On the surface, the COVID19 pandemic didn't seem to affect the Kpop industry as BTS swept up the Billboard charts and Kpop continues its popularity globally.
However, there is a part of the entertainment industry in the dark shadows where the COVID19 has taken a great toll. As events and festivals are canceled one after another, small and medium-sized companies are at a crossroads as new idol groups postpone their debut.
The idol group 'Black Swan' has been waiting for their debut but it has been postponed indefinitely as performances have come to a stop due to the coronavirus.
The idol members of 'Black Swan' have stated they have to spend every single day with an uncertain future because their debut date has become uncertain. They state that they are nervous and anxious as they do not know what will become of their future. One member stated, "I don't have any other skills. I only have experience with singing and dancing so I have to be successful here."
DR Music CEO, Yoon Deung Ryong stated, "99% of small-sized agencies like us are almost bankrupt, it's difficult to stay afloat day by day. It's really threatening our livelihood. You can see that it costs approximately 20 to 30 million KRW ($17,000 to $25,600) a month while preparing the group. We're almost running out of funds."
These idols who have dreamed of becoming a singer since they were in their teens are now waiting until the Coronavirus pandemic comes to an end. It's an indefinite wait time until these new idol groups can make their debut. Other idol groups who have already made their debut from a small to a midsize company are also having difficulties during the pandemic. Most of these idol groups have fans overseas and most of their income comes from overseas performances.
However, overseas performances have been all canceled due to COVID19.
Idol groups ICU and Chic Angel are among the groups that have been heavily affected by the pandemic. One member stated, "We had overseas performances scheduled throughout the year but all got canceled so this year just blew away. I feel we couldn't keep our promise with our fans."
These two idol groups are struggling to survive as they joined together for a project group. They stated they are able to make their name known through promotions at festivals and live performances. However, already 30 events have been canceled this month.
Another member stated, "My parents are very worried about me. They call me often asking how I'm doing. I'm very upset since we can't promote at this time."
BTS has generated 25 Billion KRW ($21.3 million) from just one online performance. However, this is the story for only the top 1% of the idols with huge fandoms. The idol groups from small to medium-sized companies are able to gain income, traction, and recognition from participating in festivals and performances. However, these groups are not able to do that.
There have been 34 agencies that have closed since March of this year due to the COVID19 pandemic.