VICTON’s Do Hanse speaks on the economics of music shows & what he thinks idol success is, then responds to backlash

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While I had thought the reality of Korean music shows was relatively common knowledge, as more time passes it becomes clear that VICTON‘s Hanse opened a lot of people’s eyes to the reality of the numbers when he shared his reasons for not promoting on music shows with fans.

Essentially, he noticed fans asking why he wasn’t promoting his solo music on music shows ever since leaving IST Entertainment and signing The Dial Music, and he explained the thinking behind his decisions on Bubble.

Music shows are very nice. They’re good. but then the profitability is not so good. It’s not like the promotional effects are huge, like how it was for the 2nd generation seniors I used to watch when I was a baby. It costs 10 million KRW (~7,320 USD) to attend music shows for a week, but you get paid 50,000 KRW (~36.59 USD). lol. I don’t know if the amount increased these days but during my time, it was 50,000 KRW (paid) per team. It was like that.”

So the costs just to go on the music show are one thing, but the other costs that it takes to perform are even greater.

On top of that, when you make a comeback, you need to look cool. So you have to build the stage set, plus include hair and makeup, styling fees, staff costs, food, snacks, and drink costs. So it’ll cost 20 million KRW (~14,634.12 USD). That’s all debt to idols. This is why it’s a game that’s impossible for most teams. Instead of appearing on these music shows, it’s better to use that money to film another music video. These are things I didn’t necessarily need to share but some people were curious. But then they have to do it because they need to promote lol. I really respect K-pop idols… They’re the people living in a fierce world. Whenever I release a song, you guys ask me to appear on music shows. So I’m just sharing with you guys why we don’t appear on music shows.

Related to that, he seemed to go on an aside about the battle to get paid as a K-pop idol, and what he considers leaving the initial contract as a win.

“There are very few idol teams that get paid. Except for the idols who become headliners at the top festival lineup or gain recognition from the public not only their fandom, most of the teams’ contracts expire with just debt left. If you disband in the middle without earning money or you complete the 7 years, then you endured well. You don’t need to repay the debt if the contract expires after 7 years. All debt gets consolidated, just like that. Gone. That’s how the standard exclusive contracts work these days. But I’m sure that wasn’t true for sunbae idols who came before me. So, in exchange for not having to pay anything back, idols would not be making a single penny for the seven years that they’re signed to the management. Well, unless they write/produce songs and have copyright income, that is. Even that isn’t a lot of money, though. Compared to the work that goes in, I mean. It’s not as much as you think it’d bring in.”

I’d say most Korean and international fans understood what he was saying and appreciated the honesty about the industry. It’s always nice to get this kind of insight directly from the source, and even though this has been talked about before, knowing it’s even more bleak nowadays is good info.

That said, naturally there were K-pop fans who were upset about this. Some were VICTON stans thinking he was shading the group/company, but mainly it was the type that prefer to either live in la-la-land or basically think that because their lives are hard then idols shouldn’t complain ever. Basically the keep politics out of my games/sports/whatever crowd.

And so, Hanse responded to that sentiment as well.

“Just overnight, I became a whistleblower, exposer, and emotional appealer, but I’ve happily completed my team activities, and my job satisfaction during promotions was very high. Of course, there were difficult times, too, and I was hurt a lot by it, but when I think of those times, they are precious memories. But don’t judge just because of the words I sent through the fan platform app and the screenshots that have been cropped and posted online. I’ve said this before, but I am not generalizing anything, and I’m not saying the team I was in was like that. And even more so, I’m not complaining that it was unfair, or difficult, or hard.
There is no one these days that isn’t having a hard time. It’s just hwaiting to you and me and them. Although we live in an era of hate, and are being hated on by someone, let’s all be strong. I think we’ve all become sensitive because times are hard.
Anyway, hope everyone has a normal yet happy day. It’s Friday, so hope you all have a great weekend. Thank you.”

Yeah, not much to add there. Telling those people to have a normal one is about as good of a burn as you can get, because they are absolutely never having normal ones.