Recently there was a discussion about the training system in K pop, and I just had to watch it. I am personally not a fan of it, but I never been able to articulate it well, until this video.
The video itself talks about a lot of things. What cultural ties are involved, how it has spreaded, comparisons to other music industry practices, and so forth. There is a lot (it spans almost 50 minutes in length), and it does start a little slow, but I think it is definitely a good watch.
Thoughts under the break.
I enjoyed this discussion. It gave a lot of insight. I did not know there was a cultural relevance to the training system. South Korea is very structured in this militaistic style. I have heard they go to school practically all day, having little time for a lot of outside things, but I was truly not aware that it extended into the workforce as well. So when something like this very by the books, very strict, structured mentality is the norm, it extending to something like the training system of a Korean entertainment company makes sense.
Also the industry rep mentioned that the Korean wave (or hallyu wave) was something created by the Korean media. Or rather it was enforced. I definitely could see that. It does not seem popular outside of a range of area, and as was mentioned by that representative, it is popular in parts of Asia. But you rarely hear anyone talking about it in places like the US, Europe, South America. I mean on a massive level. Of course there are fans all around the world, but I don’t think it is to the point where their music industries are taking notice.
I do think there was a little too much focus on the states industry. I understand why they would focus on it, as it is one of the biggest music industries, and many acts from the country are big worldwide. The US also completely works opposite of K Pop, and does not have a set training system. The last time there was one, was in the 60’s via Motown, and possibly far back to the Old Hollywood days. The 90’s also had seen something akin to a training system with the rise of bubblegum pop groups, and most recently the only thing to actually parallel K Pop is the Disney monopoly, but it doesn’t seem nearly as strict or time consuming in the way that K Pop is.
I would have liked to see talk about Japan’s music scene as it is thriving, and does have an idol scene. It was not really mentioned in the group of places where K pop could implement their training system, despite having an idol scene. Especially since they are closer to Korea, than the US is, and have had a bigger success commercially there than in the states.
Like I said before I am not a fan of the Idol training system (or incubation system…which frankly creeps me out to say it like that). First off, I don’t believe that everyone is meant to be an singer. But an idol is much more than that, yet…you have people who are all around below average in all aspects of talent for idols…and yet they’re getting jobs. I don’t think it is 100% effective. I give it a solid 75%. You invest resources (Which take money) into all these people, and there is a major chance that many of them will not even see debut.
You wasted money.
Then for the ones that did debut, many of them don’t even see great results from their training, other than them being able to not confuse their left and rights on stage…but many lack the overall ability. I think that is why groups exist. You want people to cover bases. Someone is the singer, and then there is the dancer. You have someone that is pretty and will help get the group some notoriety because of their face. Someone who has social skills and can talk to handle variety. Of course many idols have a mixed set of skills. You have people who are great performers and then can move to a tv show and handle variety. You have Luna, IU, and Suzy who are singers who act. It is very rare to have idols who don’t have more than one skillset. It is also common to have idols who are rather subpar at everything they do. But…they are pretty.
At the end of the day…they are here to make sure we are entertained. Whether or not their talent is up to snuff will never be a major priority. They just need to know how to smile, what step to make, and if you are the singer, what lines you have to do. If there is any fostering of talent, it is usually after their debut, and at the individual artist own discretion.
I don’t know, I have thoughts, but I don’t want to extend this post for too long. I think the training system works for the market, but at the same time, it takes money, and limits personal growth. But K Pop is K Pop…there is a music scene outside of it, and it seems to do well, just doesn’t have the exporting power that K Pop does.