Creating a girl group costs 3 billion won

Nov 28th, 1997, SBS’ “Charge 100% Show”. Three girls went on stage. Wearing matching white jackets, T-shirts and baggy white pants, they sang “I’m Your Girl” passionately. SM’s first girl group S.E.S. debuted like this.

Aug 7th, 2022, SBS’ “Inkigayo”. NewJeans’ “Cookie” stage. Most of the school uniform-style outfits they wore were luxury items, even though they looked plain on the outside. Member Minji’s Balenciaga jacket costs 3.3 million won and Hanni’s Prada T-shirt costs 1.6 million won. Haerin walked around the stage wearing Rombaut sneakers worth 530,000 won.


Although K-pop’s status has increased over the past 25 years, the importance and meaning of girl groups have changed significantly. The emergence of TWICE, the first K-pop girl group to become a cumulative million-seller (selling more than 1 million albums), and BLACKPINK, which has the most YouTube subscribers (82.7 million as of Nov 1st), serves as an opportunity to re-calculate profits and losses in the girl group market.

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Industry officials say that the budget for rookies’ debuts and initial activities has jumped 2~3 times from the 1 billion won level in 2015. Rado, the producer of girl group STAYC, said on a YouTube broadcast last year, “It costs at least 2 billion won if you make it with some effort.” Fantagio, the agency of boy group Astro and girl group Weki Meki, announced last year that they would invest about 3.18 billion won in fostering a new girl group.

The production scale has expanded globally. 8 groups (more than half of the 15 girl groups that debuted this year) have at least one foreign member. Global auditions, which were considered extravagance, have also become a must. When an agency holds an audition, there will be an outpouring of support, and the effect of the fandom paying attention to it will be amplified.

The diversification of girl group concepts is also noticeable in the recent production process. The solution found by the 3rd and 4th-generation girl groups is “reversal girl crush”. On stage, they evoke envy and admiration, but when they walk off stage, they have to exude a friendly charm like sisters next door.

The “mysticism” strategy is gone. Drinking, which was like a taboo, is also becoming an image. Lee Kyu Tak, a professor at George Mason University Korea, said, “They present strong performances on stage, but off stage, they create new stories by showing images like friends or older sisters.

Source: Daum

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