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Industry experts say average cost to successfully produce an idol group is around $1.8 million

By beansss   Thursday, August 4, 2016   44,620   925   60
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In a new editorial article by Herald Corp, industry experts from the world of entertainment laid out piece by piece analyses of the industry's most thriving market - idol groups. The editorial focussed on the success meter of idol groups from the perspectives of the entertainment companies who produce them. 


In a year, the average number of teams who prepare for debut as an idol group amount to approximately 300. Of those, only about 50 teams reach the debut stage, but as little as 1-2 rookie idol groups per year leave a strong, memorable impression to the public. 


According to industry experts, the cost of successfully forming, producing, and debuting an idol group is about 2,000,000,000 KRW (~ 1,800,000 USD). This amount includes the funds required for the trainees' board, meals, lessons, etc. The number of trainees a company houses at a time varies: for large companies like SM Entertainment, the number could be from 20-30, while for most small companies, the number is around 5. 


One industry expert stated, "For a company to train a group of trainees and successfully reach the debut stage, they need access to investors who will provide for them during a period without revenue, but for small labels, that's not easy." Another added, "It's hard for a group to hit it big after one album, so they need other means of maintaining their investments, etc. But so many small companies begin productions even when their source investors aren't promising, which leads to a good number of them closing down."


There are only two ways for a rookie idol group to succeed, industry experts say. One, obviously enough, is a rookie idol group produced by the big 3 companies - SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment. The other is by gaining help from broadcasts, as in the case of IOI through 'Produce 101'. 


Furthermore, for an idol group to "go around music shows promoting for a month can cost as much as 100,000,000 KRW (~ 90,000 USD)." But according to sources from music programs, "We would like to introduce as many artists as possible, but due to time constraints, not everyone can participate... Every Monday, music show producers receive a flood of CDs, but there's no way they can listen to them all, and they can't help but choose artists who have at least somewhat of a presence to the public, or artists from labels whom they need to maintain good relations with." 


Did you find this editorial on idol groups informative?


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    heyitsmejoshyb Friday, August 5, 2016

    It's still not about the money. It's about how you present yourself to the public I guess. Look at 9 MUSES. I heard the company spent over 1 million + dollars on them to debut, they were treated so badly by their CEO and they are not as succesful as they should be. Well, at least, these days, they were really constantly growing in terms of popularity. I hope they get their first win because they are really talented and keep releasing good quality songs.

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    BlueCatiline Friday, August 5, 2016

    No wonder so many of my favorites haven't been on shows lately...

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    cococcchanel Friday, August 5, 2016

    This was interesting. I've always wondered how much and into what money's invested

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    NYC_sunbae Friday, August 5, 2016

    If this is the case I wonder how much it cost to debut Seventeen 0.0 If you factor in all their costs I feel like they are neverrrr gonna break even with Pledis

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    meetmeinthedark NYC_sunbae Friday, August 5, 2016

    True, its not a good investment as far as investors, so many groups, singers, actors/actress. You can predict that these individuals can only last 10 years and they'll be forgotten. I fill bad for these idols.

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    melon Friday, August 5, 2016

    I thought it'll be more

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    anomynous melon Friday, August 5, 2016

    that's average... basically base price for the bigger groups and those who have crazy marketing/mv/hit songs.

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    LordLiar18 Friday, August 5, 2016

    I'm not really surprised by this... To make a group popular, they need to invest a lot, especially for promotions. Only very big companies could provide these funds. For small companies, it's much more difficult and they really need a very high return on investment to promote their idols and maintain a steady investment. But there are too rookies nowadays, the market seems to be tight..

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    meetmeinthedark LordLiar18 Friday, August 5, 2016

    not only that, Koreans are so hook up with these idols that they spend their money left and right to watch them, they''ll be broke. Watch it, S.K maybe not yet, but theyre on the line to have a stagerring high debts. Look what happened to Japan.

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    nite0wl Friday, August 5, 2016

    This comment has been removed due to violation of our TOS. (Reason: spammer)

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    meetmeinthedark  nite0wl Friday, August 5, 2016

    I also wonder if these idols have their own accountants/lawyers to review their contract. Look what happened to TVXQ,they did not know whats in thier contract until they had an issue.

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    meetmeinthedark  nite0wl Friday, August 5, 2016

    You will be shock, Asian people do their business different from Westerners, Iam considered Asian I can tell how these people operates. I dont have a business but thru my experiences I gain a lot of knowledge how to deal with Asian businessman.

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    eager_beaver Friday, August 5, 2016

    One has to wonder, is there no other way to arrange this? No other path to success? From year to year companies do this with such a low success rate that it's almost like playing the lottery, unless we're talking about the big three. Can't someone try to rethink this, be innovative? How about streamlining the process. Is it really necessary to train people for years? How about recruiting people for a group who already have the talent? Are all parts in the system needed, or could something be cut? Could some of the responsibility for creating material be transferred to the idols so that the costs would be lowered, but also so that the idols would be paid more when money flows in?

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    jrla eager_beaver Friday, August 5, 2016

    I always feel the training is unnecessary, we see a lot of idols that train for years and yet there is no talent. For the creative part for example I like what Pledis is doing. With seventeen they did reality shows all recorded and streamed by them during their formation process and with their future new group (Pledis Girlz for now) besides the promotion they are getting from Pinky and Nayeon in IOI they are taking advantage from the popularity of their other trainees and are doing weekly concerts and now another trainee (Shannon) is getting exposure through Girl's Spirit

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    eager_beaver jrla Friday, August 5, 2016

    I've also thought about the training. While training is needed, I think the amounts they go through are ridiculously excessive. A 3-4 min choreography doesn't take long to learn, especially when the idols are used to dancing. But they spend weeks even months doing it. They start early in the morning and practice throughout the day into the night, and afterwards they talk about how tired they are because they are constantly training. I feel this is completely overkill and a waste of resources. They could easily train effectively for a few hours a day, learn the choreo, and then spend the rest of the time effectively doing something else, even sleeping, which would increase the idols' well-being and performance. I think the problem is that both the company managers and idols think constant training is a sign of commitment, like sticking with it is an honorary thing. It's like when employees don't dare to go home before their bosses leave the office. even though they have no work to do, because they don't want to look like slackers. As a result they waste time at the office, and then when they go home they have so much to do but no time to do it. The managers of the idols might also feel that if the idols don't practice constantly, then they have nothing else to do, so they order the idols to fill the time with dance practice even though it's pointless. Not only does it not add anything to their performance - they learned the choreo weeks ago - but it just makes it robotic when they polish the moves towards perfection. The idols stop feeling the music and dancing to it, and instead just perform the moves mechanically, the way they've done it hundreds of times over previous weeks. The constant practice turns the idols into performing marionettes instead of creative entertainers.

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    meetmeinthedark eager_beaver Friday, August 5, 2016

    why practice how Hollywood recruits their stars, you are just dealing with your manager or you are the manager like the big stars, they can deal their own pay.

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    Sophia_Sone4ever Friday, August 5, 2016

    And when I see people hating on these hardworking people make me soo mad like "kid try to endure one month in that training room without dying -_- of sweat/bloods and competition" They worked really hard , the idols and the company too

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    nameisinvalid Friday, August 5, 2016

    I actually thought it would be more. As for popularity - it's just public feedback. If they like you (for whatever reason), you'll make it.

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    jbucaneve nameisinvalid Friday, August 5, 2016

    but if public doesnt know that you exist, you ll never make it. Small companies dont have money to prepare a big debut (without a stage you are invisible) this way groups like bts, gfriend and others that succeed are considered "extra". and this is sad.

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    nameisinvalid jbucaneve Friday, August 5, 2016

    Well, yeah. But the public not knowing a group/idol exists just means they're not at the point to be liked (yet). Some groups reach it, some don't. A million stages won't make someone popular if someone else is getting better reactions doing 3. (For example)

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