason for AVEX’s behavior a few months ago towards JYJ (Jaejoong, Yoochun, Junsu) may have been revealed in a new official statement from the company. AVEX’s (Japan) renewed ties to SM (Korea) seem to be antithetical to supporting to JYJ. It does appear to some observers that AVEX made the calculated business decision to block JYJ’s rise in Japan in exchange for getting to represent other SM artists.
The ultimatum from SM to AVEX may have been to either get the trio to give in, or to drop them completely. The obvious penalty for continuing to support JYJ would have been that AVEX could lose out on the opportunity to represent other SM artists in Japan.
According to the translated statement released in Japan, AVEX “will be executing exclusive contracts of Super Junior and f(x)”, along with continuing to be the agency of choice for BoA and J-Min. Also included in that list of AVEX-managed artists is “Tohoshinki”. But this won’t be the Tohoshinki you’re used to. This new “Tohoshinki” will only include Yunho and Changmin, apparently. All of these groups, in case you still haven’t gotten it, are artists controlled… uh, owned… no, uh, signed to SM in Korea.
All sorts of questions have been raised in the wake of this announcement by SM and AVEX. Was AVEX pressured to persuade the trio to go back to SM? Was AVEX pressured by SM to sever ties with the trio or risk being cut out of this lucrative deal with other SM artists like f(x) and Super Junior? Did CJeS have anything at all to do with AVEX’s decision, or were they using it as cover for when they would cave in to SM?
After JYJ totally rejected SM’s draconian demands, pointing the finger at CJeS (currently with JYJ) looks like an excuse. They appear to have used the CJeS connection in order to block JYJ from performing in Japan. Once that was done, AVEX was granted access to SM’s other artists. It was a business decision which caused the previously stellar (ok, kinda stellar) reputation of AVEX to be put into doubt. And what a turn around.
AVEX built up massive support from hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of fans in Asia and other countries because they allowed JYJ to exist, unhindered, in Japan. For a while, they were seen as honest brokers who only wanted to maintain a connection between JYJ and their fans (while also being the beneficiaries of massive amounts of money they would rake in because of it).
But something happened. Something changed. JYJ was being entirely too successful in Japan and their popularity skyrocketed. They were releasing, and in some cases writing, songs which debuted at #1 on the Oricon Weekly chart. This was almost unheard of. No Korean group has as many #1 songs on the Japanese Oricon chart as Tohoshinki.
Their success increased the number of Japanese who became aware of their musical ability. JYJ filled Tokyo DOME by themselves, although it was a painful experience considering the last time they accomplished this was when they were a 5 member group. Their hard work also further pushed open the doors to other Korean artists.
To bottom-line it, they were entirely too successful without the backing of SM. They were rising even higher and faster than many people would have predicted despite the SM dispute. This was, obviously, an enormous embarrassment to SM. Maybe this was the time when SM put the hammer to AVEX.
Either way, the relationship between JYJ and AVEX crumbled because the higher-ups made the decision to choose SM… and the many groups they now have access to seemingly because they cut JYJ off at the knees.
But the resiliency and determination of these three young men seems infinite because it didn’t stop there. JYJ released their first English showcase album, and worked with world-known producers Rodney Jerkins and Kanye West. Did I mention that two members aren’t yet fluent in English but managed to pull it together in the face of enormous stress!
Tens of thousands of people in the US ultimately saw them perform, as they battled stress, sickness and exhaustion. Thousands of people came to their concerts while thousands more, who couldn’t get into the venues, waited outside to show support. For all 3 showcases in the US, people began lining up hours, sometimes a whole day, before the actual concert. They turned a visa problem into a golden opportunity to present their music to people who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford to come see them perform. That was priceless.
In addition, the members hit Twitter like a bolt of lightning and now hundreds of thousands of people follow every post they make. For example, one photo of Junsu with his cat can send tens of thousands of folk into a full swoon! Seriously.
Every time a door is slammed in their face, they don’t have to sneak in through a window. They punch a giant hole through the wall and find a way to keep going. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Or at least I don’t think SM expected or wanted it to happen.
I think by now some of the execs. at SM thought the trio would be on the verge of collapse. They were supposed to be begging to come back. They were supposed to have learned their lesson by now… or be starving by now… or be hated by the fans by now.
The trio have tasted a freedom they’ve never had before and are testing their own talent. Nothing is always perfect and mistakes are how you learn.
Hopefully SM will learn from the mistakes they’ve made in relation to JYJ. For its part, AVEX probably will get much more blame from fans now. Because of this new statement, they appear to have blocked/dropped JYJ so they could get access to other SM artists. Possibly a “great business decision” for them, but certainly a bridge-burning action to many fans.
Tohoshinki Official Website
Translation: linhkawaii @ OneTVXQ.com