Music Programs are still cheap to the Idols

 SNSD

Eye Catching Comeback Stage = 30,000,000 Won (roughly ~$20,600 dollars with the given exchange rate)
Wireless Mics = 6,000,000 Won (~$4,134)
Apparel / Accessories = Few Hundred Thousand Won (Few Thousand Dollars)
Dancers + Session Fee = Great Burden (Still a great burden even converted into dollars)
Being in the red… PRICELESS. Just kidding, but apparently this is still considered a worthwhile investment.

Whether it be Korea’s top singers or popular idol groups, their activity costs comes up to tens of thousands of dollars. Despite the huge costs involved with performing on stage at Music Programs, these singers still perform… despite receiving only a ridiculous sum of $200 from the cheap music programs.

The Untouchable Comeback Stage.
The final thing to prepare for during an album release is a comeback stage. For top singers this is a high priority, trying to be dazzling and impressive in their comeback. For an upcoming comeback stage, artists must prepare up to a month in advance in choosing their stage outfits, choreography, etc. The reason for the lavish display is not only fan service for the fans but to make an impact to the general public. KBS’s Music Bank, MBC’s Music Core, SBS’s Inkigayo are the three main music programs, and they all share a Comeback Special segment. Normally, singers get about 3 minutes to sing one song, but during a special Comeback stage, singers are allowed 2 to 3 songs for a total of about 6 to 7 minutes. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that extra airtime?

Dazzling Comeback Stages Average $7,000, Up to $20,000+
A-list stars spend upwards of $7,000 for one stage. The costs include the Brilliant outfits, back dancers, session men, they use dozens of people which adds up. One of the most costly items are clothes and accessories. MC Mong’s main stylist said “In the case of Dance and Hip Hop Artists, they need to provide the clothes for their dancers as well, making up a higher cost than regular solo artists. Especially during comebacks, within one week normally you go on 3 to 4 stages and therefore have to have different outfits for each. In MC Mong’s case, depending on the stage it ranges from $4,000~$10,000.” Rather than getting regular outfits from stores, more often than not outfits are specially designed. In the case of popular idol groups, before an album is released an apparel team is sent to Hong Kong to find the newest trends or they seek out a famous designer to design an outfit for them. Which costs even more money.

Additional Costs
Although normally the stage is set up by the production team with a fee, in special cases the artists may work together with the production team to hire a set designer. Whether it’s fake snow or firecrackers, special items such as those costs thousands of extra dollars (or wons). In world star Rain’s / Bi’s case, his wireless microphones were specially ordered with a transmitter-receiver that made the mics alone $4000~5000. And I thought his magic stick was expensive!

In reality, appearing on stage is a $20,000 affair.
Even with the significant costs associated with a single stage, artists are willing to put in the money. A representative from a top management company said “We don’t think of it as a loss. It’s an investment for album promotions and marketing. Recently, singers have created their own ideas to decorate the stage and are willing to use personal expenses to do so in order to show the fans their passion.”

On the other hand, those without a strong company to back them up financially often find it hard to offset the costs of going on stage. Especially by receiving only $200 for appearing on stage from the Music Programs, which is way too little now, it should be increased. All of this is pretty ridiculous, but the show must go on to entertain. Luckily the entertainment companies have deep pockets and pay their artists pretty well, especially Dong Bang Shin Ki.

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