Go Premium
Facebook Twitter Google Plus

TL;DR – Kpop Slave Contracts

December 4, 2014

Comments

Share Post

We’ve been wanting to tackle this topic for a while. We’ve been sitting on this information about the unfairness of Break Even Points in the Kpop industry and how it’s used to keep artists in a clouded cyclone of debt, but we didn’t feel comfortable talking about it until other bands made it public. Han Geng supposedly talked about the lack of transparency or accountability when it comes to how his pay was determined, and recently B.A.P. have done the same, so we figured it’s time to talk a bit about the topic, and to let people know just how royally messed up and unfair the system can be.

**ULTRA MAJOR DISCLAIMER** We haven’t read every single Kpop contract by every company, obviously. We can’t speak for every group or label. What we’ve discussed in today’s video about the shittiiness of the Break Even Points of Kpop companies might not apply to your favourite artist. It might not even apply to 10% of the artists. But it does apply to some, and that’s worth talking about. Hopefully we made it a little more understandable, so you’ll be better prepared when more artists leave their bands next year. Because it’s gonna happen.

The two of us have discussed this topic a whole lot, and one of the things that we’re unsure about is whether, even though these contracts are clearly unfair, if it’s still a bad situation for Kpop artists. Think about it this way: if they weren’t in a Kpop band, working obscene hours, eating and resting terribly, and getting paid not much, what other options would they have? Joining a company, becoming a salaryman/salarywoman, and working obscene hours, eating and resting terribly, and still not getting paid much? We live right beside the CJ, KBS, and MBC buildings. Plenty of times on the weekend, we come back from a late night, Saturday night at 2AM, and look up to see half of the office lights on. Why the hell are people still working that late on the weekend? GO HOME TO YOUR FAMILIES!

Working stupid hours and getting paid poorly like this isn’t unique to the Kpop industry. It’s not even unique to Korea, really, but it is rampant in Korea. So what would a Kpop artist do if they weren’t in the industry? Maybe you know this better than I do, but how many Kpop artists were top notch students? From the few screen caps I’ve seen of Kpop artists talking about school, a lot of them weren’t the brightest in class. Kpop gave them an opportunity to still work, though. And at least now they have fame that they can capitalize off of afterwards, right?

In B.A.P.’s case, they could leave their company, and do stuff on their own and make a buttload more than $400 a month. Hell, even here at the Eatyourkimchi Studio we pay the staff significantly more than that, and we’re just small time YouTubers. B.A.P. don’t even need to work for a company: they could just open up their own YouTube channel and do stuff on there. They’d be popular enough to make a living on that. Didn’t Jay Park sing in his room for a bit? Radiohead has been selling their own music. My Bloody Valentine sold their music on their own website as well. Kpop artists could do the same, and with the following they’ve made, their fans would definitely support them and buy their products, even moreso than before, because now fans will know that it directly goes to supporting the artists, rather than their greedy bosses.

So, to play Devil’s Advocate here: yes, Kpop artists are in really bad contracts, and there definitely needs to be some reform, and yes Kpop companies are banking off their artists and paying them terribly. But they have a lot of potential now. All hope’s not lost. Kpop artist can keep doing what’s happening lately: suffer under the contract for a couple of years. Think of it as a Kpop internship. And then when they’re popular enough they can demand better terms from their companies, or break off and do their own thing and not owe anyone a dime.

Oh man. We’re definitely going down the rabbit hole here. Before we go on 100 different tangents on this matter and how we feel about the industry, we’ll cut it off at this point. Long story short, we feel bad for B.A.P. for being so badly screwed over by their company, but they’re not the first kids to have this done to them, and they’re not going to be the last, but now they’ve done well for themselves they can break out of the cycle, we hope.

Just remember kids: fame and wealth do not necessarily go hand in hand. There are plenty of anonymous millionaires, and impoverished stars.

Comments

243

Share Post

TL;DR

HIDE COMMENTS

TL;DR – Kpop Slave Contracts

243 COMMENTS

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. An idea for post/video: A guide/list for the not so average tourist of Seoul that has hidden/not in a tourist book spots/activities that are must see in your mind. Often there are way cooler places to see and experience than the usual sights. How to explain this… I’m artsy fartsy, into the weird and often find that there are places in every city that are not for the average tourist, but for me much more interesting than touristy sights. Hidden gems, different experiences. In my own town, there is a hidden river beach that you can only access through crawling under bushes, but it’s worth it and a Chinese antique shop that has weird hidden cafe at the back (as an example, but I don’t mean illegal things. That bush crawling is not to gain access to someone’s private land or beach).

    Now I understand that in a place like Seoul things change rapidly, but maybe it could be updated.

    4 years ago
  2. also forgot to add: and this is what is happening to our beloved artists who are constantly in the spotlight! while you guys mostly spoke about payments, we are all well aware that they are mistreated in more areas in addition to being underpaid. Imagine how the trainees must be treated! what about the backup dancers, stylists etc?? or are these part of the people the companies hire that gets added on to the artists’ bep?

    5 years ago
  3. Well said EYk! Love the last bit on the blog.

    5 years ago
  4. i have two questions..1) when these artists who sued their companies leave, are they really free? I would imagine you cannot simply leave a loan shark? I’m not sure if you know too much about this but I was just curious. 2) Would it be far fetched to say that dbsk maybe started or sparked other artists who felt mistreated to come out and take action against those companies? Because we are seeing a more recent trend in artists standing up for how they are being treated. Also i have an unrelated maybe a possible tldr question?… wtf is up with the dramas and the guys ALWAYS pulling on the girls’ wrists?! no matter how good the drama is this always happens and only in recent dramas have a seen the girl actually say something back but when she does its like *gasp* she doesn’t wanna be dragged by this hot guy!! please tell me this is for dramatic purposes and doesn’t really happen in real life!!!

    5 years ago
  5. As a former Kpop artist and entertainer I can verify on multiple levels that what you have heard is true. I used to put in long hours with my group and go from concert to concert for a measly ₩100,000 a month. When I did tv shows or talk shows, I would get a smidgen of what was paid to my company. On average a management/entertainment company will take 60 – 80 percent off the top. The artist is left with almost nothing. You can contact me if you would like to know more!

    5 years ago
    • Was it for a small company ? When did your group debut ? Why/When did you guys break apart? If only you left is your group still promoting/”on a hiatus”?

      5 years ago
  6. Thank you so much for talking about this, guys. Personally, I have been falling off the kpop train because of some of the stuff you had previously mentioned about the stars being overworked and underfed, all the accidents etc etc. I just want to do my best to not support an industry where the workers are being grossly exploited.

    The comparison to the salaryman/never see your family work all the time thing with regular people in Korea is definitely true, but at least they would be earning money. I’m personally working at two jobs and I was also going to school at the same time, but it was my choice to do that because I’m trying to get out of debt as soon as possible. I won’t have to do it forever. It’s really sad. I hope more bands speak out about how they are being mistreated. Or they leave and capitolize on their fame. I think Jessica is doing pretty well, though I just follow her on Instagram so I don’t really know. Good luck to everyone.

    5 years ago
  7. Hi Simon & Martina, I have a question for TL; DR about safeguarding in Korea. I was rewatching Dream High and it always occurred to me that students living with a teacher seems a bit off. I know that this is a drama and some parts may be over exaggerated but are teacher – student relationships allowed to be so close and casual that they have each others’ numbers??? In England safeguarding is a big issue and there are issues regarding teachers having relationships that are too close to the students. I am also interested in your view on this as former teachers

    5 years ago
    • I wondered about this too in other countries or even other states. I live in VA and there are some teachers in my high school that have taught there for decades and said that they used to go on fishing trips with their students and other outings not as a school function but just to hang out, but now it’s really hard to. I remember staying after school one day and one student was joking if she could get a ride from the teacher and the teacher actually replied saying that legally in her contract she is not able to do that without some kind of official consent from the parent. It’s really strict now. I also remember how that same teacher who talked about going fishing with his students said that he’s really sad about the trend that this is going towards because it’s harder for him to connect with his students and he just has to be careful about how he interact with students because now anything and everything can be blown up and be presented in a bad light.

      5 years ago
  8. Hey Simon & Martina!!! I have a question for TL;DR and your answer would really help me out! Are there any allergic precautions taken in restaurants (like telling the waiter/waitress about a specific food allergy and having your food made a certain way) or foods in convenience or grocery stores that are made specifically for people with certain allergies (ex. sesame, gluten, soy, peanuts, etc.)? I’ve read up that you can make cards that have “I am allergic to. . .” in the language of the country you are visiting but I wanted to know if the food industry in South Korea actually takes these allergies seriously.

    5 years ago
  9. Hi Simon & Martina! I have a question for TL;DR. Here in the US, there is an anti-discrimination law applied in the work place. That is, a person cannot be terminated from a job or not hired for a job simply because of their sexual orientation, disability, or age. My question is this, is there a law in regards to anti-discrimination (especially with age) in the work place in South Korea? Can companies in South Korea legally terminate an employee just because of their advanced age?

    5 years ago
    • No such law here in Korea, for example English teachers are hired based mostly on their look instead of qualifications. If you appear ugly to the hiring company they will pass on you and wait for someone else, even if it means waiting longer to fill the position.

      5 years ago
  10. I hope something will be done about this. I stopped being active with Exo just a bit before Kris left (and then Luhan)and tbh I’m kind of glad I stopped. I’m also glad that Kris and Luhan left SM even though when I heard about it, it was a bit heart breaking. I’m not sure about the reason they left but I’m pretty sure they had to work their asses off while being in there so I’m just glad they won’t go through that anymore. They can finally be freeeee

    5 years ago
  11. Hello Martina and Simon! I dont know if you already had a video about this, but when is the best time to go to Korea? And what are the must-visit places there? Thank you EYK!

    5 years ago
  12. Hey Simon & Martina, I don’t know if you already had a video on this subject, but I was wondering if in Korea the “greeting” when meeting someone you don’t know, is a friend or someone really close is different. Because here in France, regardless of the relationship we always have the same greeting, which is the kiss on each cheek or more depending on where you’re from, although the handshake is used for “serious” meetings like an interview and such. So I was wondering if there was something similar in Korea.

    5 years ago
  13. K-Pop artists should ditch Korea and come here to the US and be idols here. :D Look at all the Music stars in the US, who have TONS of money and huge mansions and fifty sports cars. I’m not sure how the industry works as I’m an outsider looking in, but you can see from watching celebrity news and reading magazines, that music stars here get paid a LOT and have a LOT of money to work with.

    The only downside is all the stereotyping here. You know, that stereotype that if you’re Asian, you’re automatically Chinese and can’t speak English? Yeah, that one blows. :( They can come here and break that stereotype. :D Many artists are popular enough here already; it’s just about getting their music out on the radio so people hear it.

    Anyhow, I hope the best for K-Pop idols and BAP. <3

    5 years ago
  14. Hello Simon and Martina, my question is because the Korean entertainment industry is going global what do Koreans think of foreign entertainment industry? Do people know the hunger games or do they know much about American pop stars?

    5 years ago
  15. Hey Simon and Martina, my question is How do you feel about the whole Burger King buying Tim Horton’s? as a fellow Canadian and Torontonian, i would like to hear your opinion.

    5 years ago
  16. A question on a subject you guys have touched on before, but I was wondering what is it like for a vegetarian/vegan to live in korea in terms of for example grocery shopping (I have pretty much only found information on restaurants)?
    Is there options to meat and dairy products, such as soymilk/oatmilk/alond milk or soyprotein “meat”?
    Is it easy to know when fruit and vegetables are in season and are there any possibilities to find organic options?

    5 years ago
    • I would really want to hear about this too! As well as words and exspressions that would help us vegans to explain ourselfs to people/restaurants.
      Also, is it abnormal to meet/be a vegan/vegetarian in South-korea? How is this matter treated by others who do eat animal products in for instance social events?

      5 years ago
  17. Please please PLEASE!!!!! Can you talk about diabetes in Korea? I want to teach in Korea one day, but my parents are worried because I have type 1 diabetes and need insulin to live. Is it common there? Is insulin cheap or expensive? Do they know a lot about it or not really?

    5 years ago
  18. This sounds exactly like the old Geisha training/working tradition in Japan except with bigger numbers… :/

    5 years ago
  19. CJ

    So I don’t know if this would be a tl;dr or maybe a WANK but I have a 14 hour layover in Seoul next month, but I don’t get in until 6 in the afternoon, so it’ll be overnight. and I was wondering which places would be safe for me to walk around. My dad is kind of freaking out because I’ll be alone but if you guys make a video about it, maybe I’ll be able to walk around Seoul without him worrying too much. You guys are the best!!

    5 years ago
  20. Another point. It is true that except for a few of the top artists product endorsements would generate more income then the actual music.
    This could account fro the high incidence of plastic surgery and the sex image of Kpop.
    You only have to look at women’s tennis .
    The endorsements go to the best looking players and many top ranked players over the years were overlooked for advertising campaigns because their looks just did not cut it.

    5 years ago
  21. You are correct.As an investor you can’t linger too long wasting money on something that’s not going to succeed so you do two things,you move on or spread your investment.
    In the west unless you are a major actor and you only pick up bit pieces or an occasional movie it is hard to earn a decent living.Even TV stars are not rich mainly because work can be spasmodic and you can be out of work for over 12 months at a time and of course everyone has a use by date.In Kpop that use by date gives a very short window and the back up plan for these performers should be to further their education and look for decent sustainable employment .

    5 years ago
  22. There is a government sanctioned standard contract form, so if that is used, contract terms will be similar, so there will be no grounds for arguments. The problem is the accuracy of accounting, accountants can and do cheat, anywhere and everywhere in the world! I concede that some companies are bad apples, but if you look at the industry as a whole, the chance of success for a new boy group or girl group is very low, many groups disappear quickly. And goes the expense of training, feeding and promoting new groups into ashes. Kpop industry as a whole must be able to absorb these losses from the few successes and still make some profit. Or the Kpop industry as a whole will disappear quickly. JYP once said that except top-A groups, even successful groups lose money during the initial contract period. For example, JYP has Miss-A, 2AM, 2PM. Got7, etc., but it has been financially in for years. SJ members said EXO still has not made big money yet even though it is the most successful group in the industry. Many companies go bankrupt every year. So all these complaints by boy/girl group members must be examined with a grain of salt. My point is that if a company fails to live up to contract terms or cheat in accounting, go after them by all means. Otherwise, do not complain without considering the millions of dollars their company has invested in them plus overhead of the company that must be recovered some way. The meager fee they get from broadcast may not even cover the cost of costumes they must wear, sales of digital record brings less than 10 cents per sale, their music/movie is downloaded free from youtube, the only place where some money may be made is CF endorsements and fee for live appearances/concert tickets, the opportunity available only for Top-A list groups. The rest remain hungry. This is a world wide problem, I guess, as I hear that even in US, 90% of all actors and singers must have side jobs like waiter or taxi driver. At least Kpop companies do not ask members to drive taxi.

    5 years ago
    • I don’t think the complaints should be ignored at all! The complaint is that there is no transparency. That is a legitimate problem. It might cost a lot to develop the groups, but how much *exactly*? Being secretive about the specific numbers is very suspicious. When it is the group who is expected to cover the costs, how can they be expected to simply take the companies word for it? Would you? If you owed someone money, and they don’t tell you how much you owe, or what for, and they just expected you to accept that without question, would you? Their word isn’t enough. They need to SHOW the numbers. They need to prove it. By refusing to let them in on the balance, or in the decision making of how the money is spent, it only proves that they are trying to hide something. Why wouldn’t they want to put their employees at ease? Why wouldn’t they want their employees to trust them? Is it because the books show misappropriation of funds?
      A simple adjustment to make the contracts more fair would be that anything over a certain amount, say $5,000 must be unanimously approved by the members of the group. That would quickly make the amount of misappropriation that is surely going on far more difficult.
      On a completely different note, singers have side jobs because they don’t have a recording contract. Recording contracts are what turn singing into a steady job. However, musicians do get taken advantage of far more than actors. Recording contracts are often unfavorable to the musician if the musician isn’t careful (and they often aren’t!) Acting, however, is hard to compare because it works differently in the U.S. than it does in Korea. TL;DR ahead!
      In Korea, it would appear that the agency hires the actor. In the U.S. the actor hires the agency. The more popular an actor is in Korea, the more they can negotiate a favorable contract with their agency, like you would with an employer. In the U.S. the agency works similarly to a law firm (most agents are contract lawyers). The actor hires an agency to find that actor work with a production company and negotiate a fee. The agency receives 10 percent of that fee, and they don’t get paid until the actor gets paid, so it is in the agencies best interest to negotiate the best possible terms for their client with reliable production companies that can prove their ability to pay the fee. If they don’t do their job, the actor can fire them. However, like a law firm, agencies can turn down clients. Because they are dependent on that 10 percent fee, agencies won’t take an actor on as a client if they don’t think that person will get work. Often actors have to prove themselves in some way to get an agent. Usually they have to have gotten stage or screen work on their own, without any help. For actors, the goal is to get a part in a production overseen by Actor’s Equity or the Screen Actor’s Guild, the two big unions. All film, tv, and tv commercials are overseen by SAG and all Broadway performances, and major stage performances are overseen by Equity. If an actor gets hired into one of those productions, they can then join those organizations and that means that they can now receive NO LESS than a certain minimum established by SAG or Equity pay scales. This makes a union actor more attractive to an agency. You can imagine the INTENSE competition to get one of those few union roles available through open auditions. It really is luck. Thousands of people vying for a handful of roles. Most have to have 2nd or 3rd jobs. However, even if an actor is one of the lucky few that gets their SAG/Equity card this way, it’s still not a guarantee. There are top agencies that almost always find their clients work, but only a few actors have access to them. Their success rate means they can afford to be picky. For most actors, even with an agent and a SAG/Equity card, it doesn’t guarantee that the agency will be able to find them consistent work, and so, many actors still have to supplement with another job.

      5 years ago
  23. i honestly see this mostly in SM entertainment and some other entertainments what i want to know the most is how YG entertainment treats thier artist since most of us now know how SM treats there but how does YG or JYP treat thiers and people are saying this is the worsxt year for Kpop but when really its the best because its the year idols arent taking crap from entertaiments and standing up for what they want and i think that is good that they are starting to have a voice and tyaking it no more

    5 years ago
  24. [lol oops, pressed the ‘post comment’ on my last one by accident. Anyway, here is my full comment]

    Regarding the changing of stance: my stance has altered a little , yes. But I think it’s also part of growing up that you start to be more cynical about the world, less believing that everything is fluffy unicorns and rainbows and becoming a bit more skeptical.

    I think the K-pop industry is extra vicious in that it continuously serves you pretty boys and girls and promotes ideals of not only physical perfection but also perfection in terms of personality on-stage, off-stage and in the artists’ private lives. We get to see mostly characters, carefully constructed by their companies, instead of real people. I think it’s safe to say that most fans don’t care about the fact that bringing these ethereal beings to them all costs money unless someone comes out with their issues, possibly jeopardizing their whole career in the process. And even if we know as a fact that our favourite artists are underpaid, there’s not much we can do to support them except buying CDs and merchandise, even if we know full well that most of the funds go to the company and not to the artists.

    5 years ago
  25. Regarding the changing of stance: my stance has altered a little , yes.But I think it’s also part of growing up that you start to be more cynical about the world, less believing that everything is fluffy unicorns and rainbows and becoming a bit more skeptical.

    I think the K-pop industry is extra vicious in that it continuously serves you pretty boys and girls and promotes ideals of not only physical perfection but also perfection in terms of personality on-stage, off-stage and in the artists’ private lives. We get to see mostly characters, carefully constructed by their companies, instead of real people. I think it’s safe to say that mist

    5 years ago
  26. The B.E.P. is a *great* scheme for accounting fraud. Just tack on any and every expense and then inflate the amount. And if there’s no expense, make one, or some–or a LOT!

    Although props to the entertainment agencies for not charging interest rates on top of B.E.P principal.

    5 years ago
  27. Thank you guys talking about that issue. I´m just wondering why we do not see any cases in companies like JYP and YG?
    It may be that they are lead by ex artists Park Jin Young and Yang Hyun Suk. They know very well how the were treated as artist before, so they maybe wanted to change that. As a proof that YG treats they artist generously may be lyrics from G-Dragon (not only in one song): “Show Me The Money? I don’t even know how much I have.” (http://www.allkpop.com/article/2014/12/g-dragons-lyrics-from-2014-mamas-garner-attention-for-its-sarcastic-tone)
    Well I just hope, that soon the other companies stop to dig money on their artist. But it is still long way to go.

    5 years ago
    • Something else that I find striking is that it seems to be only male groups/artists who choose to sue their companies. Makes me wonder what female artists think about this and wether they suffer the same as their male label mates. I didn’t exacly see Jessica sue SM for being thrown out while Luhan and Kris did. Regarding JYP , I think because JY Park himself is still active as an artist in the entertainment industry that he knows very well the pressure that comes with being an artist. Hence that his company philosophy has more of a balance between seeing artists as human beings and as money-makers.

      YGE focuses primarily on Hip-hop and R&B type music, and one of the most prominent aspects of the former is voicing your opinion through music (see Epik High’s ‘Born Hater’, in which seven rappers each tell their story and how they deal with haters through their raps, and GD’s rap to which you just provided a link). GDs rap would have been quite risque if what he told us through it actually applied to him (i.e. if there would have been a hint of truth to it) , but considering how YG hasn’t made an issue out of it so far may point to GD (and probably other YGE artists) being treated relatively well. That doesn’t take away that GD could have meant to highlight other artists’ problems with their companies, in which case that would be pretty cool.

      5 years ago
      • I get your points. Of course those GD’s lyrics may not be the proof. It is just guess. :)

        I definitely think that girl’s groups are not treated differently. Maybe they don’t have the courage as the boys. But I’m sure that we will soon see some cases too.
        And for Jessica: She started her own business (with some fashion accessories). She was probably supported by her boyfriend. She had a really different status not like Kris and Luhan. Kris and Luhan left and had to start from the bottom. But Jessica not. She will just continue to be successful in another section.

        5 years ago
        • Haha, I just now already saw that you mentioned Yang Hyun Suk and JY Park as having been artists and knowing how hard it is based on that. Sorry for that ^^;
          I’m just guessing as well. Thank you for the link by the way.
          I also agree with you that Kris and Luhan had to start from the bottom in terms of earning money , while Jessica has a safe backing from her rumoured boyfriend and will , indeed, continue to be successful in a different field. I think her status as a former member of Asia’s most popular girl group also helps , since Girls’ Generation has been with the same nine members for seven years up to this one . That’s why, because we , as fans, have bonded with each individual member over those seven years , we’re probably more inclined to support her fashion endeavours because, we feel like we can be closer to her personally by doing so. When it comes to EXO I think we’ll eventually forget that Kris and Luhan were once part of it, since we didn’t get enough time to bond with them as individuals . Their cases were also totally different from Jessica’s as they have stated that it’s what the company demanded from them that affected their health and personal lives while Jessica was just suddenly thrown out with no personal issues like that. Regardless , I’ll happily continue to support all three of them and , of course, BAP. :)

          5 years ago
      • Disclaimer: I do not own any hard facts. All of this is just speculation on what I’ve seen and heard.

        5 years ago
      • Disclaimer: this is all speculation and just based on what I’ve seen and heard. I don’t have any hard facts.

        5 years ago
  28. When the whole JYJ/TVXQ and Hangeng’s incident came about a few years ago, it really shook the entire Kpop world because it was something that perhaps no one saw it coming. But as the years ago by, the incidents involving Kris, Jessica, Luhan etc…. personally, it just a matter of time that it pops out again. It may be a shocker to new fans, but for fans who have been supporting kpop for years, oh hey it’s nothing new, it was more of a “oh here we go again… contract disputes”. I’ve seen comments on these disputes from “fans” saying that the artistes should not really be arguing or complaining at all if they are passionate and committed enough about their music, career, company that trained them, dancing and whatsoever. As much as they worked hard for something that they love, what’s the point if they can’t put money on the table to even feed themselves properly?

    Has it changed my perception? I believe it definitely has in some point. Over the years, I realised I’m just not as happy as I was before when I was first into Kpop for some reason. You will never fail to find comments of Kpop performances such as “so and so look so tired”, “so and so doesn’t look as cheerful” and stuff like that. These artistes are being squeezed out by upperheads who only care about themselves and money/profits for the company. Even for a person with great love and passion for singing/music/dancing, it just a matter of time that the fire burns out.

    5 years ago
  29. I haven’t been really keeping up with the specifics about the recent problems so I could be wrong but I was just curious on how the b.e.p. affects the older groups. What I mean is most of the groups who have been breaking with their companies recently have only been around for under 5yrs. Super Junior on the other hand is going on 10yrs. I know they lost Han Geng (and Kibum) but they’re still going strong. Even Henry and ZhouMi who get pushed aside most of the time:/ Do you think they finally payed off their debt or just gained enough influence and popularity to be able to make demands??

    5 years ago
  30. YOU HAVE A COSTCO OUT THERE!!!! Does your Costco also do that thing where something awesome is there like once, then never there again??

    5 years ago
  31. This is all so depressing… Yes, 2014 has really changed my perspective of K-Pop. I often find myself wondering if being a fan is just hurting my idols more by supporting the industry while trying to support them. But I’m really glad these idols are speaking out, and I hope for the best for B.A.P.

    5 years ago
    • The problem is there are too many artists .The pie is only a given size and investors use artists like canon fodder to get a slice of that pie.Once saturation occurs,which I believe it has then more companies will go broke and more investors will be reluctant to invest,thus a collapse of the industry is imminent as also disillusioned fans keep their money in their pockets.

      5 years ago
  32. OH MY GOD PLEASE DO A COSTCO VIDEO ~~~~ I’M IN LOVE WITH COSTCO AND THEIR BREAD. Do they have amazing artisan bread in the Korean Costcos?

    5 years ago
  33. Could you guys talk about K-pop “Uncle Fans”? It´s something I find really disturbing, especially when I read articles that talk about girl groups remmaing with their “innocent vibe” to please their uncle fans. Most of these groups have really young girls on them, so It’s too hard to accept that whole culture of man in their 40’s praising young girls.

    5 years ago
    • You could not be more wrong.
      The Uncle fans have musical backgrounds that go back so far ,so they have heard it all love their music and appreciate good music when ever it appeals to them .Being any particular age has nothing to do with your rights to listen and engage in Music.if it were not for their wallets many stars would not make a living.
      Think of the Rolling Stones.They are all in their sixties and making a mint.Do you then consider they should not play instruments and that all their fans should be under a certain age ?Does that mean that young girls who like the stones are looking for a sugar daddy or want to become a groupie ?
      You also have to consider the psychological element of older fans.many are protectionist and have younger sons and daughters and they see a lot of these Kpop artists as vulnerable .

      5 years ago
    • Oh my god yes!! They are so creepy!! I was at the Dream Concert this past June and in the row in front of me were a bunch of ajusshi’s in their late 40’s decked out in Girls Generation/Girls Day/A-Pink gear :/ They seemed so out of place in that sea of fangirls. I kept thinking “Damn this guy better be Jessica’s dad or else he’s a pervert.”
      They were there the whole 6 hours but only payed attention towards the end when the girls came out. They even pulled out DSLR’s and camcorders. The guy in front of me was eagerly trying to get good leg shots of Girls Day:/

      5 years ago
      • And another thing A recent fan interview with Strawberry Milk revealed a very disturbing thing.
        The first question from a young fan was who has the biggest boobs Choa or Way?
        What an insult!! If I could get my hands on this guy I would throw him off a cliff.

        5 years ago
      • You have missed the point.Open up your eyes.
        Who has dressed these girls in this manner?
        Who pays them to dress like prostitutes?
        Who creates the sexy theme?
        Who do they create it for ?
        The onus falls back onto the owners and not the lookers we all have two eyes and there is no law against looking but there should be laws against the use of women to promote sex.

        5 years ago
  34. I guess for the new fans this will come as a shock… I’m not an expert but I guess once you hit the 5-year mark of being a Kpop fan, you’ll start to realize a few things (or is it just me getting old?)… My friend and I have been Kpop fans for 8 years and this is a popular topic among us two and often times we feel like the situation’s too surreal… Like wow, shit got real… I guess we’re so used to the “happiness” image that Kpop is supposed to carry and it’s so ironic to realize that there’s a “dark side” to it… We have a few theories here and there ’cause well, we experienced a lot of heartache when the TVXQ! split happened… Anyhoo, it is kind of depressing in a sense and to add that most of the idols are my age and they could be living my boring and an not famous life but at least getting enough sleep and earning enough to save, it’s just well — I am soooo glad I’m not an idol… *dead* but I believe, this is something that all Kpop enthusiasts need to be aware of… I’m just glad some companies became more transparent regarding these contracts… ’cause JYP and YG artists don’t look miserable compared to other idols, so I guess some changes happened already… SM tho…O_o

    Anyway, thank you so much for discussing this topic! And may I just say that Simon is looking fab with his mustache and Martina is working that side-shave! <3

    5 years ago
    • in wikipedia was written amounts which worth GD, TOP and Dae, emm looks expensive ;D YG looks totally different then others companies, but of cours it job to make a fame and money

      5 years ago
  35. For your next TL;DR could you discuss the differences between living in Seoul and living in other parts of South Korea (other cities or in the countryside). A lot of dramas, and variety programs seem to depict distinct stereotype of non seoulites, or simply show people moving to Seoul to find work. You guys went on a road trip around SK this summer; what were the things that surprised you guys? What kinds of things had you expected before your trip? What are some of your favourite places outside of Seoul?

    5 years ago
  36. Back in 2009. together with numerous international fans under the leadership of a brave Korean fan who majored in international law, we actively campaigned for JYJ’s contract nullification against SM as there were no laws or unions to protect the welfare of these artistes. We were successful to a certain extent. At least they are able to command contractual terms and earn their dues now.

    Side track: What about girl groups? What predicaments do they undergo? Do they receive preferential or similar treatment? There were news of forced prostitution. Besides Kara, we rarely hear of girl groups suing their agencies, I wonder.

    5 years ago
    • It’s in their contracts and no one wants to blow the whistle on the prostitution angle as they will never work again so its built on fear

      5 years ago
  37. You Know I just received a link from MBC or was it Mwave ? Not sure but it showed a group of 5 girls with Christmas decorations behind them singing and going through the rehearsed motions of dance,maybe it was six or could even have been 10.
    Not a smile on their faces and then it occurred to me the boy groups are the same .They all look angry and aggressive like they are about to go to war with North Korea.
    The latest video from Crayon Pop arrived on my computer and this was disturbing , the fakeness hit me like a hammer,was it me or is it the more I see of Kpop the more I realise the sameness of every thing.It’s becoming only entertaining for it’s controversies.The acts themselves are becoming like food in a blender and i just wondered how long these fat arse investors looking for a quick return with minimum effort will turn towards investing in maybe pork belly futures.
    Ah yes, my dollars have not parted company with my wallet since Crayon Pop sang C’mon C’mon and then I wondered why this was not being promoted,are the rights held by the production house rather than Sony or Chrome ?
    Which raised another thought.Why was it that Sony relinquished artistic control of Crayon Pop back to Mr Hwang ?
    Was it that Mr Hwang did not want some one else controlling a very promising group and calling the shots ?
    Yes I am sure it had something to do with his investment dollar and the taxation department,so it appears that this can all become a tax right off it all falls in a heap which it now appears could be a possibility and could well explain why so few South Korean entertainers have music contracts outside of Korea.

    5 years ago
  38. I mean this isn’t a cheery suggestion (sorry) but could you guys talk about homelessness? Here in Vancouver it is pretty bad (DTES) but there has also been a lot of progress, especially with the push of mental health awareness. What happens in Korea when mental illness is so taboo?

    5 years ago
    • Unfortunately living on the streets not only happens in Korea,it is a universal problem bought upon by governments unwilling to clean the mess up with tax payer dollars.
      In Australia we had the Wesley Mission run by the Methodist Church that provided a hostel style accommodation for the homeless.The government of the day was providing a subsidy but decided in their wisdom to save bucks to withdraw the subsidy.The Mission closed and the homeless were forced onto the streets in the CBD of Sydney.With no where to go they would sleep in the park in the toilets the subway in doorways anywhere to stay warm.This of course fuelled a rising crime rate, drug taking and alcoholism to bury their misery.Personally if I was forced onto the streets i would smash shop windows and hopefully would be put into prison where I can get a shower,food, a bed,some books to read and I can watch the telly.
      This is the only avenue open to many and i don’t blame them for turning to crime.Society as a whole denies responsiblity for the mentally ill and the homeless and the government will do nothing until it comes back and bites them on the bum.

      5 years ago
  39. I said a couple of years ago that the kpop companies need to remember that the Cylons ALWAYS revolt in the end. Sure enough, here we are.
    High five to anyone who understood that nerd reference (higher five if you agree).

    5 years ago
  40. Frankly, I do think that this changes my perception of kpop. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to even be a kpop idol. I mean constantly training and denying your body rest for the sake of “achieving your dream” is not a valid excuse. I really hope that in 2015 comes with change to the kpop industry. After B.A.P, Jessica, Kris, Luhan, the tragedy with Ladies’ Code, end everything else, I think change is a must now.

    5 years ago