Activities pushed back due to SM – Lee Soo Man dispute, aespa is likely to fall behind 4th-gen girl groups NewJeans and IVE

Fans are expressing disappointment about aespa’s current situation, which is affected by the internal conflict in SM.

aespa debuted in 2020 and is currently in the 4th year of their career. As SM’s 4th-generation representative, aespa was created by SM founder Lee Soo Man and he even built a unique worldview for SM called “Kwangya” based on aespa’s AI and futuristic concept. 


For Lee Soo Man, aespa’s success is essential. It is because this group will create the foundation for Kwangya to determine the future music moves of SM artists. Korean members Karina and Winter are known as the ones who form aespa’s identity. Karina helps highlight aespa’s AI visual and Winter adds uniqueness to their songs with her vocal. 

The name aespa was also mentioned in the recent internal dispute over SM’s management rights. On February 16th, SM CEO Lee Sung Soo made a revelation about Lee Soo Man. He claimed that Lee Soo Man was using aespa as a means to proceed with his “smart music city” business. It is said that Lee Soo Man forced aespa to sing a new song with lyrics about “planting trees” to promote his ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance)-related campaign. 

Earlier, aespa even went to Lee Soo Man’s alma mater to perform and suffered a sexual harassment controversy.

lee soo man aespa

As SM’s current management led by CEO Lee Sung Soo is in conflict with Lee Soo Man, SM artists, who should only focus on making music, even became hot topics for being mentioned in the internal dispute. Due to such issues, aespa’s music activities are being affected. 

Aespa is a group that once showed a strong presence in the K-pop girl group scene. However, for the past six months, they have not released a proper album.


They have been in the industry for four years, but they have not been able to express their own musical style freely. Meanwhile, their competitors, such as NewJeans and IVE, have been creating trends and gaining recognition overseas, increasing their cultural influence. In order to solidify their position in the K-pop industry, they need to release new musical content as soon as possible.

Sources: Naver

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