K-Pop isn’t all that glamorous, as seen with the mistreatment of idols leading to more exposure about what goes on behind the scenes in the Korean music industry.
Recently, former MBLAQ idol G.O (real name: Jung Byung-hee, 정병희) spilled the tea on what he knows regarding the industries’ secrets revolving around K-Pop.
G.O, who hosted his own show as a BJ on “Afreeca TV”, shared his own knowledge of Korean idol entertainment agencies performing scams on idol groups.
He stated that the Korean entertainment agencies are usually ripping off their idols, especially when they are still rookies. Certain examples include keeping cost calculations transparent and not being honest with the idols or members.
G.O went on saying how rookies tend to get “scammed more because they don’t know how things work yet“, which makes them easy targets. The idol also mentioned how older and more famous idols are much more aware of the ins-and-outs of deals, so they don’t get tricked as easily as the younger idols.
The former idol also stated that being a K-pop idol is a very unstable career. G.O knows a popular group that managed to make only 22,074,200₩ (RM81,000) at its peak. Unfortunately, when dividing the money among the members, each idol would only make 331,113₩ (RM1,215) monthly.
“I know that a group, whose name you’ll all know if I told you, made $20,000 in a year, even when the group was at its peak. But that’s not all. The group had to divide up the $20K into the number of members, meaning one person earned $3,000~$4,000 for an entire year. That’s less than $300 a month.”
G.O also mentioned how Korean agencies are able to trick the members into believing that the group was given less payment than what the agency has got, mostly by refusing to share contract details. Moreover, rookie idols are not brave enough to ask the agencies to see actual receipts, fearful of being kicked out of the industry.
The MBLAQ idol remarked, “Say the agency sends a group for $10,000 for a performance. The agency will tell the idols they are going for $5,000. The agency keeps whatever it doesn’t pay off to the idols.”
It was also stated that rookie idols are more vulnerable to these scams because the entertainment agencies precisely seek out rookies for this purpose. G.O explained how if an agency receives a request for its popular idol to make his or her appearance for 33,091,200₩ (RM121,500). That agency will refuse that request and rather “suggest to send a rookie instead for half the price“.
“Once the rookie group performs, the agency will go as far to tell the idols that they didn’t receive any money for the performance because they were sent to promote themselves, not to make money. So it’s a loss for the rookie idol that works hard but doesn’t get paid and a loss for the more popular idol that can no longer book performances and doesn’t get paid. It’s only good for the agency who eats all the money.”
G.O ensured that these stories are true, which all came from his personal experience of working with not one but two entertainment agencies that went bankrupt and shut down.