1. The fashion coordinators aka ‘coordi’ that work tirelessly combing the industry for the latest fashions, following the cutting edge trends, negotiating w/fashion houses, sponsors, and placating whimsical fashion designers. Finding just the right look, just the right pizzazz that will stand out and make their stars shine.
2. Bodyguards that spend more time protecting and guarding their charges than they do with their own families, men that can’t help but get close, and form strong friendships with their charges, but can’t allow themselves to become ‘emotionally attached’ because they need to be ever alert, guarding against the crazed fans, the poisoned water bottles, the tearstained threatening letters, the bloodied unmentionable articles shipped to their ‘idols,’ the surge of mob mentality at airports, fan signing events, or just leaving a restaurant. The ever present paparazzi and fan photographers that sometimes get right up in their artists face, unaware or uncaring of personal space or boundaries.
3. The managers that eat, sleep and attend every event next to their charges. These men must sometimes be part time bodyguard, full time therapist, representing the company, making sure their artists don’t go too far. There jobs aren’t to make their artists happy, it’s to make sure they keep to their schedules, be at every event on time, healthy, presentable, and fulfill their responsibilities. These managers must not have much romance in their lives, because they are the only ones that spend more time with the artists than any one else, including family and friends. That’s why most of the time, the very elite, most popular artists have multiple managers, sometimes 4-6 each, sometimes half in Korea, half in Japan / China (depending on the group).
4. Then there’s the drivers, stage crews, make up artists, office staff, marketing directors, producers, music writers, choreographers, back up dancers, directors, stage managers, recording booth operators, cameramen, travel coordinators, lawyers, tutors, and so many more that we don’t even know about, multiplied by hundreds.
When you bash “SM” you’re bashing all of these people! When you cry foul about your artist being over worked, underpaid, malnourished, etc. etc, remember, these young men and women CHOSE to do this! They signed contracts, they are doing it because they WANT to do it. And in return the company invested millions of dollars of training, dance classes, singing/vocal lessons, acting lessons, costumes, fashion, accessories, language training, and so much more.
Does it even make sense, that this kind of effort, work, support, dedication, monetary investment, would be some sort of evil plot to ‘overwork,’ or as I’ve seen recently, the opposite accusation: ‘hide or hold back’ their artists? REALLY? Are you that clueless about how the world works? Have you ever asked your moms and dads what they do for a living, and listened to how many hours of hard work, sometimes forgoing vacations, they have to put in to their careers?
All of these people that work at SM are just ordinary people, helping the few select, the talented, the ‘stars’ do extraordinary things. Yes they do it for money, yes it’s a living, yes it’s a business, but make no mistake, SM are family as well. These people spend the better part of their lives protecting, guarding, managing, dressing, cooking, feeding, driving, accompanying, teaching, coaching, listening, supporting, and fellowshipping.
Before you bash, think about these people, this family, that stands behind your artist. They are there by their sides, behind them, in front of them, long before you were there, long before you even knew who they were. And they will be there long after you leave the fandom.
Q:So what do you really expect for the this korean comeback from soshi with your expectation being in the bottom of the barrel already?
Maybe I exaggerated a bit when I say bottom of the barrel, I am just being too cautious, maybe too cynical because I don’t trust SM. But I remain carefully optimistic, I just don’t want to have any expectations and set myself up for another disappointment like I had with The Boys. Honestly, I was borderline depressed after that album released. I am stubbornly selfish when it comes to the quality of their music, because it is what made me their fan. It would be a shame if one day I can no longer be a fan of their music but be only a fan of them. Anyway, my expectations for the Korean comeback are laid out in the post right before this one.
Q:So with this upcoming rumored comeback in october..what is your intake on how will the girls album will sound like ...would it be like the boys album or can SM manage to redeem themselves.. with this one? and lets say fans will be greeted by an album like the boys...how would this affect soshi ?
I’d be lying if I told you I can guess what the style of their next Korean album will sound like. I can throw out some possibilities, I think dubstep, house/electronica, and R&B will be the most likely influences. I would expect (hope) to hear a more mature and sophisticated sound. But who knows what SM has in their minds, as SNSD ages out of the “cute zone” and become more established and mature artists, their sound has to grow with them. So I’d be quite disappointed (but I wouldn’t be shocked) if they again load up the album with cutesy Disney Channel-like bubblegum songs like they did on The Boys.
SM has proven they can put together a decent album if they want to, but that won’t happen unless the artists themselves have some clout with SM’s top brass (like BoA and TVXQ), and it most certainly won’t happen unless the fans start to demand better music. I’m not saying the songs on The Boys were bad and unlistenable, but it is generally viewed as a “downgrade” and a step backward for the group. I’ve never seen any media or critical accolade for The Boys album compare to the overwhelmingly positive reception of their J-album.
Why do I bring up critics and media? People always say pay no attention to them because as long as the fans like it then it’s all fine and dandy. I check up on what critics and people (especially non-fans) say about Soshi’s albums because they serve as a sanity check for me. As a fan it’s easy to fall head over heels for ANY Soshi music, whether it’d be awesome, good, mediocre, forgettable, or crap. And this leads me to answer your last question, I think the quality of their upcoming Korean comeback will affect Soshi in a big way. The Boys could just be an anomaly, a fluke, but if their new album again turns out like The Boys, then it starts to form a trend, it will answer the question of whether SM truly cares about SNSD’s musicality, or if they’re simply content with putting out mediocre music to milk SONEs for all they’re worth. It’s hard to continue as the nation’s darlings if their music only appeals to their rabid fanbase (like SJ, no offense), so this could end up negatively impacting their popularity.
Decline in popularity is inevitable, but I’d much rather see the girls go down swinging than go through a slow and dragged out demise.
“Old” Kpop Groups Causing a Pileup in the Kpop Conveyor Belt
AnonymousSHINee could never become the top boy group as long as Suju is still active, and f(x) could never become the top girl group as long as SNSD is still active. And by the time their sunbae artists retire, SHINee and f(x) would have been pushed aside by other groups such as B2ST or Sistar//T-ara who are the main focus of their companies and are getting far more investment and time than SHINee/f(x). Do you agree?
I agree with the first part of the statement, not so much with the second part.
I’m trying to think of a counterexample for any other company where a hoobae group out-did a sunbae group while they were both still actively promoting but I’m really struggling. They either left their companies, split or were thrown out before their hoobaes took over.
That said, CSJH were SM’s only female group and were still technically active (though they were left to their own devices in Japan) while SNSD surged ahead.
Hmm… the thing about the entertainment industry is that it’s all about momentum. We saw with the Wonder Girls, once you lose that huge momentum, you struggle to regain the same footing if that is even posible at all.
As such, older groups tend to get bigger and bigger in terms of profitability and thus more investment-worthy for the entertainment agencies. Even if the entertainment companies had unlimited resources, they would continue to pour as much as possible into their highest earners (to the physical limit where no more profit is achievable) before they begin proportionately significant investment in the junior groups.
The problem for the junior groups here is that SHINee and f(x) should be the headline groups for SM already. The fact that SNSD and SuJu are still active is causing a big pileup in the regular conveyor belt of K-Pop groups being manufactured bt the agencies.
By all rights in historic standards, Super Junior should be dead already and SNSD should be dead in the next fifteen months. Whether split up, disbanded or doing other things, they should not be this active this late in their career. Yet with growing stability in the industry and with the longevity offered with growing markets internationally, 5-6 years isn’t “late” for these groups any more… in fact (for SNSD for certain), their profitability is actually continuing to rise, indicating that they are still in the growth period of their product cycle despite them being pensioners in K-Pop group terms.
We have a curious situation like in the British Royal Family. The Queen is so old that her son, Prince Charles, is an old man himself and her grandson is already balding and if the Queen’s Mother was anything to go by, she doesn’t look like she’ll be knocking on the Pearly Gates any time soon. So will the old man ever get a chance to be Charles III and if he does, will he be on the throne for long?
That’s why In my opinion, it isn’t ELF that should be feaing EXO but Shawol. Super Junior will run its course (breaking up or becoming an ajusshi group like Shinhwa) before EXO even have time to gain significant traction and by then, SHINee will be stuck in the middle and could be left fighting to remain the top idol group.
At the same time, B2ST and Sistar/T-ara may be the focus of attention of their own agencies but they’re still not outperforming your industry-wide sunbae groups. If SHINee and f(x) are still keeping up with them without being the focus of the company’s attention, what would they be like if they were?
What would happen if SHINee and f(x) were given the first pick in songs, choreography, budget and promotional material?