Record Label Industry Association Of Korea Discusses Losses Due To COVID-19

On August 13, the Record Label Industry Association of Korea held a seminar to discuss the effects of COVID-19 on the music industry.

During the seminar, the losses faced by the music industry due to COVID-19 from this February to the end of July were revealed.

The following three topics were covered during the discussion: the changes in album production since COVID-19, the pros and cons of online concerts, and the overall problems of the music industry.

In addition to a representative from the Record Label Industry Association of Korea, individuals from the Korea Live Sound Association, performing arts theaters Rolling Hall and HanaTour V Hall, Sound Republica Inc. as well as various musicians and workers from the music industry were present. Interpark, the Research Institute for Korean Archives and Records, and the Chungnam Culture Technology Industry Agency attended the meeting as well.

The Record Label Industry Association of Korea revealed that a total of 162 concerts planned for a venue near Hongdae were canceled, resulting in a loss of 1.1 billion won (approximately $908,100). A total of 89 concerts from a member company were canceled as well, amounting in damage worth 13.9 billion won (approximately $11.7 million). On the national level, a total of 288 concerts fell apart, which resulted in a loss of 106.4 billion won (approximately $89.8 million). With a total of 539 performances canceled, the loss amounts to a total of about 121.3 billion won (approximately $102.3 million) in damages.

President of the Record Label Industry Association of Korea Lee Gyu Young said, “This is a situation where album production costs cannot be covered solely by album revenues. We are covering production costs through revenue from sources other than albums and digital copies, which include concerts, festivals, and the representatives’ own funds.”

On the increasing trend of online concerts being held due to COVID-19, the Korea Live Sound Association’s president Go Jong Jin said, “After switching to online concerts, companies have been making sales through the use of video equipment. However, in terms of audio, the system’s company is not making significant profit because the concerts are held without an audience.”

Furthermore, online concerts can present problems such as financial damages due to fees used to broadcast the performances as well as the limitations of holding online performances in place of offline ones.

Representative Noh Geon Shik from Sound Republica Inc. said, “Online concerts inevitably require a higher budget compared to offline performances due to broadcasting fees, labor costs needed for system development, and greater expenses for promotions online. The online concert is just an emergence of a completely different method; I don’t believe that they can replace offline performances.”

Yoon Hee Jin from Interpark’s concert consulting team said, “It’s inevitable that the broadcasting fees for streaming and online concerts are different from the existing rates of tickets for offline performances. The costs for servers — such as cloud servers — will remain the same regardless of the size of the concert or the ticket prices, and there are options to increase the usage time and capacity of the server. Currently, Interpark is holding internal discussions and undergoing developments to present a broadcasting fee rate of 30 percent or less to the market.”

On the seminar’s last topic about the overall problems in the music industry, Kang Gyu Hyun from the group Marychou said, “Recently, I’ve witnessed people entering and performing at a musical theater that fits 300 seats after undergoing only the basic procedures [for COVID-19 prevention]. Apart from this, [we] don’t easily understand the excessive regulations on concerts for popular music. It’s called pop music because it’s something that reaches the majority of the public comfortably, and it’s a shame that we’re in a current situation where we must keep the greatest distance away from the public.”

Joo Sung Min of V Entertainment said, “We hope that support projects will be carried out through long-term plans from the government. We at least hope that they’ll implement policies that will maintain the foundation of the music industry.”

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