30 March 2015 – Everyone around the world can relate to the glamour and fame of the Korean entertainment industry, but in recent years there it seems to have been marred by numerous controversies and lawsuits of idols filing lawsuits against the very same company that made them famous. Here at Paparazzi Corner, I am going to try and look at this growing trend.
There seems to be an influx of foreigners joining the saturated KPop world in search of their dreams. Of course, who doesn’t love to be an idol and make loads of money by doing what they like; Song and Dance? Is is really that straightforward? “Slave Contracts” has been the trending term where the idols seemed to be underpaid and overworked.
All these contract issues seems to have started when ex-Super Junior member Han Geng filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment, and subsequently went back to China and was still pretty successful. Then more recently EXO’s Luhan and Kris did the same and abruptly left for China leaving all fans shocked. Then there was B.A.P against TS Entertainment, Block B and many others that can be cited. Apart from contract issues, there has also been other forms of conflicts like KARA, Clara, ex-SNSD member Jessica, and many more.
With all these issues coming up, is KPop really what it seems as the glamorous industry to be in? Without going into too much details of contract disputes, entertainment spent millions just to “create” an idol group. These includes costs of living, marketing costs, album production and training just to name a couple obvious ones. There has been focus on how tough a life the trainees are going through, but wouldn’t they have know about contract terms before they became trainees? Would they have sued companies prior to them becoming famous? Without saying there is no fault of he companies offering such ridiculous contracts, but it is only fair to say that the agencies have made huge investments to make the groups succeed, and as a business will have to take bigger profit shares at the early stages. What happens if the group did not succeed? Would the agencies then sue the idols for their failure to gain popularity?
KPop agencies would have sought for foreign talents to join the groups, I assume to be with the aim to appeal to foreign fans; which makes up huge amounts of revenue. How else do you think 2PM still being the most profitable group in JYP, even though we hardly even see any of them in the Korean scene? So are these foreign idols suing their agencies totally unaware of their contracts, are they simply using the popularity of the industry as a stepping stone to success, or can there be other pressing issues that forced them to sue their way out?
I am in no way taking sides of the agencies or the idols, but I thought most people has been flaming the companies and some flaming the idols. The only takeaway I have is that every action taken by the idols or agencies would have gone through careful considerations; be it for personal or other uncontrollable factors. So when reading on such KPop disputes, keep an open mind because we will often never be able to find out the real truth. Remember, there is always 2 sides to a coin and the seemingly weaker party may not always be the victim.
Article by: James @ KAvenyou