CNN recently wrote about “how K-Pop cashes in on image.”
Reports say that K-Pop has grown by almost 50 percent from 2011 to 2012, earning an estimate of $ 290 million just last year. Concerts can sell out in minutes and fans quickly buy merchandise such as albums, DVDs and photobooks to name a few.
Idols go through many years of vocal and dance training before they make their debut. Often, they also learn another language such as Japanese or Chinese to prepare their entry into the foreign market as well. Mike Suh, CJ E&M’s head of strategy and global business, says that the long training process is needed “so that they immediately attract fans when they first appear.”
In the K-Pop industry, image is a big factor that comes into play with an idol’s success. Idols needs to be careful with their words and actions. Even a small slip of the tongue can cause some serious repercussions. Their agencies keep a close eye on them at all times. The article used Crayon Pop‘s polite manners at MAMA and Block B, Se7en, and Jay Park‘s previous controversies as examples.
In another aspect, a scandal can also affect a company’s revenue. When G-Dragon tested positive for marijuana use in 2011, YG Entertainment lessened its IPO (initial public offering) or stocks by ten percent.
At this year’s MAMA, fans from all across Asia were in the waiting area, eagerly anticipating the arrival of their favorite idols. They know almost everything about their favorites, even making fan accounts of their movements at the event. Such dedication keeps the K-Pop business thriving. In return, idols like to show their appreciation for fans by giving “fan service.” Idols have various appearances such as fansigns and “high touch” events. Some are active on social media sites like Twitter and Google Plus, posting updates and selcas every now and then just to keep fans updated on what they’ve been up to lately. Agencies also have YouTube channels to post music videos and other fun clips such as Chuseok greetings or special shout-outs.
While these events and videos are a nice way to stay in touch with idols, some fans think otherwise. To them, idols come off as distant because of the controlled videos which in turn an agency uses to keep control of their acts and the industry.