Top Earning Songwriters Make Over W1 Billion a Year

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Park Jin-young, the singer and CEO of management company JYP Entertainment, is Korea’s second highest-grossing songwriter. According to the Korea Music Copyright Association (KOMCA) on Monday, Park earned W1.078 billion (US$1=W1,249) from copyrights in 2008. One of Korea’s most prominent singer-songwriters, Park is credited for writing numerous hit songs for singers managed by his company like the Wonder Girls, 2PM and 2AM.

The top earner was composer Cho Young-soo, who made W1.109 billion. Lyricist Ahn Young-min came in third with W928 million. Cho and Ahn are seen as the Midas duo in Korean pop music scene, writing the hit songs of SG Wannabe.

At least 100 composers and lyricists earned over W100 million a year, and the top eight made over W500 million a year. With the growing digital music market led by an increase in sales of karaoke machines and mobile phone ringtones, the income of songwriters has been growing fast.

But after paying tax and fees to the KOMCA, which charges about 22 percent of the sales price, their net earnings decreased significantly. Cho actually earned around W800 million. Compared to Japan and the United States, what these songwriters are making in Korea is mere 1/10 and 1/100, leading to calls to come down harder on piracy.

(W1 billion is about $800,000.)

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