As Hallyu grows, so does the sale of music abroad. Digital sales of singles and albums have reached global distributors such as iTunes, and groups such as JYJ, to name just one, have reached the Billboard Charts. Even physical album sales can even be found as far as America.

It has recently been found out that popular Korean music distributors Soribada and CJ Mnet have been reportedly distributing music abroad illegally.

The problem lies within consent and signed contracts. Essentially what happened is the companies were only supposed to sell the music within Korea, but have sold to other countries without the knowledge or consent of the artists or their companies. This means Soribada and Mnet have been selling copyrighted material they don’t have consent to sell outside of Korea.

A distribution employee of 2NE1 stated “Since we never mentioned signing an international distribution contract it’s illegal…”

The attraction of the sites is the lowered prices that the sites offer. Soribada sells packages of songs lowering the prices down to sometimes 60 won a song, when a site like iTunes would typically sell a song for around 1,500. Despite the lowering of prices, they still make a profit because lowered prices bring in a lot more customers. For international fans that do not want to illegally download music, these websites are essential, so to see this happen is worrying, will these sites have to stop selling music internationally?

Also, who is to blame?

Soribada and Mnet are sticking to the same story, that it was an employee mistake. Those who caused the matter in question have resigned and the companies want to move past something that could tarnish their image. However, the matter has touched a deeper nerve.

Assemblyman Lee Chul Woo stated “Selling someone’s work overseas is no different from theft. To illegally distribute music for free is only hindering Hallyu.”

It seems that what started as an apparent employee mistake has become an issue regarding national pride. Some see it as a mistake and some see it as a big hindrance to Hallyu. What do you think?

We shall keep you updated on this issue as more news is released. If ways of legally purchasing music disappears it might encourage more people to download music illegal, which will cause further damage.