The Korean version of the song is the lead single from the group's second studio album of the same name, Lucifer, released in 2010. The song was released as a digital single on July 19, 2010, one day after the South Korean release of the album.
The song's music video was released on July 19, 2010 via the official YouTube channel of SM Entertainment. The group made their comeback on July 23, 2010 on Music Bank. They performed the song live in during the following days on KBS and other broadcasting channels. Minho did not participate in the dances, however, sitting on a chair due to a leg injury which had already delayed the album's release and promotion. A choreography version of the music video was released on YouTube on August 3, 2010. The dance was choreographed by choreographers Shim Jae-Won (who was previously a member of Black Beat) and Rino Nakasone-Razalan.
The song sold over 374,000 downloads in its first week of release in South Korea, earning the second position on the Gaon Single Weekly Chart. By the end of 2010, "Lucifer" had been downloaded 1,429,985 times, and went on to be downloaded another 779,474 times in 2011 and 181,436 times in the first half of 2012.
On October 12, 2011 a Japanese version of "Lucifer" was released as their third Japanese single. It was released in three versions: a limited edition type A, which included a can badge-type MP3 player including the song "Lucifer", a bonus DVD, a 68-page photo book, a trading card, and digipak; a limited edition type B with the same contents as type A but minus the MP3 player; and a regular edition including a bonus DVD and a 44-page photo book. The single ranked inside the top three of the Oricon charts, including their debut "Replay" and "Juliette," setting a new record for a foreign artist in the country.
On January 2011, the Serbian singer Jelena Karleusa was caught in a plagiarism controversy over her song "Muskarac koji mrzi zene (Hologram)". The song was first revealed on YouTube, and fans immediately discovered that it might be a plagiarized version of SHINee's hit "Lucifer". The song rearranged and divided different parts of "Lucifer", but kept the overall melody and beat intact, making it more like a translated version of exactly the same song. The problem is that the song is available for free download on the singer's official homepage, leading many to exclaim that distributing a plagiarized song is an act damaging to the original composer.
On January 7, 2011, regarding the controversy, SM Entertainment officials stated, "On January 6th, we confirmed with our U.S. publishers that the song is an infringement of copyright. We will be taking joint action."