EXO’s lack of activity is what brought SM the financial shock in the first half of 2019.
K-Pop in the first half of 2019 has been extremely active with many heated battles from rookies to top groups from JYP, YG and Big Hit. However, it’s easy to realize that SM’s artists are not interested in these battles. In the first half of 2019, only NCT is seemingly pushed by SM. With the absence of many of their artists, especially EXO, SM’s profit is heavily affected. Specifically, according to Ilgan Sports, stock specialists revealed that in the first quarter of 2019, compared to 2018, even though the total income was up 18% but the profit went down 73% compared to last year.
Even though they have succeeded in expanding the market with promising sales on an international scale, it is still not enough to compensate for the albums of SM’s artists. EXO – this agency’s current ace – is concentrating on solo activities such as Chen’s solo debut, the debut of a new sub-unit, Lay’s comeback along with another member’s after Chen’s but there has been no group comeback at all.
If at the beginning of 2018, SM was crowded with SHINee, Red Velvet, NCT’s comebacks along with TVXQ, Super Junior, EXO’s concerts, 2019 is much quieter. This is also why SM’s financial state is dull in the first half of 2019. This might result in an internal fight during the latter half of 2019 between artists from the same agency – which is what SM usually do every end of the year. But that’s also the golden time for SM to return to a stable financial state.