There are several large-scale idol brokerage companies in South Korea, which cover the selection, training, planning, production, and publicity of idol artists. On the other hand, they occupy almost all the publicity channels in Korea.
They regularly conduct domestic and foreign drafts, identify potential children from ordinary teenagers who embrace their dreams, provide training in dance and singing, and teach professional teachers to teach musical instruments, composition, foreign languages, and even personality education. .
Most of the trainees do not sign contracts, there is no salary; for many years of practice life, more is supported by their own enthusiasm and hard work, of course, the most important thing is to hope for a debut.
Gold and eye
Koreans are used to listening to songs through the audio source website, and they are also attracting 3 million audio downloads. They can earn $2 million in the US and 1/60 in Korea. Selling audio sources can’t support companies and composers, but idol singers can go to various places to perform, endorse advertising, open meetings, sell nearby goods, and if they are successful, they can earn hundreds of millions of yuan a year.
Among them, the concert is an important part of the idol income, the male group BIGBANG earned 150 billion won (RMB 920 million) in 2015. More than 90% of them come from the “MADE” world tour concerts across a total of 70 games across 15 countries, while albums and audio sources account for less than 10%.
Tickets for concerts are hard enough to grab. They will not be able to buy tickets. They often need to buy albums and participate in lottery. They have the opportunity to face face to face with idols. There have been fans who bought hundreds of albums, but bad luck is not to see idols.
The Korea International Cultural Exchange Promotion Agency has conducted a questionnaire survey on “Korean Wave” to 7,800 locals in 16 countries. The results show that foreigners are “the first element that comes to mind when bringing South Korea”, “the most popular Korean products and Among the questions of the service, K-POP (Korean pop music) ranked first with 16% and 47.1% respectively.
The “BTS” debuted in 2013 came from a small company that was inconspicuous at the time. It was not optimistic at first, but with the lyrics of the youngsters, the creation of different styles around the world, and the active adoption of SNS. Direct interaction with fans around the world, successfully playing their own world.
In 2017, BTS broke through the 16-year history of physical album sales in South Korea. In 2018, it won the US Bulletin Board twice with new songs. The team then interviewed CNN TV, guest “Allen Show”, and also received congratulations from South Korean President Wen Zaiyu on Twitter. At the same time, BIG HIT, the brokerage company of BTS, also turned around. In 2017, it set a miraculous profit of 32.5 billion won, far exceeding the average of the three major social organizations, even higher than the total profit of SM and JYP. “By winning a group of three major brokerage companies.”
In addition to economic income, idols also play an active role in South Korea’s “soft diplomacy.” In 2017, the EXO squad CBX accompanied the company to a state visit to China. In March 2018, the visiting art troupe performed at the Pyongyang Grand Theater. Kim Jong-un adjusted the schedule to see the performance of the Korean women’s team Red Velvet and took photos with the members. In September, President Wen attended the summit meeting between North Korea and South Korea. Another singer from the idol group Block B, Zico, and Ailee, a female singer who sang for the TV series “Ghosts”, also won the honor of accompanying the DPRK.
The Korean pop idol also led the study abroad industry. Many foreigners went to Korea to learn the language in order to understand the stars, and the number of people has exceeded those who have obtained the degree. In 2017, the number of people added reached 58,000, the highest since 2000.
Originally in the Korean entertainment industry, artists from different fields belonged to different status levels. The highest is the film actor, followed by TV actor, singer, idol group and variety shower at the end. However, this order seems to have a loose trend in recent years. In the past few years, the Korean tourism promotion ambassadors were popular actors such as Song Zhongji and Li Zhongshuo. In 2018, they were replaced by the idol men’s team BTOB. In 2017, the Seoul Metropolitan Government officially appointed BTS as the global spokesperson for Seoul tourism.
For the company, the benefits of the trainee system and group debut are to reduce the risk: a group consists of several or even a dozen members, who can be responsible for different aspects of beauty, singing and dancing, variety show, etc. Each person has different temperament and Charm, as long as one of them seizes the market, this investment will pay off.
In recent years, the process of “from practicing students to debuting” has been moved from behind the scenes to the stage, showing a situation in which the planning company, TV station and artist win. At the beginning, a single brokerage company and a TV station jointly produced a debut program, allowing their own trainees to compete with each other. The audience who voted the most were debuted, such as YG’s WINNER and JYP’s TWICE.
Later, the TV station teamed up with a number of planning companies to assemble more than 100 trainees to produce the debut program “Produce 101”. Voted by the national audience, the most popular 11 people formed a limited group, the activity time ranged from one year to more than two years, has been completed in the third quarter, “Creation 101” is the product of its exports to China.
The three major brokerage companies recognized in Korea are SM, YG and JYP. Some people generalize it as “SM face is good, YG is good, JYP orangutan is good” – SM was the only one in the 1990s, the earliest into the Chinese market HOT, Mythology, Dong Bang Shin Ki, and Girls’ Generation all come from SM. The characteristic is that they value the value of the face, and it is inevitable that the company will have a feeling of crossing the country. Its business philosophy can be summarized as: “I am responsible for providing good songs, you are responsible for giving a stage performance of 100 points.”
YG founder is a member of the “Xu Taizhi and Children” who re-emphasized the Korean music scene in the early 1990s. The genre is biased towards R&B; and Hip-Hop, whose artists often sing all-around, such as BIGBANG, iKON and so on.
Park Yong-yong, the founder of JYP, only wanted to be a singer. He auditioned all the brokerage companies including SM in Korea, but they all ended in failure. Finally, they launched the Wonder Girls, Rain and other popular idol groups and solo singers. The current market value has exceeded SM. As for why it is said to be “orangutan”, a look at his face will have an answer.
In addition, small and medium-sized brokerage companies are countless, but resources and talents are sucked away by large companies. In contrast, the space for survival and development is inevitably limited.
The trainee system is only the initial part of the Korean idol industry. After the debut, it is the main event.
Korean brokerage firms tend to prepare a large number of album planning solutions and content before the idol debut. The first two albums will not be separated for too long, which is good for hot iron; the company will give idol a general positioning, such as pure, sexy, Girl Crush (female beauty admired by women), and give the idol group exclusive world view; each album also has Different “concepts” basically bring about different directions of experimentation and change on the basis of maintaining overall positioning to maintain freshness.
In terms of exposure, the three major TV stations SBS, KBS, MBC and Mnet all have their own song-song programs. After the release of the new album, the idols will take turns to promote new songs every week for three to five weeks. Many popular groups will also launch follow-up albums, repackaged albums, and play songs again.
In addition to participating in talk shows, reality shows, food, hilarity, street guerrilla programs, many companies will also open a company or idol-specific network channel, for the idol group to produce exclusive variety, from time to time to do a live webcast, further reveal the characteristics of each member And talent. Many brokerage companies also run the actor business, allowing idols to take adverts, participate in public relations activities, guest appearances and even star in film and television works. All of this is to firmly grasp the attention of fans.
The next major event is the signature meeting and concert that directly meets the fans, routinely tour the country, all over Asia and even the world, to improve the acceptance of K-POP in various countries. In addition, South Korea has a national university carnival celebration period, concentrated in May and September each year, when the schools will invite idol artists to perform. If there are some of the hottest artists in the show list, the surrounding students will be attracted to the stadium.
In addition, the peripheral products of the idol are also an indispensable part. In addition to the official hand lamps and other supporting items necessary for the concert, the brand of idol endorsements, joint design clothing and accessories, photo books and calendars are important sources of income for brokerage companies.
South Korea has a total population of 50 million, and the domestic market is quite limited. Therefore, brokerage companies attach great importance to Asian markets with similar cultures. They must not only launch songs from overseas languages, but also open concerts overseas. Another important measure is to absorb Asia. Member of other countries.
When SM introduced Super Junior in 2005, it joined the Chinese team and set a precedent for this strategy. Up to now, China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, the United States and even Canadian members have occupied a large proportion in the idol circle. The most popular idol groups such as EXO, TWICE, GOT7, BLACKPINK, etc. are composed of many members.
When the Korean idol group develops in Japan, it often adopts the strategy of “re-debuting”, that is, releasing a Japanese debut album in the form of a newcomer. There is a “cover” of Korean popular singles re-filling words, as well as new songs created in collaboration with Japanese composers for the Japanese market. When Japanese variety shows, opening meetings and concerts were held, the Japanese standards of the members were often amazing, and private efforts were evident.
In addition, Chinese young artists who have experienced idol groups in Korea also have good developments. Among the EXO-M squads that were in full swing, there were four Chinese members, Lu Han, Wu Yifan, Huang Zikai and Zhang Yixing. They changed from “Tianzi Sizi” to “Returned to the Four Sons”, and the huge fan traffic behind them became a resource for many brands and TV dramas.
As the Asian market approaches saturation, forward-thinking brokerage firms are targeting the European and American markets. After BIGBANG and BTS were recognized by the European and American music scenes, the SM company began to expand the real virgin land on the other side of the globe – Latin America.
In April 2018, Super Junior added “Lo Siento” to the new album with the American Latin singer Leslie Grace as the main song. This song not only uses sung songs in Spanish, but the overall rhythm, arrangement and MV, as well as the conceptual photos of the album, are filled with strong Latin enthusiasm and grandeur. The song then successfully entered the Latin song list and opened a concert tour in South America. After the initial test of water, SM 趁 hot iron announced that in the Super Junior new album, all the tracks will be Latin Pop genre, and have certainly decided to have this potential market.
Trainer’s side B
The essence of idols may not be in the gorgeous stage, the gorgeous MV, nor in the beautiful face, the youthful body, but in the identity of “companion” and “fake lover”.
The psychology of fans facing idols can be roughly divided into two major factions. One is self-substitute, that is, “I want to be a talented person who has the ability to realize my dreams, a sacred party like ta, and a good interpersonal relationship.” The other group is to regard idols as perfect lovers, that is, “I only have you in my heart, you must always be good to me.” The latter faction means that the idol must be single and must always be connected to the fans.
Fans are happy to see intimate interactions between the same group or different groups of idols, similar to the popular bromance. But if the idol announces “I am in love,” it is equal to telling the fans that “you are no longer my only.” The deep hatred of love, the “beggar sensation” brought the powder to black, but the speed is amazing.
Of course, there are exceptions. After years of debut, and have been working diligently and without anecdotes, fans will also take care of life for ta, but only if you have the confidence to find that after many years.
In general, idol singers will experience a short period of three years and a long period of 10 years before they debut. After investing a lot of resources and time, the company finally succeeded in the market. The most feared is that the exposure to love has led to a decline in popularity. Therefore, some companies simply write “prohibition of love” in the contract. Not allowed to fall in love for a few years is the unspoken rule of the idol circle.
Not only is love limited, but the private life of popular idols is often difficult to secure. The password of the dormitory was cracked, the ID number was stolen, the nanny car was blocked, the harassment phone was received, and even the extreme fans sneaked into the idol dormitory to take photos of the close-fitting clothes, not to mention stealing the camera and broadcasting the idol on the Internet. Every move. Once there was an artist who couldn’t help but change the phone, and immediately received a text message: “Ouba, I know the number you change!” This kind of fan is called “illegal meal”, which is a follower of the artist’s private life. It is said that it is not in the category of normal fans, but it is a by-product that is highly popular and unavoidable, just like the black powder that is specialized in making rumors and publishing negative reviews.
Even the profession itself, I am afraid that the artist is not the final say. The brokerage company has its own business plan. Compared with the individual characteristics of the trainees, it is more important to plan an image route and then select the trainees to join. Don’t like this route? Then there will be no you in this debut.
The women’s team members who had a sexy route cried in the variety show that the company asked them to wear a dress that was exposed to the body and danced on a large scale, but the members were not like that. Parents were very sad when they saw their children reluctantly bowing on TV.
For the trainee with the dream, the most terrible thing is to accidentally choose the wrong brokerage company. The threshold of large companies is high, and many people enter small companies to adapt to the environment for the time being, but many small companies are not only poorly managed, public and private, but also face pressure on resource channels. Even the brokerage company suddenly ran away, leaving the trainees who were not able to transfer to other companies after the contract period was over.
Because the media exposure is super high, the appearance is beautiful, and the development of the idol industry is also worrying, which affects the choice of young people for future careers. Many people are less than 10 years old when they are practicing students. Even many parents send their children to audition and performances early, and regard the trainees as a special training and early integration into the university. A large number of primary and middle school students are in the future. Fill in the word “singer”, even more than civil servants and scientists. Are they really clear about the future road?