The 5 Year Curse: What Is It?

(Photo Credits: Screen cap from KARA's official Homepage)
(Photo Credits: Screen cap from KARA’s official Homepage)

DSP Media has released an official statement that the members of KARA has decided to go separate ways after their contracts with DSP Media has ended. In light of KARA’s recent disbandment, today’s topic will be a little heavier, to talk about the infamous ‘5 Year Curse’. Don’t get me wrong, KARA has been around for more than 5 years. Just that it would be a good time to discuss a little bit about the sustainability of the K-pop industry. 

This curse sits in the Pandora’s Box of all music industries and is just like a ticking time-bomb, that is waiting to explode as soon as you debut. The road to debut is long and hard and the struggles don’t end after debuting. Most idols have to pay off debts that they owe their company while they were training.

(GIF Credits: Majegv from FunnyGIFs)
(GIF Credits: Majegv from FunnyGIFs)

Just when you thought most of the trouble was over when you debut, more problems come your way. Many groups and artists depend on that one hit song to skyrocket themselves into stardom but the old saying goes, what goes up must come down. They face a danger of becoming a flash in the pan and disappearing after that. That’s where the 5 Year Curse comes in.

It is applicable in a few situations such as when a group permanently halts group activities before the 5 years is up or when a group faces a crisis in their 5th year mark which threatens the livelihood and the continuity as a group. This however can be quite subjective as there are groups and artists who go on an indefinite hiatus.

It is also rumoured that if a group makes past the crisis intact or makes another powerful comeback after the crisis, or simply just making it past the 5 year mark, they are likely to last forever (or so we wished).

(GIF credits:
(GIF credits:

Unfortunately as the K-pop industry gets more and more saturated with the increasing numbers of new groups debuting each year, I believe there is a limit to how many groups there can be in high-profile circulation. It is the sad truth that not all groups can be as popular as they or their company wish them to be. There is only so much that the K-pop industry can withhold. In a world of constant competition, the future of groups are uncertain as they are not only determined by their own ability but also by their company’s ability. One day you’re in, the next day you’re out. It’s really only a matter of time.

To those groups that fell under the 5 year curse, it’s not the end. To the fans of these groups, it has been beautiful. Although there are no concrete figures on how accurate this is, I am pretty certain that the number will continue rising in the near future.

(GIF credits: batarya-az on Tumblr)
(GIF credits: batarya-az on Tumblr)

Although we can never be sure about the livelihood of our favourite idol groups, what we can be sure of is the timeless hours of hard work they have put in just to stand for that first time on stage.

Here’s another perspective of something that exists in the K-pop industry but much less talked about these days. The harsh reality that K-pop fans still struggle to admit that it exists and I personally relate to that as an avid fan of K-pop. Now here’s another reason for you to scream louder at your next concert 😉

(Photo Credits: DSP Media)
(Photo Credits: DSP Media)

Good luck to the KARA girls and Youngji for their future careers! It has been a good journey and it will only get better from now 🙂

Watch this space for more updates about music, entertainment and Korean culture at “KAvenyou: Your Avenue to Non-Stop Entertainment, Lifestyle and Fashion

Article by: Cass Zheng @ kAvenyou

KAvenyou: Singapore to Korea – Music, Wanderlust, Foodie, Lifestyle.

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