B.A.P staying with TS Entertainment may be the best decision their fans could’ve hoped for
B.A.P and TS Entertainment’s contractual disputes have finally come to an end with, as far as we can tell, all members remaining under the company. It’s after over 8 months of almost complete radio silence on the matter. As very little has actually been released about the circumstances surrounding this decision all that remains is for us to speculate wildly.
So speculate, we will.
Obviously, the group remaining with their agency means one of two things. They either couldn’t terminate their contracts or they decided they didn’t want to.
It is quite likely that the group didn’t actually win their lawsuit – or more likely believed they wouldn’t have as there doesn’t seem to have been a formal ruling. Block B, after all, didn’t win theirs and not on the grounds that they did receive all the money they were due but on the grounds that that there was insufficient evidence to prove the company had intentionally kept payments from them.
That’s a high and difficult bar to clear even if they have been wronged and B.A.P may well have known that they couldn’t do it. Particularly as they didn’t have access to much of the company’s accounts which was one of their principle reasons for filing in the first place.
Comparing the two cases, it’s not that surprising that B.A.P have decided to stay with their agency.
Block B came out of their lawsuit with a clear escape plan and people who could help them on the other side. Stardom probably knew there was no way they could get them to cooperate as a full group and decided to part ways knowing the public sentiment was on Block B’s side.
However if B.A.P did want to continue as a group, as it seems they do, and didn’t have the same creative team willing to help them out on the other side, sticking with TS would be the least worst option to allow them to continuing promoting as an idol group. The role TS played in B.A.P’s rise to fame would be a difficult one to fill creatively and financially.
B.A.P became a breakthrough success at a difficult time to become such a thing not just because of the talents of the members but also, and arguably mostly, because of some very savvy promotional and creative strategies created by and for TS Entertainment. As much as many B.A.P fans may hate to admit it given all that has happened since, it was largely the group’s back-breaking choreography and super-high production values that really made them stand out in the first place.
Without the very things that ran their moral, health and finances down to the ground, they may never have had gained the millions of fans who have since supported them through their legal proceedings.
Of course that’s a simplification and reading through all that was released by the group’s side at the time, their main issue was a lack of transparency and trust but it still remains a major factor in their success – one of which the members are no doubt aware. B.A.P never set out to change the system. Reading through everything that was released by their side last year, their main point of contention was not that there was an inherent problem with their contracts but that the terms of their contracts weren’t being met and they felt they were being deceived and exploited.
We don’t yet know if there have been any changes made to their contracts or if the group have received any kind of financial settlement. But what we do know is that they have managed to flip the script in their favour – always a powerful weapon in media land. In fact, one of the only concrete points made in TS’s statement was that they would no longer force the group to attend ‘schedules’ meaning the company has acknowledged that the way they were treated previously was wrong.
Going forward, the members of B.A.P have prioritised their wellbeing in the minds of their fans meaning TS Entertainment will be under much closer scrutiny from the outside. Any obvious attempts to work the group to exhaustion or swindle them out of money are much more likely to be discovered by the people who give the group much of their financial support. This means TS will feel much more pressure to look after the group well with the fear of another potential member or fan mutiny.
In the end it puts everyone in a much better position than before: B.A.P are returning to the stage, their fans get back the group they so adore and TS now has one of its biggest acts back on its books. This agreement should hopefully mean B.A.P are being treated with basic respect for the first time in their careers.
It’s a just shame it took over a year’s court battle to get there.