Korean Album productions are EPIC!
The UK Kpop fandom welcomed in 2012 with the expectation of being hit by a MASSIVE Hallyu wave. Whispers of a big concert in summer time, CN Blue, FT Island and many other exciting things were spinning the UK Kpop rumour mill. But we start February with the sad news that Beast has postponed their return and many Jay Walkers are still waiting for Mr Park. Why is it taking so long for the Kpop Hallyu wave to really hit our shores?
Entertainment industries are all about profits, this is one fact we can’t deny. So can we just get a hands up of how many UK fans have managed to get all their music legally? You can kind of see why British shores are deemed unprofitable. We understand that there is a huge amount of under 18/Student Kpop fans in the UK and money is normally the big issue. An example of this is with the Cube concert last year where many complained about the £65+ tickets. But what fans need to realise is that this is pretty standard for concert tickets of oversea acts. We can see that this is unfair for a large percentage of all those under 18/Student fans who make up a larger percentage of Kpop fans in the UK, the truth of the matter is that this is the reality of the music entertainment industry be it Asian, Western or otherwise. Many Hong Kong artists have had sold out concerts in the UK with tickets rarely below the £100 mark, and they are only 1 person.
The United CUBE concert was compared to the SHINee Odeon concert which was half the price. However, that concert was completely sponsored and SHINee were invited, whereas CUBE had to fork out for everything for their three acts. Concerts are not all that profitable and considered more of a fan service in Korea. In fact, entertainment companies expect to make a loss at big concerts, which is why Korean concerts heavily push merchandise to try and make up for it.
The Hallyu wave has been very prominent in Asia with regular concerts in Singapore and Malaysia. Many moan about why they can’t make the same effort to come to the UK. The difference is that everything in those countries are significantly cheaper than the UK and a lot closer; time is money. Entertainment industries aren’t just flying over five idols, they are also sending management, dancers, co-ords, technicians. For example, when CUBE arrived, a whole other coach had to be hired to fit the entourage. This is not CUBE being divas, these are key people needed for a successful show.There is also a very different culture between the East and the West. With music so prominent in Asia, parents are used to giving their kids money for albums and concerts. In fact, back in our unni’s days, we would ask for albums for birthdays and Christmas, whereas these days kids are getting PS3s, swanky new phones and iPods. Oh how times have changed. This means that parents in the UK are a lot less likely to give their kids pocket money for things like concerts and CDs.
Another difference is that Asia is very strict on piracy which has lead to countries like South Korea with higher profits from CD/Digital single sales whereas any sort of music sales in the UK seems to have dropped rapidly over the past few years even though digital purchasing has grown. For example, in an article by the Guardian about the Korean Music industry early last year, one of the companies stated that they have “never had a single release [in Korea] that has sold less than 400,000.” (Source: Guardian April 2011) But last year’s X Factor winners Little Mix only sold 210,000 of the Christmas single which actually managed to make Little Mix’s debut single “the fastest-selling single of the year so far and outselling the rest of the Official Singles Chart top five combined” (source: Guardian Dec 2011). So you can imagine, how a country with a population approximately 25% smaller yet with almost double record sales can see us as unprofitable.
To show the world that we are not all knock-off Nigels, we should make an effort to purchase all our music and try and stamp down on piracy. Kpop is now readily available on iTunes for those with the luxury of having iPods and iPhones. The music normally becomes available quickly upon official release. Alternately you can purchase actual albums from trusted websites such as Yesasia or our very own HMV who has even made the efforts to ask for a Flashmob to celebrate and promote sales of Kpop! By getting our music officially, our support will hopefully get acknowledgement by music executives in oversea sales numbers and they will begin to see there is a MASSIVE market for Kpop here in the UK!
So UK Kpop fans, don’t despair just yet, it’s still only just the beginning of 2012!!! New rumours are constantly blowing in to set our rumour mill on full spin (SNSD anyone?!). And with one of the latest news being that award winning BIG BANG planning a world tour!!! We are in EXCITING TIMES!!! Come on UK tour date! Please awash us with your Hallyu Wave!
So what albums have people made an effort to purchase and what other sites do you recommend for purchasing official Kpop merchandise? Let us know and lets try and stop piracy together!!! Just look at some of the amazing things that could adorn your music collection!