Posted by Janie-Reign Sunday, May 9, 2021

'Unanswered Questions' investigates K-Pop lyricists who allegedly take credit without writing the lyrics


SBS's 'Unanswered Questions' has investigated a particularly mysterious corner of K-Pop.

Recently, the issue of 'ghost writers' in K-Pop surfaced after DJ DOC's Lee Ha Neul professed that his late brother Lee Hyun Bae had written the lyrics that were, on paper, claimed to have been written by Kim Chang Ryul and Jung Jae Yong

Prior to this controversy, 'Unanswered Questions' was contacted in March by an anonymous whistle-blower who claimed a similar occurrence in K-Pop. 'Kim', a certain owner of a private institute for young lyricists, allegedly placed their name in over 400 songs. The songs were by popular groups including EXO, Red Velvet, and Kang Daniel.

The anonymous informant expressed that 'Kim' often took lyrics from their own students and also received 8% of the copyright fee for EXO and Yoo Jae Suk's "Dancing King", which had been completely conceptualized and lyricized by the informant herself. The informant was said to have received only 2.5% of the song. 

Furthermore, the anonymous informant reported that a certain 'S', who lyricized for many songs by artists at SM Entertainment, was always found in the credits along with 'Kim', especially for songs by EXO. Through a different anonymous lyricist, 'Unanswered Questions' was able to obtain the contents of a phone call between 'Kim' and 'Mr. Choi', who used to be a high-level A&R manager at SM Entertainment.

According to the information gathered, 'S' was the wife of Mr. Choi, and the couple had known 'Kim' for many years. When 'Unanswered Questions' contacted SM Entertainment to check the details, the company responded that they did not know of 'S' and Mr. Choi's relationship back then and that Mr. Choi was fired with severe punishment when it was later discovered that he did not maintain transparency.

However, 'Kim' told 'Unanswered Questions' that 'S' had never placed her own name on the credits without having participated in the lyricizing process. "It is just that 'S' and the A&R employee (Mr. Choi) happened to be family members, which led them to work out everything privately," claimed 'Kim'. 

Currently, 'Kim' has made all their SNS accounts and YouTube account private. 

Who do you think are the real writers of K-Pop lyrics?

  1. EXO
  2. Red Velvet
  3. Kang Daniel
20 24,492 Share 92% Upvoted


T_Jazz5,269 pts Sunday, May 9, 2021 6
Sunday, May 9, 2021

I like a lot of Kenzie's songs, not for the lyricism of course since I seldom pay any attention to them. Anyway, I hope she's not the 'Kim' they're referencing. I'd hate to lose any respect for her.

But funny thing, I was just in a similar discussion only hours ago. In defense AND condemnation of an artist using "pieces" he heard members of his band(s) playing while tuning up or in jam sessions in his recordings without crediting or paying them. The condemnation is obvious -- especially when most of them were childhood friends. But the defense was all about the contract, "business is business." Work product is owned by him.

My friend, who I was debating, the way she was vehemently defending the musician (we fight over who's the bigger fan) 🤫 I'll never tell her she may be.

Back to the "institute" using students' lyrics without crediting or paying them:

It 𝘮𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘣𝘦 the same deal. Although the student owns the copyright, in college, we signed a document stating that the university could use our research, papers and findings. I think it comes down to whatever agreement the students signed at Kim's institute. Regardless, it still feels all wrong.


6 more replies


Procrastinating2,343 pts Sunday, May 9, 2021 0
Sunday, May 9, 2021
That sucks. Unfortunatly, I think this sort of problem is common in many fields. It's a typical boss taking credit for their employee's work, banking on it that the "little guy" needs the job so won't complain. Or professors taking credit for students work in the guise of "guidance". The guy with lyrics acadamy probably jusitifies it to himself saying the students would never get opportunities like that without his connections... As if that makes it ok.



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