Who is the thinnest K-pop idol

Training to become a pop idol

There have also been cases in which the trainees were forced to lose a few kilos because they were too "fat" and were therefore not allowed to take part in the training. However, completing the trainee program does not guarantee that you will later become an idol. The life of trainees in the K-pop industry is tough, many drop out after a short time and only half actually make it to their debut. The selected singers receive trainee points in the course of their training and the one with the highest number of points is allowed to pursue a career and form a band with other trainees who also have high points. As a newcomer, however, you don't make any money. It costs the labels one to two billion KRW (won) (equivalent to EUR 4 to EUR 69 to promote the musicians). It takes a long time for the company to break even before the artists earn money with their music.

In addition, they train for a few years before their debut, which basically has to be paid off in entertainment before they get a bigger income. In some entertainment it is even forbidden to have a girlfriend or boyfriend, for example JYP had forbidden 2PM, whether that is still the case is not known.

More details: [edit | Edit source]

In the process, they should be formed into perfect showcase stars - some idols like Min from Miss A trained for eight years before they were finally allowed to debut in a group. Most idols train with their record company for around 2-5 years. It's always located in the 10 million city of Seoul, the capital of South Korea and the center of the K-pop industry. For trainees who do not live in Seoul or who have come to Korea from abroad, of course, this means one thing: a move is imminent! The family and friends at home are exchanged for a new life in a dormitory (also called dormitory or dorm for short), which is paid for by the entertainment. But not only the accommodation is taken over by the companies, no, the idols are also provided with clothes and * food * and even school fees (because despite the hard training they still have to graduate from school!) But the record companies also demand that their protégés learn a great deal. So the main focus is on good behavior. No wonder, after all, small mistakes by Asian fans are punished much more severely than is perhaps the case in this country. And the languages? Here you have to know that Korean music is also recorded in other languages ​​due to its immense success in other Asian countries. Nowadays almost every Korean band brings out songs in Japanese (the Japanese music market is one of the largest in the world, so there is a lot to get there) and some even have Chinese songs in their repertoire (that's worth it because there are over a billion People speak and understand Chinese). Less often - but more and more recently - some groups even record songs in English. It goes without saying that most idols have to be able to speak several languages. This is also guaranteed during training. In addition, the trainees who emerge from global auditions, for example in the USA or Canada, are often children of Korean immigrants who have not been taught their parents' mother tongue. They first have to learn Korean again, like Tiffany from SNSD, who grew up in the USA and had to painstakingly acquire Korean language skills. At the beginning of her career, she even spoke Korean with an American accent! At the end of the training process, the system has in almost all cases produced well-trained all-round carefree packages that can sing, dance, moderate and act. Nevertheless, there is criticism of the langegayn training phaseegayn. For one thing, there are always rumors that the idols have to practice until they drop and are even beaten by their teachers. Despite a lack of evidence, these claims still hold out. On the other hand, it is criticized that every individuality flutes through the training and that in the end the stars are only "products" and not independent artist personalities. True! However, well-trained idols are still very popular in Korea


Mai-San Sukida

If you want to become a K-Pop Idol Star, you practice early. In Korea the idols are very dependent on their record companies, which are mostly called "entertainment agency" or "entertainment company" there, since they do not only deal with the sale of CDs, but also get their idols jobs as actors or presenters or for them Create lucrative advertising contracts. And even the years of training that the idols complete before their debut is completely taken over by the entertainment. Sometimes millions are invested in a young talented singer. It should actually be clear that the companies do not accept everyone. The new idols should be as young as possible when they apply to entertainment. K-Pop legend BoA started her training at the tender age of 11 after applying to SM Entertainment. By the way, SM Entertainment organizes weekly castings - also at its US headquarters, which is located in Los Angeles. Other entertainments also accept online applications. Companies often recruit their offspring from "leftover stocks" of other record companies - CL from 2NE1 was a trainee at JYP Entertainment before her career and Hyunseung from B2ST almost became a member of BigBang (YG Entertainment) before Cube Entertainment finally got him recorded. But it is not only through castings that you can make your way into the K-Pop business. Sandara from 2NE1, for example, can sing a song about this. She won a successful casting show in the Philippines in 2004 and then became a star. The Korean media, of course, did not hide the success of a Korean woman abroad. This is how YG Entertainment became aware of Sandara and offered her to become a trainee. Since K-Pop is now enjoying worldwide success and the demand for “more international” idols has increased, some companies are also looking abroad for fresh meat for the Korean market. The USA and Canada are particularly suitable for this, as these countries are traditionally countries of emigration for people of all nationalities and therefore many people of Asian origin also live there. That is why SM Entertainment organizes large “global auditions” from time to time and YG Entertainment even stopped by in Germany to cast people.

Tough competition Edit source]

The numerous K-pop groups are mostly backed by production companies such as YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment or JYP Entertainment. K-pop has now grown into a huge industry. The Sydney Morning Herald writes that songwriters from Scandinavia to Australia are already offering their songs to production companies for the Asian market. The famous actor Jackie Chan is said to have ventured into the music business as a manager and his first boy band JJCC (Double JC) had recently debuted in Korea. Both in Korea and from overseas there are quite a few candidates who want to start as K-pop artists. Sometimes a foreigner actually manages to get into the very competitive K-pop business. The artist Ailee (Amy Lee) from the USA with Korean roots has managed to land some hits. The fact that the K-Pop business is very competitive can be seen from the number of new groups making their debut and disappearing from the scene after a short time. Also, most of the artists' songs do not stay at the top of the numerous charts for long.

In Germany there have been chart shows like the previously successful and popular ZDF hit parade for a long time. In South Korea, on the other hand, chart and live shows on television are still very popular. Each of the three main broadcasters (KBS, MBC and SBS) has at least one such program in prime time. There are also productions for music channels and for the English-language channel Arirang. Therefore, the successful artists have to make a large number of appearances. It gets even more stressful when a band is backed by a not-so-big production company and the artists have to do a lot of things themselves. The girl band Crayon Pop is said to have selected their outfits themselves and operated so-called guerrilla marketing. This means that the artists spontaneously take to the streets and perform their music live there in order to attract more attention in the highly competitive industry.

The road to becoming a K-pop star is also very rocky. The candidates have to pass very tough selection processes. Dieter Bohlen could still pass as a mild judge compared to the training of K-Pop artists in Korea. Crayon Pop said in an interview that they have to work 14 hours a day, which does not even include the time for their own doctorate. The young K-Pop artists often live in small shared apartments and have little time for a private life. Men are also required by the state to do two years of military service up to the age of 30. There's no question that in the fast-paced pop business, such a long hiatus can mean a career turnaround for many. Nor should you think that you can get rich as a K-Pop artist. A large part of the income will probably be collected by the production company, which has to pay for the training of the artists, complex productions, technology, promotion and employees.

Life as a pop star Edit source]

Kpop stars are exposed to a lot of stress. You have to work or train a lot and hard. Therefore it is not uncommon for some Kpop stars to collapse from exhaustion (for example when performing). In addition, the stars are also under enormous pressure, because they always have to be perfect both externally and in terms of behavior. They are considered good role models, which is why they are also called Idols or K-Pop Idols. The good reputation of the kpop stars is very important, they must always look perfect, always be perfectly styled, polite and well-behaved. Both make-up (for women and men) and, under certain circumstances, cosmetic surgery should help to achieve the perfect appearance. Since the Kpop idols always have to present a new and fresh look, they are forced to endure constant hair coloring, cutting, lengthening, etc. It is also usually very important that the kpop idols are thin enough. They have to be able to do the choreographies inside out. Most of the time, the Kpop stars also appear in Korean TV shows, produce their own reality shows or play in K-Dramas. K-Pop idols can do everything: Sing and dance difficult choreographies, host shows, act and look good at the same time. At least that is how it affects the fans, to whom, of course, as a star, you always have to be nice. And then you don't just have to promote and publish songs in Korea, no, Korean stars are also in demand in other Asian countries. From time to time you even have to travel to Europe or the USA. So a job where a day should actually have 32 hours. And everywhere you are under the strictest observation. One small mistake and the haters (envious and victims) have created a scandal. So-called Saesang fans (stalkers) don't make life easy for them either. Some cannot withstand the pressure and even get depressed.

The debut Edit source]

As you've learned from the previous two articles, a K-pop group isn't planned overnight. The fact that the future group members will train in their agency for years gives the agencies the opportunity, months before the debut of a group, to make hints like “We have another group ............. ......... ”and let the fans' expectations rise.

Wait a minute - fans? How can a group that hasn't even made their debut have fans now? Well, that's the famous Apple phenomenon. You probably all know the people who want to buy the new iPhone or iPad before they even know what it can do compared to its predecessor, right? Somehow it seems to be the same with K-Pop. When the group EXO started their career with SM Entertainment, they were able to gain a lot of fans even before their debut. Simply because it was SM Entertainment. And what they produce has to be good. This is what many have argued. In many cases, however, members of new groups become known even before the debut, for example by promoting certain products or appearing in other bands' music videos. It's all part of the concept to make the group known even before the debut.

But then at some point it really starts, mostly with so-called teaser pictures or teaser videos in which the individual members are presented one after the other. An official fan café (a kind of forum) is then opened for the band, in which the agency creates a profile for each band member. This profile contains not only information about name, age, place of birth and other things, but also information about what "function" the person has in the band:

  • The leader is usually the oldest member and has a kind of representative function of the band in public
  • The Maknae is the youngest member of the band (maknae means the youngest in a group in Korean)
  • The best singers in a band are called lead vocalists, the best of them (and thus the one who gets the most lyrics in a song) is the main vocalist
  • It is similar with the band members, who may not sing as well, but are more likely to stand out because of their talent for dancing - there are lead dancers and a main dancer
  • Many groups now also have a main rapper, as short rap parts are built into many K-pop songs
  • The “best looking” in the band (this is determined by the record company) is the visual - the “face” of the group, so to speak

Each band member can have several positions in the band. The debut of a K-pop group receives a lot of media attention and is supported by the music shows. For example, the group gets a special “Debut Stage” in the music shows to present their first single. It is not uncommon for K-pop stars to be active in several countries at the same time. Which in itself would not be a problem if there were not very serious differences in the way music is published and marketed in some countries. This information is also important for fans, because with the flood of releases in Asia you can hardly see through. So let's start with the most important country for K-pop fans.

In Korea, so-called mini albums are the rule. These usually contain 4-7 songs, sometimes 8 or 9. (CDs on which only 3 or 4 songs can be found are sometimes also referred to as single albums, which makes no sense, but it doesn't matter. Because of this strange name it is better to call such releases singles.). An exact date for the publication of a mini album is usually given a few days in advance, usually together with so-called teaser pictures, which show the individual members of a group. Then a short excerpt from the music video of the title track is usually shown shortly before the release. This title track usually remains the only song in the mini album for which a video is shot - there are exceptions to this rule, for example, every song from 2NE1's second mini album has an associated music video (which are abbreviated as MV.)

After the release, the Idols will enter the weekly music show phase on Korean television. There are several of them - the best known are KBS Music Bank, M! Countdown and SBS Inkigayo. Each of these shows have their own charts that are calculated in different ways, and the idols that top the charts appear there almost every week. So you can imagine how exhausting this phase is for the idols.

The journey through the music shows begins with a so-called comeback stage (don't be surprised by this term - every new release by a singer or band is called a comeback, regardless of how long ago the last release was). This marks the first appearance of a singer with his new song. The returnees are given a special place in the show and usually another song from the new mini album is performed to celebrate the comeback. After the week of the comeback stages, you can go on for any number of weeks. In these the singer or the band continues to appear at the shows, but only with his new song, this should also be advertised. The entertainment agency finally decides when the promotion is over - then the idols tingle through the music shows one last time to say goodbye for the time being with a “goodbye stage”. In addition to the previously advertised song, another song from the mini album will be performed.

That's it then - or maybe not! Many entertainments (e.g. SM Entertainment) re-publish their albums after a short time - with a new cover, a new name and some new songs.This is then called the Repackage Album, one can best compare it with the “Deluxe Editions” of albums that are released in this country. A video is then made for one of the new songs on the Repackage album and the music shows go back to. Of course, Koreans also publish albums that contain as many songs as we know from albums in Germany. Compared to the mini albums, this happens relatively rarely (e.g. 4minute only released a real album two years after their debut). Such albums are called full (length) albums.

Since the single charts in Korea consist practically only of downloads, only downloads from Korean music portals such as Soribada, MelOn etc. are included in the Gaon Charts. For this reason, all songs on a mini album can appear in the charts - something that Cro did in this country, for example, when he made all the songs on his rap album available for download. By the way, Korea has two different charts: one for Korean music and one for international music Music. Both are combined in a third chart list.

PhD in Japan Edit source]

Although Japan is far behind India and China in terms of population, both of which can boast one billion inhabitants each, the country has the second largest music market in the world (after the USA) despite “only” 127 million inhabitants. While in this country there are usually only one or two tracks on a CD single, the Japanese have found plenty of ways to get a single to willing buyers without them wondering why they shouldn't just download the song can.

Singles in Japan often contain two or even three songs, all of which are advertised more or less equally. Based on the records of the past (on which only two songs fit at that time - the song that was to be promoted, which was called the “A-side” and another song on the back of the “B-side” of the record), the Songs are still divided into A and B sides today. It follows that the singles, which consist of two or three songs promoted at the same time, are called double or triple A-sides (in rare cases there are even quadruple A-sides, which consist of FOUR songs!) Also singles with several A-sides can also have B-sides.

In addition, the Japanese like to pack some bonus stuff such as key rings, notebooks, DVDs with music video making-ofs, etc. with the singles. to further increase the incentive to buy. The band AKB48 takes this to extremes: The group consists of over 80 members, but only a few of them can be heard on the singles. Which? The fans can decide that in the so-called "Senbatsu Election". However, only those who have bought the current single can vote for the next AKB48 single, because only a voting slip is included in it. So for every single sold, one vote for a specific member of the group. You can imagine where this will lead ...

Singles and their accompanying music videos are immensely important in Japan. Normally, three or four singles are extracted from an album before the album follows at the end. If you now consider that singles can have multiple A-sides, all of which have a music video and are often also filmed to music videos for songs from the album that have not been previously released, you can roughly imagine how many music videos are published in Japan. Ayumi Hamasaki, one of the most successful singers in Japan, has shot over 100 music videos in her 15-year career.

Incidentally, the videos in Japan are also called Promtional Videos and are abbreviated as PV. What does all of this tell us in the case of K-Pop? Creative sales strategies are required! For example, a drink is currently being sold in various Japanese coffee shops on which a QR code for smartphones floats (unfortunately I can't tell you what it was made of.) This code is also recognized by mobile phones. If it is scanned, you will be taken to a mobile website on which the new single by the Korean singer BoA ​​is advertised. Something like this is unique in the world.

Speaking of BoA: She should not be missing when it comes to “Koreans in Japan”, because she is the first singer from Korea to become a superstar in Japan - she was targeted by her agency SM Entertainment at the age of 11 for the Japanese market (Groups like SES tried to bring out singles in Japan before, but this was not exactly crowned with success.) Although BoA is also very successful in Korea, it is always mentioned in the same breath as its successes in Japan. DBSK / TVXQ can also be mentioned as pioneers in this regard. Their success ultimately ensured that almost every K-Pop group is sent to Japan shortly after their debut in Korea. For their debut in Japan, one often falls back on a single that was already a hit in Korea. SNSD, for example, debuted in Japan with Japanese versions of their hits “Genie” and “Gee”. Only their third single "Mr. Taxi "was written especially for the Japanese market - and only half of it, because the single still contained the song" Run Devil Run "which had already been successful in Korea and was re-recorded for Japan.

After the start, the groups then release songs that were only written for the Japanese market, but it is not uncommon for them to be released again as Korean versions in Korea, which is called “Mr. Taxi ”finally happened at the end of 2011. In this way, the groups can practically go on two tracks.