Many young Korean teenagers flock to entertainment companies annually for the world-famous KPOP idols search for who is going to be the next best thing out of Korea. These enthusiastic individuals are put under heavy training and practicing (included an auditioning process) just before acceptance into an Entertainment Company (one of the BIG 5).
While this seems like a great kick off to being famous and living the dream, there has been discoveries that have been dug and pulled out of the dark secret-infested rug of the KPOP industry. Slave contracts. Upcoming KPOP idols are over-worked, only sleep for an hour and get little food or are sustained by unhealthy junk food/snacks. Some of these idols have reported to have been abused physically in order to work harder. Verbal abuse is not spared and neither is emotional abuse. The aim is to get them working in order to bring in money for the entertainment companies they work for.
Each of these aspiring individuals can be auditioning and training for 2 to 7 years before they know if they are accepted into the company to be an idol or not. So one can actually suffer the physical, verbal and emotional abuse for, let’s say, 7 years, and still not be guaranteed to debut. It is the harsh and chilling reality in the KPOP business.
Many of the individuals who do make it still face under pay. Whatever they make is used to pay the debt they have accumulated due to using their entertainment company’s own resources to create the music, concerts and other promotions of the artist/s.
At the end of the month, the artist can make a lousy $500 which can be slightly more that month only if they are fortunate enough to have more.
The artist/s at times don’t get paid in their first few months of debuting. While they still need to survive with essentials – they then have to get more money from their respective entertainment companies which adds more debt to their account and decreases their chances of accumulating wealth. Many of these individuals only see real money after a few years. Perhaps 2/3 years minimum. Artist/s have had to not only be overworked but forced by life’s demands to get side-jobs (like working as a waiter) which is more strain on their bodies.
Some of these artist/s have fallen ill and needed to be taken to hospital. In the west, when an artist is sick – they are immediately taken to intensive care by their managers etc. However, in the world of KPOP, artist/s are forced to continue with performances even if they are sick and have been fainting and vomiting. They are deprived of medication and forced to attend 3/4 concerts or fan meetings per-day on average. And if they get the privilege of getting help – it is usually inadequate medical help at the backstage of their concert and it’s work immediately after that.
There is also the problem with inadequate and unsafe concert stages. Where equipment is not properly installed and artists are expected to perform there and end up falling and hurting themselves. Guess what? They are still expected to do some work. Even if it means sitting on a chair on stage and singing for the people. This problem is still continuing and if the artist/s speak up about it – they face being fired or a lawsuit served to them.