K-Pop 101

I have been debating for awhile whether to write this post. I’m not sure what the fans and my readers’ reaction will be and I’m afraid don’t know whether I’ll ‘kena’ ban by all the organisers…which would mean I will never get to cover any event again. So if you don’t see me writing any more about K Pop events in the future, you know why lor hor.

But hor.. I dying to write this…so here it is.

For the FANS

For those complaining that organsier charge the earth- let’s get this straight.
The organisers have to make money, the agency has to make money and the artistes, your oppa/ goddess have to make money. This is their job dear, this is what they do for a living. That ticket that you bought has to feed lots of people along the way.

Ever heard the phrase there is no free lunch? Well, there really is no free lunch.
You want to touch your oppa’s hand? You want to have a photo taken with him? You want his autograph? Sing more songs? All these have to be ‘paid’ for. Of course I’m sure the boys/ girls are more than happy to interact with their fans but their agency’s managers will determind how much to charge for each activity interaction. Like I said, there’s no free lunch or tea or dinner or even snack.

The organiser suggests a date, the agency look at their little black book and check if the artistes are going to be free on that day. So if they can only come right smack in the middle of your exams on a Thursday night, then that’s the date they will come. Of course the organiser will always try to set a date when most of the fans can attend. Not much point holding a fan meet if half the fans are in the exams hall. But no, they cannot change the date/ time just because you have a paper the next day/ got to go camping/ have to look after your brother.

Not all artistes are equal. Why is your favourite band more expensive than another? Because they are not the other band. Seriously, from what I know, like the property prices here, the cost of bringing in K Pop acts have been been going up. The same act could cost twice as much this year compared to last year’s. Heck, they could cost more just 6 months down the road. And if they happen to have a hit song or two, then their value shoots up almost immediately. The only way to have cheaper tickets is for the organiser will have to sell more tickets or charge more for those tickets. K Pop craze may be big here but still not big enough compared to the Chinese entertainment scene (Jacky Cheung, the lengendary 歌神 has 5 concerts in August @ the Indoor Stadium). Don’t think any K Pop artiste can do that in Singapore yet.
So if your favourite artiste/ band costs alot more, then you should probably be happy coz it means they are popular.

One way to save money is not to go through a ticketing company like sistic (yes dear, they charge both the organiser, the seller and you, the buyer. Don’t ask me why, but there it is). But after the chaos of last year’s K Pop Night concert ticket sales, most organisers have stuck to using a ticketing company especially if the act is popular. It is seriously way less stressful for everyone.

With reference to sistic or any other ticketing company for that matter, do remember that the organiser does not own these companies. Therefore it stands to reason that they cannot control when they open for sales. So in most cases, the internet sales will start first, follow by on site sales (depending on the opening hours of the malls). If you don’t have a credit card, ask someone who does, to help you. If you can’t find someone, then go queue lor. Not fair you say? Since when is life fair. I also say it’s not fair that I’m not tall, skinny and pretty and rich like Choi Ji Woo.

Sponsors are important to organisers. They help to lighten the cost of organising the event, which otherwise may cost even more if organiser just depend on ticket sales (see point 1). And the whole reason of being an sponsor is to build brand awareness and to increase sales. So you may have to buy cosmetics/ handphones/ drinks to see your favourite artistes.

A very common tactic now is to host separate events like autograph session, hi-5 session (never really know what’s the appeal in this besides that very, very brief nano second skinship), photo-taking session and charge the fans for this previlege. However, it would normally be limited to the top tiers ticket holderS. The reason for doing so are a few- mainly that those who can afford and do buy the top tier tickets are probbaly die-hard fans who would be willing to fork out even more money just to be centimetres closer to their idols. And of course, it’s also important to sell out the top tier tickets first because errr… they constitute a bulk of the ticket sales proceeds.

But what’s good about this system is that there is an option. You can opt not to attend these events. In any case, these autograph/ phototaking/ hi-5 sessions are normally held in public area. So even if you can’t be very near him/ her/ them, you can still see his/ her/ their handsome/ beautiful faces.

Of course everyone wants to be up close and personal to their favourite idol. That’s only natural. In fact, I think the artistes would be very sad if nobody wants to interact with them. But buy the ticket you can afford lor. You don’t print money, your parents don’t print money but the organiser also don’t print money mah. And be thankful that you don’t have to fork out 20 times more to fly to Korea to see them (as we all had to once upon a time).

And the following is for the organisers (please don’t hit me)


Not every group can command and sell thousands of tickets (unless you are in Japan). Super Junior has been active (as opposed to inactive groups) for 6 years and counting. There’s 11 (or is it 10?) of them, so the fan base is going to be much bigger than say a group that just debuted 6 months ago and who has yet to have a hit song and will thus probbaly be able to sell only hundreds of tickets (if at all). Now I’m not saying a rookie group is bad…perhaps they are not as good yet. It takes time to establish a group’s character and build up fan base. So be realistic in the group you are bringing in as well as the prices.

Do be clear in what you can or can’t give the fans. As fans, they of course want the moon. Actually, no, they don’t want the moon…they just want their idol…as much as they can get. But obviously not every artiste management is going to agree to all those requests. So if cannot, then say so clearly to the fans. Sure, the fans will be disappointed but at least they know what NOT to expect and will just concentrate on the showcase/ concert. But of course if can, then better lah and the fans will be happier (and probably your pocket a little heavier ^^).

The Korean entertainment industry is notorious for doing everything the last minute. Just look at how they film their dramas. I was in Korea in 2007 to watch Bae Yong Joon & cast filming the last episode of Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi (Great King Four Gods) that was going to be aired that very night. Yeah, it gets pretty crasy. So if you can’t announce details yet, then please don’t say anything. Or if details can only be out later, then do say so. But then hor…I’ve long come to the conclusion that people don’t read much. Or rather, they are too busy/ lazy to read. So if you are using facebook to promote your event (which practically all event organisers do nowadays), it might be useful to put all the information onto the event/ note page. It can be very frustrating when you’re trying to find some morsel of information and have to scroll down a couple of pages and look through hundreds of comments before you find the details you want. In short, don’t announce until you are fairly sure or risk the wrath of the fans and please put everything (I mean everything) down where people can read.

Be nice to the fans. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to bring in that band for a showcase/ fan meet/ concert. That could mean providing avenues for the fans to give presents to their idols, allowing the fan clubs to put up banners at appropriate places etc. Give lots of fan service and they will be your customers for the next event.

Be nice to social media sites like Seoul Rhythms (and some others). Okok, I know there are lots of social media K Pop sites now, so do check out which are the more popular and reputable ones. But hor, social media sites like this one (and some others) do more updates for the events than the main media (which you do have to work with of course). So if you want us to talk about it, tweet about it, facebook (is there such a word?) about it, then please give us the necessary support and access as well. Most of us are not screamming and stalking fans. Well, we may be fans but we don’t scream and do silly things when we are covering events. We are professional amateurs.

In recent years (starting from end 2009 really, with the first Sundown Festival), K Pop has been exploding on the scene here in our little red dot. Some months, I even loose track of whose coming and whose going. With so many events coming up soon that are both confirmed (Beast, Jay Park, Korean Music Wave,B1A4, RaNia) and unconfirmed (Miss A, 2PM, SHInee, CNBlue), one thing is for sure… all of us are going to be busy……and broke. But we will be happy…right?

Now can someone please bring in some of my favorite artistes? See my post on My Wish List for a K Concert.

p/s- still uploading Kim Hyung Jun’s videos onto youtube. Will post soon. ^^

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