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Enhypen to make MBC show debut, ending yearslong performance dispute

MBC, Hybe sign deal aimed at creating healthy workplace environment, improving K-pop artists’ rights

Nov. 7, 2023 - 14:57 By Lee Si-jin

Boy band Enhypen performs during its first world tour, “Manifesto,” in Seoul in 2022. (Belift Lab)

K-pop boy band Enhypen is scheduled to perform on MBC’s “Show! Music Core” for the first time since its debut in 2020, signaling an end to a yearslong dispute between the group's agency Hybe and the broadcaster.

Though the group has starred in various local music shows, including KBS’ “Music Bank,” SBS’ “Inkigayo” and more, Enhypen -- along with other Hybe artists -- have not been able to perform on MBC programs since a disagreement over a BTS performance in 2019. The entertainment agency had had a rocky relationship with the broadcaster since.

MBC made the announcement on Monday after it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Hybe the same day on creating a healthy content production environment that protects K-pop stars’ rights and interests.

“We sincerely welcome Enhypen to be on the ‘Show! Music Core’ stage. We look forward to collaborating and meeting more Hybe artists in entertainment and reality shows and other types of TV shows on MBC,” an MBC official said.

The conflict erupted over their differences concerning BTS’ appearance in the 2019 Gayo Daejejeon -- MBC’s annual year-end music show program.

As K-pop sensation BTS was scheduled to perform live in New York City’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve for the countdown, Hybe, then Big Hit Entertainment, proposed a pre-recorded performance for Gayo Daejejeon taking place in Seoul on the same day.

MBC refused the proposal and Hybe, in response, withdrew its artists Tomorrow X Together and GFriend from that year’s Gayo Daejejeon lineup.

No Hybe artists have gone on an MBC music program since. Those who debuted after 2019 in particular, Enhypen, Le Sserafim and NewJeans, have not performed on “Show! Music Core" before.

Hybe CEO Park Ji-won (left) and MBC President Ahn Hyung-joon pose for a photo after signing a memorandum of understanding at Hybe’s headquarters in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul, on Monday. (Hybe)

Under Monday's deal, the broadcaster agreed to root out abusive practices such as coercing artists to take part in awards ceremonies and TV programs, unilateral requests to change production schedules and artists' media engagement without mutual agreement.

MBC President Ahn Hyung-joon said he hopes to create a win-win partnership to develop quality Korean content and K-pop music.

MBC will focus on creating a healthy content production environment where K-pop stars’ rights and interests are protected. It will also work to raise public awareness about creative industry workers, the broadcaster said in a statement.

The memorandum was signed a week after Bang Si-hyuk, the founder and chairman of Hybe, visited MBC headquarters in Sangam-dong, western Seoul, on Oct. 30.

Hybe CEO Park Ji-won expressed his gratitude to the broadcaster and said he hoped to create a future-oriented relationship with MBC.

The upcoming “Show! Music Core” featuring Enhypen’s stage performance will be at 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 18.