Pledis Entertainment‘s CEO, Han Sung Soo, has been accused by Dispatch of secretly adding his wife as a lyric composer of eight IZ*ONE songs for profit.
Dispatch’s investigations began when a lyricist under the name SO JAY appeared in IZ*ONE’s albums, yet no one in the industry seemed to know who he/she was.
Who Is SO JAY?
According to Korea Music Copyright Association, SO JAY was listed as Ms. Park who first listed in November 2018. SO JAY’s discography only includes IZ*ONE’s eight songs.
SO JAY is listed as a co-lyricist for the song “Memory” alongside famous composer BOOMBASTIC. SO JAY’s stake in the song is about 1.5 times more than BOOMBASTIC’s.
SO JAY’s name was also listed for IZ*ONE’s version of “WE TOGETHER”. But the song was originally released for PRODUCE48‘s final album back in September 2018. SO JAY’s name wasn’t listed in the original version of the song, but the song was re-released in October 2018 with SO JAY added into the credits.
She was also listed in IZ*ONE’s “Violeta”, “AIRPLANE”, “DESTINY”, “PINK BLUSHER”, “OPEN YOUR EYES” and more. SO JAY was credited in 5 songs from their mini-album and 3 songs from their full album.
Considering how IZ*ONE’s albums had top sales among girl groups each year, SO JAY’s sudden appearance on many of their songs became a mystery. How did a lyricist without previous experience get to participate in a top girl group’s albums?
SO JAY’s True Identity
After their own investigations, Dispatch reported that the name SO JAY belonged to none other than the wife of Pledis Entertainment’s CEO, Han Sung Soo. His wife had worked as a visual director in the past, but isn’t known to have any experience in composing music.
Dispatch claimed that his wife did not actually partake in the albums’ composition and that a deeper conspiracy was behind the name.
When confronted about it, Pledis reportedly explained that Han Sung Soo had taken part in the songs but listed himself under his wife’s pen-name.
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.
One industry insider suggests Han Sung Soo wanted to receive royalties from their songs but tried to go behind CJ ENT’s back.
It seems like he wanted to get royalties from the song as a producer but was weary of CJ ENT. If he was confident, he wouldn’t have needed to use his wife’s name.
— Industry Insider
In reality, SO JAY’s royalties didn’t belong to the wife but Han Sung Soo. If all of the accusations are true, Han Sung Soo would face issues with tax, as well as controversy for trying to side pocket additional money instead of claiming it as his company’s profit as he is the CEO.
So why did the other composers and lyricists agree to add in SO JAY’s name? One insider explained that composers and lyricists are at the beck and call of the producers due to the industry’s high competition.
There are hundreds of composers. They are inferiors (producers) who want to get chosen by the superiors (agencies). Even if their songs get picked, they have to listen to what the superiors say.
— Industry Insider
Han Sung Soo Responds To The Accusations
When confronted with the news, Han Sung Soo confessed that SO JAY was solely added in for his participation of the album. He explained that he added his wife’s name out of greed for profit and recognition.
He apologized for his carelessness.
I personally took part in the song production. Even so, it was careless of me to receive royalties under my wife’s name.
At the time, I simply wanted to be paid for my work. I wanted to be recognized for the work I put in to the songs. I was thoughtless. I didn’t respect the position of a producer and acted on greed.
— Han Sung Soo
Meanwhile, BigHit Entertainment has officially become the largest stakeholder of Pledis Entertainment just yesterday. Han Sung Soo announced that he plans to re-organize his shares, which are valued at around 100 billion won (~$81 million USD).