The Disturbing Truth Behind K-Pop Music

People all over the world dream of being pop
stars, but perhaps nowhere else more than South Korea. But you know what they say: be careful what
you wish for, because being a K-Pop star is actually a dangerous, degrading, and downright
scary job. Here’s a look at the disturbing truth behind
K-Pop music. Slavery There’s a reason that people refer to K-Pop
contracts as “slave contracts.” According to star Prince Mak, K-Pop artists
typically have to sign a contract where they essentially sign over all their rights for
a period of seven to 15 years. The countdown doesn’t even begin until they’ve
debuted, though, after up to a full decade of training and grooming. And during it all, K-Pop artists have to do
everything the record studio tells them, while the studio pockets almost all the profits. How bad is it? Members of girl band Stellar told No Cut News
about their rise to fame, the four girls said they regularly split one meal because they
were so broke. Prostitution One of the most disturbing aspects of the
K-Pop machine is the fact that many aspiring singers are exploited and abused by their
management teams. Often referred to with euphemisms like “sponsorship”
or “transactions,” many women are forced to act as escorts for powerful businessmen in
the industry. For example, according to Seoul Beats, in
2017 the CEO of a talent agency was sentenced to 20 months in prison after a second arrest
for prostitution charges involving his clients. Plastic surgery Stars getting plastic surgery isn’t exactly
a breaking news headline, but K-Pop stars take it to another level. According to The Atlantic, one in five Korean
women have had plastic surgery, with many K-Pop stars undergoing extensive surgery in
order to look more like anime characters. The extreme procedures even sometimes require
the jaw to be broken and shaved down into a V-shape, as round faces are considered less
desirable. Perhaps worst of all, this plastic surgery
may not even be voluntary, thanks to the extreme power held by talent managers and recording
studios. Yikes. Crazy fans Fans in America may seem crazy, but they have
nothing on the extremes that K-Pop fans go to. According to Australian Broadcasting Corporation,
the group TVXQ had fans tapping their phone lines so they could hear the calls of their
idols, and some even broke into their apartments so they could “kiss them in their sleep.” Then there are the really extreme fans known
as Sasaeng. These people go as far as installing cameras
in their idols’ homes and sending them love letters written in blood, and in one case,
stole urine from a band’s toilet and then tried to sell it to the highest bidder. About the only thing worse than fans are anti-fans,
who loathe a particular star or group so much they obsessively try to sabotage or even slay
them. In one incident, a group of anti-fans sabotaged
a concert by cutting power to the venue, while another incident involved an online petition
that generated over 3,000 signatures begging a star to take his own life. And there have been multiple attempts to poison
K-Pop stars: one boy band member’s mother ended up in the hospital after drinking a
beverage meant for her son, while another star had his drink spiked with glue, causing
him to start vomiting blood. Health concerns If you want to become a K-Pop star, you need
to be ready to literally work until you drop. According to SBS Pop Asia, an average work
day lasts 20 hours, which is probably why being hospitalized for exhaustion is just
par for the course when you’re a K-Pop star. Krystal, of f(x), has fainted so many times
it’s almost become a kind of trademark. At one point she was doing a gig and passed
out with the mic still in her hand, because that is professionalism. And then there are the extreme weight requirements. Being fat is such a huge no-no that record
labels CEOs personally hold weigh-ins for their stars to make sure nobody goes over
the prescribed limit. As a result, many stars almost literally starve
themselves in order to maintain those super-slim figures. Racism Unfortunately, racism is rampant both inside
and outside of K-Pop. For example, Fei from Miss A said during an
interview that during her early days on the pop scene she was tormented by people who
thought she only showered once a week because she was Chinese. And the singer Shannon is one of many stars
who has been repeatedly called a foreigner and had negative comments written about her
because she’s half British. There’s no creative freedom If you joined a K-Pop group not just to get
famous but to express all the music and creativity you have in your soul, good luck. That’s because the music performed by K-Pop
stars is as carefully managed as every other aspect of their lives, with songs generated
by the same British, Swedish, and American songwriters that craft hits for the likes
of Nicki Minaj and Britney Spears. Which just goes to show that you can manufacture
everything… except for originality. Thanks for watching! Click the Grunge icon to subscribe to our
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