According to the data, the average K-Pop idol income has increased 72.2 percent in three years between 2010 and 2013. While in 2010 the average salary was 22.64 million won (approximately $20,000 USD), K-Pop idols' average salary more than doubled to 46.74 million won (approximately $43,000 USD) by 2013.
Although the salary number is still shockingly low to some who might expect public figures to be making more money, many idols have to share a huge chunk of their earnings with their agencies and split the rest among their group members. Experts say that idol working conditions are still not ideal, but that things have been gradually improving in their favor. It is also believed that the increase in salary was largely do to an increased focus on international activities as idols venture overseas for concerts and music sales via the Hallyu Wave.
Korean celebrities in general saw an increase in annual income. While actors / TV hosts salaries increased from 33.31 million won (approximately $31,000 USD) to 37.18 million won (approximately $34,000 USD). Salaried employees saw an increase from 26.42 million won (approximately $24,000 USD) to 30.07 million won (approximately $28,000 USD) in three years. Overall, idols dominate in terms of earning the most money. Once a group that earned the least among celebrities, idols now earn even more than actors.
According to Forbes the idol groups who made the most money in the first half of 2014 were Super Junior, Girls' Generation, Big Bang, and 2NE1. While Super Junior raked in 31.4 billion won (approximately $28.9 million USD), Girls' Generation earned 30.3 billion won (approximately $27.9 million USD), Big Bang earned 29.4 billion won (approximately $27.1 million USD), and 2NE1 earned 27.5 billion won (approximately $25.3 million USD).