SunMi's exit & a look at the pro & cons of advancing into America
Source: JES | 2010.02.02 10:52
WONDERGIRLS's SunMi announced her withdrawal from the group on January 23. They were the first Korean singers to enter the Billboard singles chart, yet SunMi wanted to exit. From this perspective, it has brought no small impact to the music business.
Why do Korean singers strive so hard to advance into America? We analyzed the pros & cons of this musical dream.
▶ Asian singers advancing into Americasingers from non-English speaking countries. American pop columnist Joseph ___ once said, "Asian singers advancing into America is comparable to humans landing on the moon." Meaning, there are difficult barriers to overcome -- language & cultural differences. Purportedly, WONDERGIRLS have also found it quite hard with English interviews.
Pop columnist Mr. ___ stressed that, "Singers who don't understand English won't succeed regardless of how well they sing."
▶ Systematic differences are also challenges
It cannot be underestimated how the Korean & American music businesses are completely different in their systems. The Korean system is structured around entertainment companies who unearth trainees & groom them, then cooperating with composers & producers to create singers. Singers from the stronger companies are able to receive attention, after making their debuts.
Conversely, the American structure is via regional clubs & such small-stage activities, where singers gradually build their presence & broaden their field of activities, then sign with a major record label & becoming a national star. The so-called 'regional singer' can, through extensive activites, rise to become a 'national singer.'
In trying to advance into America, Korean singers generally struck with the Korean system & encountered barriers. Pop-music critic Mr. ___ said, "After amassing loads of small-stage experience, one must still receive help from eminent musicians or major record labels. Before the Beatles debuted in America, they were active in small clubs for 6 years."
▶ The opportunity cost
The goal of entertainment companies which groom singers is profits. Wanting to advance into America is precisely to make more money.
In that case, have the Korean singers who planted flags in America increase their earnings? Apart from RAIN who also dabbles in acting, no singer has gotten rich, & this is a fact. While deemed to be the most successful example, WONDERFULS's financial income in America has not reached stability. Owing to the heavy initial investment in groundwork & marketing, the deficits for BoA & Se7en are even greater.
A music-related figure said that, for Korean & Asian activities, even after factoring in anticipated proceeds, the opportunity cost [can] exceed a few hundred million Korean won. In fact, BoA's annual sales income in Japan has increased to almost 100 billion won; WONDERGIRLS surpassed 30 billion won in total sales income at home in 2008. However, after declaring their American plans, they were required to cut short their Korean & Asian activities.
Ceding huge losses to advance into America ... why?
The reason behind the dream is very simple. It is to gain worldwide attention, to bake a big cake, to maximize revenue.
The recent stagnation of the domestic music market is also grounds for letting singers aim their sights at America.
Pop columnistMr. ___ said, "If a record can reach a million sales in America, it will follow up by selling 5 million worldwide, through the large American distribution companies in the global markets. To be able to put out a top 10-popular track, the income from copyright & related rights is enough to feed for a whole life." To be able to put out a top 10 track meant the song has been introduced to the global media & bars & other places.
RAIN, BoA, Se7en & WONDERGIRLS's recent attempts to advance into America are mostly built on their leading roles as Hallyu superstars in Asia. Because of them, Korean songs that become known as the K-pop genre have firmly established footholds in major Asian markets like Japan & Taiwan. Popular songs from Korea that charted in Asia have also reached Shanghai.
Pop music critic Mr. ___ analytically said, "A singer who earns 500 won in Asia & tries to advance into America, many of them will suffer losses. To throw oneself into it this way is not so simple. However,gain a certain foothold in America & you can create 5,000 won in value. Such an investment can be regarded as giving up 500 won in opportunity cost in order to make 10 times the profit."
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