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Kpop idol: Is it really an easy job with a high salary?

Idol is a ‘well-paying’ job but it won’t last long and the artists have to trade many things in their younger years.

In early 2019, the Korean public was amazed by the huge wealth of IU and Yoon Ah. IU purchased a plot of land near the GTX high-speed metro line project in the suburbs of Gyeonggi Province. The land has skyrocketed from 4.6 billion won to 6.9 billion won, helping the singer earn 2.3 billion won. Yoon Ah also bought a building that costs 10 billion won in Cheongdam-dong, the most expensive area in Seoul.

IU and Yoon Ah shocked people for owning expensive real estate.

Netizens think that the idols are making too much money. Celebrities are buying most of the most expensive areas in Seoul, they even raise the price higher than the actual price. A part of Korean people is angry because of the rich and poor gap between artists and ordinary workers. Singers and actors are living too easily, doing just little but having an unbelievably high income. Many idols who are just over 20 or 30 years old have owned many real estate, with remarkable fortune. So is idol really an easy job with a high salary as many people imagine? Is the artist’s income too much compared to the effort they took?

Idols’ job must have investment and risk

Idols start practicing in their teenage years. Ever since they were in middle high school, they spent time in dance centers, preparing for the auditions for entertainment companies. The members of EXO, BTS, Wanna One, Twice, Black Pink, Red Velvet… all spent their youth in the practice rooms and underwent stressful tests. While other students enjoy spending time with their friends and family, having romantic relationships, trainees locked themselves in the practice room, the only places they went to were their home and their company. Minzy (2NE1) said that she felt lost because she couldn’t go to school regularly, she only talked with other members or the employees in the company, making it difficult for her to adapt to the life outside YG.

Sm trainee.
JYP trainee

Ever since entering the company, the trainees have signed a contract that gave them a huge debt. It is the investment for courses, dormitory, and managers. The family and the trainees themselves are accepting a significant debt without knowing whether or not they are successful enough to pay. There are many idols who have to work for years without getting paid because they have to pay for their training fees. Many places also take advantage of contract terms to make female artists promote with erotic images, revealing clothes and disturbing dancing in the events.

The future of idol career is insecure unless you can join big companies that ensure your success like SM, JYP and YG. More and more teenagers are dreaming of being an idol but this is also a profession that requires serious and risky investment.

The work is always scrutinized and received tons of criticism

If you are sensitive with criticism and discomfort when being judged on the outside, being an idol is definitely not the right job for you. The idols are always scrutinized about talents, looks, and actions, words in every situation. Most idols have beautiful visual but in the eyes of Korean netizens, only a small defect also becomes the subject of jokes and discrimination. Cha Eun Woo (Astro) burst into tears in the concert revealing a lot of acne-prone skin. Wendy (Red Velvet) pursues an anti-scientific diet to avoid being chubby. Minzy (2NE1) is psychologically affected by being badly criticized by Daddy Yang and netizens … Only a bad photo and a sloppy image will be enough to make the idol receive hundreds, thousands of hate comments, putting great pressure on them.

Cha Eun Woo revealed his face with acne at the event.
Wendy lost weight to the point of being skinny.

Korea is a country that focuses on codes of politeness, especially among seniors – juniors. Just a mistake like standing in the wrong position or an unfriendly gaze will be enough to make a person become a center of criticism. Idols are watched everywhere from the stage, at the airport or even while sitting backstage. Many groups, idols are troubled because they do not enthusiastically support the artists who are performing on stage. The idols have to get used to the camera lens all the time, ready to be bashed for the slightest mistakes. Netizen is only interested in scandals but rarely pay attention to the main postings.

JooE and Nancy were bashed for … glaring at Black Pink.
JooE and Nancy were bashed for … glaring at Black Pink.
 SNSD members have been criticized for their lack of enthusiasm for interviews.
SNSD members have been criticized for their lack of enthusiasm for interviews.

Immediately after falling in love, idols were also watched and protested. Dispatch paparazzi are ready to follow the idol everywhere, trying to figure out how to photograph the idols. For idol careers, dating will only damage the career, causing a segment of fans to turn their back on them. Seol Hyun, Jennie are girls who receive countless criticism when revealing dating information. Hyun Ah and E’Dawn were even kicked out of the company. Love stories between stars are always watched and scrutinized and most couples break up because they are too busy or are put under pressure from fans and management companies.

Jennie received much sarcasm when she revealed dating information with Kai.
 The image of Seol Hyun sneaking to Zico's house to date has been mocked by netizens.
The image of Seol Hyun sneaking to Zico’s house to date has been mocked by netizens.

Anyone can be depressed, regardless of career. In Korea, artists are particularly vulnerable to psychological illnesses due to pressure from the public and from success. Jong Hyun (SHINee) suicide was a big shock to K-pop. After the departure of male and female singers like Minzy and Lee Hi, Woo Young revealed that he was also depressed and understood Jong Hyun’s thoughts. These shares are alarm bells for fans and netizens. The public should have a sympathetic look, reduce harsh comments, stop offending artists and hide behind social networking accounts while being insensitive to the pain of others.

The departure of Jong Hyun shocked the public.

The career has a short lifespan and a tight schedule


The age of the K-pop group is 7 years and that is usually only for successful, popular groups. Idol debut at the age of 20 and worked hard for a few years before being replaced by more youthful juniors. When the group starts to gain popularity, the idol will be exhausted in tight schedules like promoting, closing ads, recording shows, filming movies. Artists devote the most glorious years of their career to earn enough income for the remaining years. To have huge amounts of money, artists must sacrifice their personal and healthy lives. And to make sure that when they are no longer active, idols still have a comfortable and stable life, most of them choose to invest in real estate, open restaurants, and cafes.

During the MAMA awards ceremony, Jin (BTS) revealed shocking information that the group nearly disband because of both mental and physical pressures when it was too successful and had many schedules. Jeong Yeon (Twice) also opened her heart about the difficult time. Twice is almost active all year, with no rest time. The singer cried because she felt sorry for not being able to show 100% in front of fans. At the end of 2018, Tzuyu, Mina, Momo missed some events because of exhaustion.

BTS’s tears and sharing at MAMA 2019 touched their colleagues and fans.

Throughout the age of 20, idols only know how to work and rarely have time for themselves. When it comes to the slope of the career, many stars enjoy the available assets. That is the result of years of work to exhaustion.

Suzy was born in 1994 but has been among the highest-paid stars in Kbiz.
G-Dragon is one of the richest stars in Kbiz, owning many expensive cars and watches.

If you look at the wealth of properties, apartments, brands, and expensive tours of Kpop stars, many people will think that this is the most desirable job. In fact, only those who accept to trade the youth, try their best, have enough talent and lucky enough can become a star. Idols are a “high-paying” job but short-lived and artists must chase things out of the most brilliant youth.

Sources: ione

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