Nearly 300 K-Pop Girl Groups Struggling Even After Debut
If you thought that being a K-Pop idol was all about living the glamorous life that involves giving energetic performances, photo shoots, interviews, and traveling, think again.
There are currently around 300 girl groups in South Korea that are barely able to sustain a living. Some of them are laboring day and night just to try and pay their phone bills. And others are unable to leave their dorms because they have no money for transportation, let alone money to spend on a small meal or cup of coffee with friends.
To be able to land a gig on television is the equivalent to winning a lottery for these young girls. The competition is fierce and from an objective standpoint, everything is about money.
Contracts and agreements between the agency and girl groups are also problematic. Agencies usually take 70% of total profit, leaving the remaining 30% to be divided amongst the group members. But it also gets worse. Each individual member would also have to deduct a large portion of their individual earnings to pay back the agency for the investment they received. Investment expenses include hair & makeup, promotion, outfits, and in some cases cosmetic surgery. If a girl group member made $3000 on a certain month, she would be left with around $70 after paying back her debt.
Putting this into perspective, people can’t help but feel sympathy for the ones that resort to ‘sponsorships’. Sponsorship deals happen when clients, who are usually rich executives or celebrities, request an agency to find them a suitable idol as a girlfriend. In such cases, an agency would round up the girls that they judge to be attractive, and send them out to private bars to meet their ‘sponsors’.
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