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At the Home of BTS, Turmoil Over a Rising K-Pop Star

The video had none of the hallmarks of K-pop. No catchy tune, no snazzy outfits, no slick dance routines. Definitely no stars. It was set in an unremarkable auditorium with plain white tables and a large projector screen.

But it included screenshots of chats between two power players in the industry and instantly became the talk of the K-pop world.

It was the live broadcast of a two-hour emotional tell-all delivered last month by Min Hee-Jin, the producer of NewJeans, arguably today’s hottest K-pop act. She had called a news conference to dispute accusations of corporate malfeasance by her employer, Hybe, the K-pop colossus behind BTS.

The unusually public and hostile feud — which has included allegations of plagiarism, chart rigging and shamanism — has led to hundreds of millions of dollars being wiped off Hybe’s market value. And it has cast a cloud over Hybe’s relationship with a rising star, NewJeans, while its biggest act, BTS, is on hiatus.

“It’s about money, it’s about control and also the ownership of an artist,” said Andrew Eungi Kim, referring to NewJeans. A professor at Korea University, Mr. Kim studies the country’s cultural influence, a phenomenon known as hallyu.

The members of BTS, who are all serving in South Korea’s military because of mandatory conscription, are not expected to reunite until next year. As some of them have released solo albums, NewJeans has racked up its share of accolades. In the past year it has topped the Billboard 200, played at Lollapalooza and appeared in commercials for Apple and Coca-Cola.