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[news] Only Idols and Trot Singers make money in Korea

Posted on: July 25, 2009

Idol groups ruling 2009
source: allkpop

According to an unidentified Korean music producer, “Other than idols and trot singers, nothing else makes money now. We can thus only concentrate our efforts on areas that make money.” That pretty much sums up the present state of the Korean music industry in recent years.

The Korean music scene has been enveloped by a sweeping wave of “idol mania” in recent years which shows no sign of slowing down at all. It all started with Big Bang about 2 – 3 years ago and this was followed by groups like Wonder Girls, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, 2PM, Kara, etc as they continued to be red hot and coming to a point where there’s no return. This has continued in 2009 with female groups like 2NE1 and 4minute who have become really popular in a short period of time and further strengthening the market’s belief that “idols will bring in the money”.

Idol groups ruling 2009

Idol groups ruling 2009

Idol groups ruling 2009

Music labels/companies are thus on their toes to unload their own idol groups if they haven’t got one, in order to keep up with the market demand. DSP Entertainment who boasts of SS501 and Kara are preparing to unleash a new female group while JYP Entertainment and Cube Entertainment are preparing to release a new 3 member female and male group respectively as well. There are likely to be more.

O the other hand, the trot world has not been spared either with many new acts debuting even though they are the complete opposite of idol groups. Trot used to be performed by middle-aged singers but the trend is gradually shifting thanks to the popularity of young trot singers like Jang Yoon Jung, Park Hyun Bin, etc which is a strange phenomenon to many. Just this year alone, we have a 3 member male trot group, 3Chongsa (3 Musketeers), LPG 2nd generation, Rani (Jang Young Ran), etc.

Jang Yoon Jung and Park Hyun Bin

The problem becomes more apparent as everyone does the same genre of music and the market becomes oversaturated, creating a situation where only the best survives while the rest feed on scraps and eventually get eliminated. A DSP Entertainment representative expressed, “H.O.T and Sechs Kies brought about an idol mania back in the late 90s as they became really popular. Many companies tried to feed on the mania, and hastily assembled their singers and groups to get a share of the pie. But inevitably, most of the companies go bankrupt and everything returns to normal.”

Jang Yoon Jung’s management expressed, “It’s something to be happy about to see so many newbies debuting as trot singers but they do not foresee the problems. Most of the time, trot singers have to perform in adverse conditions. Many of them do not understand that and only have the idea of making big money as a trot singer. Most of them just give up in the end. You have to be mentally prepared if you are entering the trot world.”

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