The Less-than-shiny Side of K-Pop

“Two years ago, one of its most successful groups, Dong Bang Shin Ki, took its management company to court, on the grounds that their 13-year-contract was too long, too restrictive.” The music is really fun, very danceable, and the young boy or girl singers are really cut, have great moves, and some have amazing voices. Yup, Korean pop, or K-Pop, is fun to hear, fun to watch, and is really starting to find a fan base outside of South Korea and Japan. But behind those happy singing young faces apparently lurks a music management machine that does not have a track record for always treating the talent very well. Seems that many K-Pop acts are subjected to very restrictive contracts which are not very financially rewarding for the performers and instead focus on ensuring singing coaches, choreographers, wardrobe specialists and other management expenses are paid before band members ever see a check. Sure, this overall scenario sounds similar to stories we’ve all heard about exploitative music managers in Motown and Hollywood. But in Korea it seems to be aggravated by the youth of the performers and a general cultural distaste for aggressive and fair negotiations. K-Pop is sure fun and definitely growing in “pop”-ularity, so here’s hoping this young industry can get past these unpleasant internal growing pains. (JYJ3 Official Website – K-Pop Industry Woes)