It didn’t take long for Pledis Entertainment founder Han Sung Soo to get into hot water after Big Hit Entertainment’s acquisition of Pledis was announced. Dispatch has reported that he credited his wife as a writer under the pseudonym SO JAY on eight IZ*ONE songs, presumably in order to keep royalties from their success.
On May 26, Dispatch released an exclusive report that the CEO had claimed to have been involved in writing lyrics for eight of IZ*ONE’s songs under the name “So Jay.” According to the report, “We Together,” a song that had been created for Mnet’s “Produce 48” and released in September 2018, did not credit So Jay at the time of its release, but the name was included when the same song was released in October in IZ*ONE’s first mini album “COLOR*IZ.” So Jay is also credited in IZ*ONE’s second mini album “HEART*IZ” as having participated in writing lyrics for “Violeta,” as well as songs like “Destiny,” “Pink Blusher,” and “Open Your Eyes” on IZ*ONE’s first studio album “BLOOM*IZ.” According to Dispatch’s reporting, So Jay’s share in “Pink Blusher” is set at 1.5 times larger than others who are credited for the song. Dispatch reported, “The identity behind So Jay is the wife of Pledis Entertainment CEO Han Sung Soo, and her work experience consists of her being a visual director. She has no experience in music,” and “So Jay is unfairly profiting from royalties. So Jay did not actually participate in creating songs for IZ*ONE’s album and has no right to claim any ownership over the eight songs.”
In response, Pledis didn’t deny it and offered up a rather limp excuse.
Pledis Entertainment responded to Dispatch’s report and stated, “It was CEO Han Sung Soo who participated in the songs, and he made the decision to use his wife’s name and not his own.” Han Sung Soo also stated, “I personally participated in the music creation process. Despite this, it was still thoughtless of me to receive royalties under my wife’s name.” He added, “All I wanted was to be compensated for my work. I wanted to be recognized for my participation. I did not think it through. I was greedy and did not uphold the dignity that a producer should have. I apologize.”
As Dispatch points out, this doesn’t really track, as he was already compensated for his work and it seems like he just wanted to double dip.
But Dispatch points out that if what Pledis claims is true, Han Sung Soo is using secretive methods to gain additional profit. Han Sung Soo was paid an income by CJ ENT as IZ*ONE’s main producer. His income encompassed his work for IZ*ONE, so to be paid additionally for composing their songs would be side pocketing.
Given that Han Sung Soo’s wife was getting bigger shares than others who did actually work on the songs, this definitely comes off like fraud on some level. While I doubt this is big enough to impact the Pledis acquisition by Big Hit, it certainly this needs to be investigated and the writers/producers who got screwed by this should be compensated. Just shady as hell all around.
Also, as somebody reminded me, Pledis came under fire for similar things before, with SEVENTEEN fans in particular holding their feet to the fire on it. Given the potential history of the company not giving adequate credit to the artists for their contributions, I wonder if the rest of their credits will be looked at now.