In preparation for Don Jess’ >>performance at Music Core<< on Saturday, I’ve written an article that I found originally at Allkpop. It brought some things to my attention and I couldn’t help but agree and notice the truth in what was said. You know you like it when I talk Kpop, behbeh.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know by now that MBC released a mini-album of the seven songs that over 20 people participated in. Some formed duos while the rest formed groups, but none the less, the entire concept turned out to be a hit! On the show Infinity Challenge: Olympic Duet Song Festival, where several of these project groups competed against each other, many comedians teamed with singing artists to produce songs. The result? Sales of over 30,000 in less than one week, high demand on performances, and uproar.
Music experts in Korea have been buzzing about the “ass backwardness of the Korean music industry”. Over the years, sales of albums and singles have dwindling compared to what it was, let’s say, 10 years ago. So it’s no surprise that companies now have joined the mini-album bandwagon and no longer release two singles and an album per year. Yet, it seems to be one album or maybe two mini-albums per year. The cause and effect? Mini-albums are slightly cheaper than full-length albums, you get more pictures and album cover artwork, more songs than a single, less songs in a full length album so that you can remember every song and there will be less chances of you hating one (or all) off the songs, and lastly- less money and time is spent by the company. It’s a win-win on both sides. Mini-albums being cheaper, more people are going to buy, more album sales will be made, and you have enough songs left over from recordings to put out a second mini album some time soon. Artists will now find it hard to disappear for a year or two if teh industry has found such an easy way to release new tunes semi-annually!
However, even with this new “fool-proof” plan, album sales have only improven slightly. However, when Infinitey Challenge released their mini-album, they seemed to have defied the laws! Not only was this album put together so hastily, but those singing in most of the songs are not even singers to begin with! These songs were written, sung, and produced in a span of no more than two or three hours! Choreography took no more than two days, putting a total of no more than eight to ten days in the entire production. That’s something highly comparable to the three months it takes most artists to come back with their mini-album.
Now it only makes you question… Are artists really working that hard or are they just exaggerating the “long and stressful process” of making a comeback? And what about those poor artists who really do work so hard to debut and make a comeback! Months of hard work and dedication and some barely sell a total 30,000!
Korean music critic, Kang Tae Kyu said it best when he stated the following,
The huge success of the Infinity Challenge mini-album is kind of like an insult to the present Korean music industry. No matter how much effort or hard work you put into producing an album, as long as you promote it on a popular variety show or become a popular search term on portal sites, the album would sell very well. This is a crushing blow to many of those who wants to make music and it seems like, you have to know the tricks of promotion to get good sales volume. The sales volume is not dependent anymore on how hard the singer works behind the scenes.
As much as I loved many of the artists working in this project- After School Sluts<3, Tiger and his wifey Tasha, E-tribe with Jessica, Lee Jung Hyun, etc- I just couldn’t help but rant on about this. When I read the original article, it was just so surprising to see that I am always right! No matter how hard you try, as long as you have the right people and know what the people “want” or can make the next new trend, you’re freaking set.
I’m starting to think people really don’t like talent anymore. Hmmm. Or maybe that’s just the skeptic in me.
Anyway, forgive me if the above made absolutely no sense to you. I’m just writing this as I go and I’m not even going to bother to re-read and edit (because when do I ever do that? XD).
Talent’s got jack squat to do with sales figures.
Sales are about luck and charisma mostly. If someone lets you be on their show or says something good about you then you’re going to sell a certain amount. If people actually like you you’ll sell more.
And I think charisma is less to do with your actions and more to do with how people interpret them.
Insult? Psssh, it’s a f#cK!n@ charity album. Over dramatic bastards. XD
Not to mention it’s nothing new. Look at Japan’s 3 dango brothers phenomenon in the late 90’s. A stupid kids song from a TV show that’s the highest selling record of all time.
Too much could be read into the success of that album, ie, that all albums could be made like that and that they will be successes. If all albums were made like that, chances are, there would be the same proportion of successes to failures as before.
Another thing to remember: this album relied on those highly trained singing/dancing stars to pull it off. If just the comedians sang and danced — what do you think would have happened? If the songwriters couldn’t be diverted from producing for the professional singers — the chereographers and fashion artists — how do you think they would have fared?
This album was like the Christmas albums that musical stars put out. Cheap and quick and mildly profitable. But only a small part of the industry.
Nothing to get worked up over unless it happens again and again.
And, yes, you don’t need talent to be a success. In fact, just how talented is the “average” K-Pop artist? They’re hired as much for their appeal to audiences as for their musical skills.
I totally agree w u. Kpop artists arent all talented..to begin w.
W/o those producers, songwriters, marketing strategies..they r nothing..
However, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that once ppl get stuck/used to a particular band..they will simply follow the band.. w/o much thinking abt it’s capabilities..not talking abt their talents yet.
This is indeed discouraging to all artists out there.
overall..it’s all down to 2 words..–> appealing factor. If u got it/wad the audiencewan, u win.
but isn’t it kinda hard predicting what people want?? now that takes true genius. or a deal with the devil ^^
but BOO to minialbums. why?!??! because they’re only like $1.50 cheaper than full albums on yesasia XDDD
Mini albums sucks. I like how Tohoshinki does their thing in Japan. You know, singles every now and then, then BAM! Awesome new full length album.
Anyways, yeah. In Korea, the talent doesn’t really matter as long as you LOOK attractive and/or has an interesting pre-debut life story or something. 😛 I guess that explains the tolerance towards lipsync. At least, that’s how they are nowadays.
That’s why I don’t really care about Korean artists except the ones who CAN make music. Like Clazziquai and Epik High! 😀 And of course, our lovely SNSD ladies. To all honesty, I think they are the only girlgroup who can actually sing live pretty well.
I think Korea still favors talent until Big Bang debuted. Not saying that Big Bang doesn’t have talents. Actually, I think Big Bang is REALLY talented. But they’re like The Last Talents from the Talented Dynasty or something. Because ever since that, less and less people favor talent.
It saddens me to see how the more recent girlgroups have only one (or two, if they’re lucky) that can actually sing live well. Yet, they’re popular like heck because they are involved in many variety shows, or has close connection to another group from their company and this particular group had already established a wide fanbase.
OK enough of me ranting. *signs off*
Oh. It’s just like here in the Philippines then, where, “If you win the masses, you win.”
How you win the masses is entirely up to you: at gunpoint, via blackmail, or by having the fortune of being born with ridiculously good looks – the details don’t matter.
In the end, one could say that success in the music industry is not really about giftedness – but about entertainment.
Thing is, I just thought that was purely Filipino phenomenon. I guess its really an Asian thing…or is it a human thing?
It’s a human thing. Think of the girl groups from the US and England for the last couple decades — precursors to the KPop girl groups. Try to list the boy groups who weren’t constructed with teenage girls in mind?
It’s nothing new.
In entertainment, sex appeal counts at least as much as talent. And why not? The target audience just happens to be those who have just had their first blizzard of hormones. And that can draw a paying customer better than the promise of pretty notes from a less-than-attractive talent.
But to raise the point, and I am just as much a fan of SNSD as anyone else here (okay, so maybe some of the staff on this blog seem to have gone off the deep end in some places ~_^): how will history remember such groups? Will we one day look back on our fanboy/fangirl days and shudder, denouncing it all as our “Age of Hormonal Decadence”?
And since we’re talking about posterity here, what will the members of SNSD (and any of the groups in particular) think of their “contributions” once their time is past?
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Black Velvet said:
It’s like using sex to sell something. (Hence, why they used Jessica for this.) Whatever marketing strategies work, use them. I know this was a charity album, but it’s also about getting your money’s worth.
Talent and personality should be a number one factor in making a star, but it’s sadly not, though it’s somewhere on the list. Look at any rising star from any country and you’ll see it. I understand that this is an insult, but they’re still bringing in the money in some form.
As for the mini-album concept, it was different to me when I first started listening to K-music a few months back, being so used to the “let’s release a single every month” trend in Japan. It’s hard to compare the two, though, because of the economy difference, where Japan is more expensive (a single = an album) than Korea, but nonetheless, if a fan is dedicated, they shell out the money. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I invested (willingly) into MM…
Still, I’ve started to accept the benefits of the mini-albums. ❤
Wow… Maria started a profound discussion. Good for you, Maria.
As for mini-albums, I like not having to wait for the artists to complete a normal sized album. Instead, I may get one the first half of the year, and more the second half.
They may be pricey but I want the company and the artists to be rewarded for their investment of money, time and effort put into producing entertainment for me. And I want to encourage them to continue doing so. The more people expect entertainment from free downloads, the fewer entertainers there will be.
Hahah I enjoy these sort of things 🙂
I’ve said most of what I’ve had to say and if I spent more time on the computer these past few days (besides for writing for the site and a few things here and there) then it’d be easier for me to give a better reply, if there was anything i miss.
OH, and GTI, I feel ya about the PI. They change celebrities like underwear.
Hmm, some real serious stuff here.
Actually I believe this go further than just the music industry. I mean, take a look around, I’m sure that your mother (or your aunt, or your grandmother, or even you!) can cook better than KFC, or Mac, or any other type of fast food. So why are those fast food restaurants are so attractive ? Why those restaurants make billions of dollars every year, with people knowing that they are harmful yet still buying food from them ? The answer for this question might be the same with the question that you guys posed here : They are attractive, and they appear everywhere (advertisement, i mean. Aren’t they the same with CF and such?), and of course, there are always other smaller factors. It’s all about getting people’s heart.
Life aren’t simple, like we human aren’t simple. If talent can guarantee success then we are living in a dream. See how many talented people ended up with not-so-good lives? Those with top-notch IQ, brilliant minds who spend their whole life researching (or whatever that they do) and can’t even earn as much as some people who are born beautiful and their job are just to pose and smile (well, I’m exaggerate things a bit, because the models’ job aren’t as simple, but the point here is to consider the effort that they paid). See how some less talented people can get promotion while the talented can’t, just because they are less appealing.
So, in life we must be flexible. Not all revolutionist can end up happy. Not every underground artist can make it like Epik High. Not every talented people can shine.
Anyway, back to the topic, I think I like this album. They are attractive enough for me. And hell yeah, why do I need perfect singing from them? They are fun to listen to, and that’s enough for me to put them in my playlist. I’ll still support real talent, but I can’t deny how much I like this album. And, wait, who say that those people making this album are not talented ?
Bitter but true.