Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Let's Talk - Companies


After a week's delay, I'm finally back with the next edition of the 'Let's Talk' series. This week, the main subject is 'Companies', as most of the questions asked corresponded to said topic. A little disclaimer, most of the information displayed in this article is from my own personal observations and experiences, and other people may have experienced different things that impact their view on said topics, but I will go solely off of what I think/have seen.

The first question coming from the blog itself comes from MagicalMystery who asks:


Personally, for me it depends on the song. Some songs pull it off well, while others don't. However, we can all agree that the companies simply do this to avoid paying more money for lyrics to fill the time used for the dance breaks. If the company puts the break to good use and has a dance that's actually choreographed well and performed by a good dancer, that's when I don't mind it. However, when the dance shots are crappy and hard to see, an example being the Mr.Mr. video, that's when it gets on my nerves. Sure, the background music may be great and all, but I'd much rather see what the hell is going on in the video then have a crappily-lit room with awful cuts.

Because I needed more questions, I went to the trusty forms of OneHallyu and decided to ask people what they wanted to see being covered, and I got a few good questions.

Firstly...

I (personally) don't believe that Korean consumers themselves prefer larger groups, but more of the idols in those groups themselves as individuals rather than the group as a whole. You see, the thing about large groups is is that there is variety among the members. Some idol groups have distinct personalities and if there is a larger variety of people in a group, the more types of people that group can appeal to.

As I said, it's not the consumers who prefer these groups, it's the companies. Many companies take advantage of this, and seeing as groups like these offer more variety and appeal to a larger number of people, they can make more money. Be it from selling merchandise of the group as a whole or selling specialized individual-member items. Because of this, groups like EXO or Girls' Generation, who have many members, are popular among the Korean crowd. A quick example of this is of my friend, who even though she doesn't like EXO-M, still stans EXO because she likes EXO-K so much. She couldn't care less for the whole 'Kris' thing going on, but she still supports them and sees them as one of her bias groups.

Though if you want another example from the actual Kpop world, you could take into account what's going on with Kara. After Jiyoung and Nicole left, there were only three members in the group, and they weren't the most favorited members per-se. Sure Hara is among the most popular, but amongst non-fans she's often regarded as a bitch because of the 'water-bottle incident', and some people fail to realize that Gyuri's personality of being a 'goddess' is all just an act. With Nicole, possibly the most popular Kara member among both Korean and international fans leaving the group, DSP, much to the fan's displeasure, decided to add new members to the group. Now, even if the general public hates the other members, there may be one that they like now.

Next question...





I love this subject because it never fails to amuse me. Though some groups have pretty good names (ex: Nine Muses, T-Ara is pretty good as well), there will always be those groups who have absolutely awful names.

The main reason for this is because the companies probably either have people with a second-grade level of English working for them (which explains all the awful English lyrics) or because they find it 'cool' or 'edgy' to have their name be in English. Another reason for this is because since English is spoken by many of the international Kpop crowd, the group names can be more easily recognizable or remembered by the viewers. 

Another person brought up the fact that 'Well, if they have English speaking members, why do they still have bad names?'. I'm utterly sorry to burst your bubble, but idols have little to no say in what their stage names and group names will be. The members of TVXQ admitted that they all cried upon hearing the name, but because they couldn't do anything about it, they went along with it anyways. I don't blame them, after training endlessly for years and getting a shitty name in return would probably piss off just about anyone.

And the last question is...

It's cheap. That's it. It's simply cheap to make, maintain, and shoot in. They don't have to buy props, and if they do, very minimally. Along the same line is the reason that SM shove their groups into box rooms and make them dance for the MVs. They don't have to pay much for the set and the fans will go batshit over it anyways and won't really care as long as they can fangirl over their idols.

And my question for you is:

  1. Which company do you feel manages their idols the best and why?

As always, if you want a subject to be covered, either leave it in the comments sections below or leave it at my ask.fm. Talk to you again next week!

24 comments:

  1. I think B2M manages their idols the best imo. They dont neglect anyone on their roster and keeps promoting each artist constantly. Other companies keep you unpromoted but not b2m. and you don't hear bad stories about B2M. And who doesnt love Spica?

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    1. When you say manages, are you including success because if so then B2M doesn't really make the cut. Lee hyori is their flagship and at this point she manages herself. They give great songs to everyone but that doesn't seem to be enough.

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    2. they give great songs to everyone eXCEPT FUCKING ERIC NAM

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    3. Which is funny because he probably makes more money than Spica.

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    4. how much ever money he's making right now he could be bringing in 10x more

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  2. SPICA : Just one hit single away from joining the upper tier of girl groups. Their talent should take care of the rest. Their live covers are ridiculous.

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    1. I honestly thought Tonight would be their winning song. :/ didnt even chart that well.

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    2. Hey it's Hyori applying her Koda Kumi edginess to new age idols. I mean most idols can't even pull this kind of shit anymore.

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  3. I can't really say which company manages the best because I don't know all of the behind the scenes stuff. . . I'll say maybe smaller companies? And of the big three I'd say JYPE. . .I haven't heard anything too problematic from them. . .

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  4. I don't pay enough attention to know which company manages idols the best, but it's definitely not SME. Multiple idols from the company filed lawsuits, and all of the group names are terrible. The worst thing about SME is that they seem to have no standards for what type of person should be an idol. Plenty of companies have idols that are completely devoid of talent, but very few companies have idols who are both talentless and ugly. I'll never understand the logic behind putting Hyoyeon in a group with Taeyeon.

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    1. Sones would argue she is the "Dancing Queen" or some such dancing phenom. I'm no expert and I'm not getting into the Sones-Blackjack feud but a 16 y.o. Minzi just makes her look spastic by comparison.

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  5. It is a proven phenomenon/illusion that people look much better in a group than separately. Famously dubbed as "the cheerleader effect". Larger the group, more attractive do they look in comparison to individual appearance. SME sure have taken expensive psychology lessons. :P

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  6. A couple things:

    * Companies don't put in dubstep to avoid paying money for lyrics because lyrics aren't paid for on a pro-rata or by-word basis. They put in dubstep because it's trendy. Trend is slowly dying though, I've noticed less dubstep in songs lately.

    * SM's box rooms are actually quite expensive, sometimes amazingly so in the cases where they build a whole street scene or arcitectural monstrosity as the "box" (sometimes they're CGI... but the amount of times they actually go to the trouble to build the thing would surprise you). The groups who have shoestring budgets tend to use literal white rooms or outdoor locations.

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    1. So you mean to tell us that a video like SNSD's IGAB or Galaxy Supernova might have actually cost more to make than something like EXO's What is Love o.O

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    2. Things that are expensive include: Set building, set dressing, lighting, scenario writing, direction, photography, health and safety, and of course, time.

      EXO-K's "What is Love" includes: a strange barn set that had to be built, and lit.
      Multiple locations, including exterior and interior shooting (That means lots of time)
      Fire on set (health and safety)
      A scenario, involving a map.
      A dog (That means an animal trainer.)

      Actually I'm going to stop listing... because yes, it's expensive. I Got A Boy also includes multiple sets, multiple costume changes, lighting settups, scenarios... it was probably expensive too.

      --Andrew S.
      (Just because it looks like shit doesn't mean it's inexpensive.)

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  7. I'm not sure what goes on within the company, but in terms of promotions, Woollim seems to be doing alright. I think the SM merger was a wise choice.

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  8. oh god the embarrassing kpop names.

    i was listening to lucifer once and then lent my phone to a friend and basically "shut up you fucking listen to SHINee" is still used as a counter to my arguments

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    1. on another note, infinite has released another okay song that will never match up to the roll they were on with btd-paradise-be mine-chaser

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    2. well for me its "shut up you are a fcking guy and you listen to K-POP"

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  9. I've said this a number of times in other comments of mine I made on this blog and on other constructive op-ed blogs.

    If you think from a business point of view where "idols" are merely "products" (hate me not, I sincerely think most companies think of their groups this way), I personally feel SM does it best. They know how to manipulate consumers of their products. They don't necessarily feed them what they want as soon as there's a demand. They tease them and let the yearning grow. Being in the line of Advertising, I think that they're being really clever with their music releases. And they're also branching out, "Every Sing" (what a name, btw), establishing connections in China, creating buzz in Interscope U.S., already establishing a presence with SM Japan such that Avex and Universal Music Japan and them are in joint collaborations now. It's no longer just child's play by churning out idol groups. It's all strategy.

    However, like many have already said, SM's is not exactly the best democratic institution. The split between artiste and management is very clear. Artiste don't get much say in the production depute being the one to deliver it. And they strongly advocate collectivism over individualism. Never one better than the other in a group. Which is why Kris wanted out (i think). SM's not the place if you want the limelight to be on one. It's not a place to go to to further one's career either. It's a good jump board to propel you to fame.

    I don't have much to say about the harsh treatment of idols. A lot of rumours out there about physical abuse, which tbh I don't believe. And again TBH, even in the corporate, white-collared setting, being sick is not a valid excuse for not carrying out your duty. It's true. However, Hangeng had given his account of a hospital incident regarding a rushed IV drip situation. For cases like these, I'm disgusted. SM's management in that aspect is really disappointing and revolting. I think this will be the reason for SM's downfall (if any). Especially since more and more westerners with clear freedom of expression mentalities are poking their heads into this music scene.

    Lastly, I wish you would put in more research and figures into the article. I mean, I've no problem with your opinions and inputs. In fact, I really like it when I hear people's opinion about matters. But it would be nice if you supported that even with secondary data of some sort. Again, really, I really like this corner. Apologies if this comment got too long.

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  10. Core Contents Media... No one can fuck with KKS-oppa.

    No one.

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  11. Also... while it's tempting to pick on the English of the Korean companies when it comes to group names... just remember some of the boy group names from the west:

    New Kids on the Block (Later they officially became "NKOB")
    Backstreet Boys
    N*SYNC
    Take That (Seriously, that has to be one of the worst)
    East 17
    Boyz II Men
    5ive

    And one of my all-time favourites:
    Color Me Badd

    Somehow SHINee doesn't look so bad in that list.
    --Andrew S.

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    1. but SHINee sounds the gayest among all the other retarded names. I'd prefer a band name to be Gawkomolee instead of SHI-fcking-NEE

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