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[11.05.04] The birth of “Shinhwa Company”, headed by Eric and Lee Minwoo

May 7, 2011

There are a couple of articles out there, for those who just want the gist of it:

Earlier today, Sports Chosun reported that there are plans for Shinhwa to set up “Shinhwa Company”, headed by Eric and Minwoo, while the other members will be shareholders. The “Shinhwa” brand name/trademark is owned by Open World Entertainment, so Eric & Minwoo had a 6-hour marathon discussion with Open World reps on 30th April and agreed to set up “Shinhwa Company”, with Top Class Entertainment managing all activities in Korea and Open World managing the rights for all overseas activities and promotions. The Shinhwa members will then work based on a subcontract system, with the members’ individual management companies receiving a share of the earnings from group activities.

However, yet another article emerged in SPN Edaily with Open World CEO Jang Seok Woo saying that while there was indeed a 6-hour discussion with Eric on this issue, no concrete decisions have been made yet.

Subsequently, Star News also reported that a rep from Top Class confirmed that there are plans to set up a company named after the group, but the plans have not been finalized as yet.

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“Shinhwa Company” has been born.

Korea’s longest-running group Shinhwa, has set up a company bearing their group’s name. It’s the first time that any Korean idol group has set up a company to manage their own group activities, and it seems that their every move will be receiving much attention from now onwards.

Shinhwa Company will be headed by members Eric and Lee Minwoo, while remaining members Shin Hyesung, Kim Dongwan, Junjin and Andy will be key shareholders.

The decision was reached after a 6-hour marathon meeting on 30 April between Eric, Lee Minwoo and Open World Entertainment, who holds the rights to the Shinhwa trademark.

They reached an agreement to establish Shinhwa Company, with Eric’s current management company Top Class Entertainment managing all of Shinhwa’s activities in Korea, and Open World managing the rights to all of Shinhwa’s overseas activities and promotions.

It was said that after the meeting, Eric and Lee Minwoo sent celebratory text messages to the other members, informing them that the issue of setting up Shinhwa Company has been resolved.

With the establishment of Shinhwa Company, Shinhwa will continue their activities under the title of the longest-running group in Korea. During this period of time, there have been obstacles to their group activities as all the members belong to different management agencies. But after Shinhwa Company is set up, each management agency will sign sub-contracts for the members’ group activities, and receive a share of the earnings from these activities. This secures the Shinhwa members’ time for group activities.

A source familiar with Shinhwa expressed, “The establishment of Shinhwa Company is possible only with the active participation of Open World. With the members directly managing the company, Shinhwa will be able to stay active for a longer period of time. In addition they can now make plans for longer-term activities and produce better songs for fans.”

This also implies that the members can now proceed full steam ahead towards the goal of releasing Shinhwa’s new album next March. Currently Lee Minwoo, Junjin and Andy are all still serving their military duties. Junjin and Andy will be discharged this year while Lee Minwoo is scheduled to be discharged next March.

For the new album, Eric, Kim Dongwan and Shin Hyesung, who’s now preparing for his own solo album, are all working on the concept of the album. The remaining members will join in the production of the album upon their discharge from military service.

Having made their debut in 1998, Shinhwa has never changed their lineup for the past 13 years. Their representative hits include ‘Brand New’, ‘Eusha Eusha’, ‘Haegyulsa’ and ‘T.O.P’.

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Amidst reports of Shinhwa setting up “Shinhwa Company” and making their comeback, CEO Jang Seok Woo of Open World Entertainment – who holds the rights to the Shinhwa trademark – has cautiously stated that “no concrete decisions have been made yet”.

CEO Jang Seok Woo told SPN Edaily on 4 May, “We were surprised to see the article about the Shinhwa members setting up Shinhwa Company. Though we said that we won’t restrict their activities, that does not mean that we have agreed to them using the name of Shinhwa.”

“We met up with Eric on 30th April, not having met him for 4 years, and we had a 6-hour discussion. At that time we agreed to letting the members reuniting for their group activities as they wish. But there hasn’t been any kind of concrete decision made yet.”

However, CEO Jang has expressed a positive attitude towards the wishes of the Shinhwa members and their big plans of setting up a company, and opened up the possibility of them resuming their group activities.”

He said, “We’re not thinking of taking up the management rights for Shinhwa’s domestic activities, and we’ll be holding the rights to their overseas activities and promotions. If the members set up another legal entity, which will sign subcontracts with each member’s respective management company and distribute the earnings from their group activities accordingly, we don’t see any huge problem with a format like that.”

He added, “I’ve requested for the members, led by Eric, to make a concrete proposal before 10th May. We will then proceed with discussions based on this proposal and make a reasonable decision.”

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In an interview with Star News on 4th May, a rep from Eric’s management company said, “There are indeed plans for the Shinhwa members to set up their own company, headed by Eric and Lee Minwoo. However, as the members all belong to different agencies, we still have to discuss further with each agency. There are still no concrete decisions made as of now.”

“If Shinhwa Company does get set up, long-term plans can then be made for group activities. Shinhwa’s comeback is scheduled for the first half of next year.”

Credits: Sports Chosun + SPN Edaily + Star News + Absolut Shinhwa

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