BTS "Dynamite" ranked among the top on Billboard Hot 100 and Blackpink collaborated with Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga. This is the time when K-pop is anticipating its success in the American pop music industry. The question is whether or not K-pop can truly be one of the mainstreams in American pop culture.
The article explains the differences and problems in current American and Korean entertainment management systems and provides solutions to overcome general obstacles. Sunghyun Yoo, CEO of a startup company "REELS Corporation Inc," shared his advice. REELS Corporation Inc. is the largest entertainment and media marketing agency in Korea.
REELS Corporation Inc. has high potential since it has posted K-pop videos and live stages on MTV, VH1, MTV2 etc. of ViacomCBS and accomplished placing numerous K-pop songs on the list of iTunes, Billboard and Spotify charts.
"Korea – Series VS the United States – Parallel"
The most significant difference between the American and Korean entertainment management industries is that the Korean system sticks to the series type, but the American system pursues the parallel type.
Korean entertainment management companies invest tremendous time and effort to improve their intellectual property (IP)'s skills and talents. In general, companies begin to teach their artists how to sing and dance and even provide outstanding membership training when they are only thirteen or fourteen years old. Each entertainment firm also manages all the necessary areas such as planning, production, marking, public relations, promotion, casting, events, management, etc. With the current system, companies have a highly efficient management structure.
However, in the United States, artists should promote themselves to be selected by agents from major entertainment management companies. An entertainer does not belong to a particular company, but a person and a company have an equal position as they employ each other with contracts. Moreover, an entertainer can work with several different companies and not be strictly tied to one company, unlike in the Korean system.
Each entertainment industry system has its advantages, but the Korean way can make artists lose their ability to be independent. In fact, it is exceptionally rare for a Korean superstar to be successful without support from major entertainment companies.
"The Power of American Agencies and Promoters"
What is the secret of the success of BTS and Blackpink? BTS has been working with Columbia Records, and Blackpink has been collaborating with Interscope Records to reach out to American pop culture.
It is hard to say that the success of BTS and Blackpink was achieved solely by Korean entertainment companies concerning the considerable amount of influence of major American records firms.
A partnership with foreign major Records companies became remarkably important, but this is difficult for small and medium-sized entertainment management companies to achieve.
"For Korean Entertainment Management Industry, What is the Right Way?"
I believe that the solution is acknowledgment and change. REELS Corporation Inc., established by CEO Sunghyun Yoo, has low brand awareness in Korea even though the company has various achievements. The reason is that the 'agency' concept is not popular in Korea.
Entertainment management companies prefer to conceal that they have assigned professional marketing agencies as the public dislikes promoting activities directly from other marketing agencies. In most cases, artists' marketing activities are prohibited by the confidential agreement.
CEO Sunghyun Yoo said, "Korean entertainment management companies should aggressively have a partnership with professional marketing agencies to extend their influence in the pop culture industry abroad for its own good."