Have you ever want to know what k-pop is all about but don’t really have time to do in-depth research about it?
That was me until I fell into the k-pop trap a few years back.
But before you decide to take the heart-thumping, wallet-draining leap, here’s ten facts that you gotta know about k-pop.
Note: this list is non-exhaustive because, well, we’re talking about k-pop.
1.Cost of training
The cost of training can be seen as an investment by the entertainment agencies. The trainees (what idols are called while they were still training) do not have to pay for it.
Training includes dance, vocal, language lessons and many others.
If a trainee decides to quit, he/she will then have to pay back a sum of money to the company.
When an idol first debut, they will have to distribute their earnings with the company.
For example, JYP Entertainment splits the money equally (50-50) among the company and the artiste, and this varies across the industry.
2.Age matters (a lot)
In Korea, age comes first before anything. When talking to someone more senior (age/rank), you have to use formal language. Similarly, when talking to your junior/someone younger, you can use informal language (banmal, 半语).
This usually stays the same, unless two people make an agreement to both use banmal.
Even in a k-pop group, where members are mostly around the same age, a few months difference in birthdate makes a huge difference as well.
For example, A is born in January and B is born in May. B still has to speak formal language to A, even though they are born in the same year.
Comeback has to be the most anticipated word in the k-pop world. It is used when a k-pop singer/idol group releases a new album/single.
The promotions related to the release is known to be part of the “comeback”.
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Some may have the misconception that one will have to fly all the way to S.Korea to audition. Well, they are clearly mistaken.
In fact, here are some of the weirdest scouting that happened, which most probably didn’t know:
- SHINee‘s Minho: He was scouted at a ski resort but he repeatedly declined. The SM manager who scouted him followed him all the way to his school and home and kept on offering until he accepted.
- EXO-K‘s Sehun: He was eating ddukbokgi at a street food stand when a casting manager approached him. He thought the person was weird and ran away. After half an hour of chasing, he finally agreed.
- Twice‘s Sana: She was scouted in Japan while shopping. After hearing that her favourite actors and actresses are in the same company, she immediately accepted.
Fanchants are a form of support for idols when they are performing on stage. It’s kind of difficult to explain in words, so watch these two videos to get a better idea:
It’s basically a more structured and personalised kind of cheering while someone is performing.
Fan support is important. Fansites (social media accounts set up to support idols) usually raise money when an idol/group announces their comeback date.
The money is used in various ways to support their beloved idols.
For example, there are customised banners during concerts and fan meetings…
…birthday/comeback ads put up on buses and subway stations…
…and many more!
This means the group of fans for that one idol/group. The name usually holds special meaning between the idol(s) and fans.
There’s also a specific colour for all fandoms, and the official lightstick for the idol/group will (obviously) be in that colour.
Here are some examples:
SNSD-SONE, pastel rose
SONE (so-won) means ‘wish’ in Korean and is also pronounced as ‘so one’, signifying how SNSD will always be one.
BtoB-Melody, sky blue
BtoB stands for ‘born to beat’ and you need a beat and melody to make music!
So if you’re a fan of SNSD, then you’re a SONE, and things like that.
K-pop merchandise, or what we call ‘merch’, is always draining our wallets!
As you can see from the image above, it basically means items that have relevance to your idol/group.
There’s a huge (understatement) range of products you can find and I don’t even know where to start.
Here’s a hint: you can get cheap merch from Taobao easily, just do a group order to share the cost!
This whole streaming concept is mentally and physically draining if you do it vigorously.
When an idol/group makes a comeback, the music video will be uploaded on YouTube while the music itself will be up on streaming platforms like MelOn.
Basically what you do as a fan is to just keep on listening and watching their newest release to help push your beloved to the top spot and to gain views.
This will help them stand higher chances of getting No.1 on music shows such as M Countdown and Show Champion.
There’s a never-ending list to all these terms but I’ll just list the more commonly heard ones. You can always Google the rest on your own!
‘OT’ stands for One True. It originally means how many members there are in a group. For example, for a group with ten members, they will be referred to as ‘OT10’. When someone leaves the group or a fan doesn’t support a certain member, they’ll then call the remaining members ‘OT9’.
As time pass by, more fans start to use this term carelessly, so much so that it has become a habit. When a member of a seven-member group is sick and couldn’t perform, they’ll just call the remaining as ‘OT6’ without meaning any dislike towards that member. It’s like a form of taking attendance, basically.
A bias is your favourite member of a group, and a stan means a fan. If I’m a fan of Jackson from GOT7 and he’s my favourite member of the group, I’ll be a ‘Jackson stan’ and he’ll be my ‘bias’.
This is just a teeny tiny part of k-pop, there’s a lot more to it, but you’ll slowly get used to it once you’re inside this ‘black hole’…
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