A/N: I see a lot of new kpop fangirls, i mean that’s normal the hallyu wave is spreading, but there is a lot that they do not understand. So I thought I’d make this list so you guys can understand just what conditions your favourite kpop idols work in.
The way kpop entertainment industries work, comes from a very prominent and successful Japanese marketing strategy.
The easiest way to explain it would be artist education and distribution. That’s what they do. Basically they recruit artists, invest in their education (both academic and musical) and then distribute artists to those companies and events that require them - includes making albums, events, concerts and fansigns, endorsements too.
On paper this looks like a very clean execution of a plan that aims to uplift the artist. Lol. There is a huge integral part of this plan which eventually puts the artist’s life and integrity at danger - the investment.
When a company invests in an artist, it includes everything from their training, their clothing, the guidance of instructors and managers, their staff, their training in special things such a martial arts or ballet, and even the transport to and from events.
This doesn’t look like much but if you consider it, the artist is already in debt before they debut or even if they don’t debut.
There are contracts that are signed with minors mostly (because most of the korean artists become trainess when they are minors) so it’s the parents that sign the contract literally stating that they will pay off the debt when they become famous or pay a compensation if they wanna break the contract.
Consider this. A minor gets into a contract and lives with the trainee allowance that the company gives, in a small dorm with all other trainees. They have to also keep an eye on what they eat because they get monitored every other week or so (where they are asked to check weight, height and appearance and even take sample photoshoots to understand their best angle) but if you’re a teen away from home and constantly broke how are you going to eat healthy and a lot? you won’t.
ONLY VERY FEW TRAINEES EVENTUALLY DEBUT. There are a lot of people who never debut or leave the company. Those that debut have it even more tough because now their debt is going to increase because of all the music they produce, the shows they get on and even the clothes and photoshoots they have to do.
HOW THEY EARN: artists earn by becoming an employee of the company they work with so a songwriter or a composer or a producer reduces the debt by earning the salary of a songrwriter/composer/producer. Or they do advertisments or dramas or films or take up other business endorsements. This is how they earn
If you’re in a group, the money goes to resolving the debt of the GROUP not individual. That’s why in a group they have designated people for advertisments (suzy from Miss A) or drama (N and Hongbin of VIXX) or musicals (Ken and Leo of ViXX) or writing/composing/producing (Rap Monster and Suga of BTS). This may not be the case for every company.
The korean music industry runs by season. So there are a minimum of 2 comebacks for a group in a year. But nobody ever sticks to that. Every group usually puts out 2 albums in a year and an EP, or 3 EPs. They manage to have a comeback atleast thrice in a year. This may also include overseas activity like a japan/china/thai area comeback.
Because the amount of music they have to put out is a lot, they are also in immense pressure. Your oppa looks tired and thin because they are under pressure to put out better work without copying anyone else’s music.
All of this, we have talked about the artist. But in this industry my loves, the artist themselves gets very little say. It’s the president, management and the producers of an industry which decide the type of music an artist will do or a group will do and they do so for years. Your oppa or unnie don’t get a lot of say. The company decides their music, a composer will make them their music, the coordi noonas will decide which program they get on, the stylist decides what clothes they will wear.
Do you realise how little control the person has in their life? Remember that they are in debt too. All of this, because they became famous.
And you might question, why do parents send their kids to become idols if this is how they live.
because they are famous and most often rich because they’re known
BECAUSE ‘THEY BECOME FAMOUS’ IS A VERY GOOD REASON TO TRUDGE THROUGH THIS LIFE FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN POOR
background check your oppas and you will realise that the conditions they’ve had to live in before they chose to pursue music, weren’t very nice. They all come into this industry because this is only way to make money and eat and live while doing something they love
even if it means living the way they do.
DISCLAIMER: Whatever I’ve written may or may not apply to all industries. I’ve only mentioned those things that I’ve found out during my research and I thought it was important to acknowledge these artists because they’re not always living life with a golden spoon. Please forgive me if I have hurt or mislead or disrespected anyone. I will retract my statements if they are proven to be untrue.