Bang Si Hyuk Addresses The Double Standards Between K-Pop and Western Pop

“Are these questions even justifiable?”

Bang Si Hyuk, the founder, and chairman of HYBE, recently sat down for an interview with CNN and had in-depth discussions about HYBE’s future plans and the K-Pop industry at large.

Bang Si Hyuk | CNN

During the conversation, the interviewer asked Bang how he feels about the criticism HYBE, or the industry in general often receives from its global audience. These complaints include the pressure on artists and the typical “factory-made” tag still attached to K-Pop.

You’ve been unbelievably successful. But there’s also criticism. ‘The demands on the artists.’ ‘It’s too stressful.’ ‘They can’t cope.’ ‘You’ve created a factory’…But isn’t it true? You’re putting these kids under tremendous pressure.

—Richard Quest, CNN

In response, Bang didn’t refute the claims completely. He agreed that some of these pieces of criticism do stem from reality. But there is a double standard at play. Because as much as K-Pop artists are under pressure to succeed, it is not an exclusive to the industry.

It’s not a total urban legend. Of course there was some element of it in the past. But we should ask: Are these questions justifiable?

—Bang Si Hyuk

Bang pointed out that Western artists are just as vulnerable to stressful situations. In fact, they are sometimes more exposed to the toxic coping mechanisms of alcohol or drug abuse. Yet, these questions are never asked about the Western music industry.

I don’t see any clear difference when we applied the same things to the Western pop. Is any one of the Western artists not living a stressful life? In most cases, they face a more serious catastrophe than Koreans in the form of drug or alcohol abuse.

—Bang Si Hyuk

Regarding the lack of artistic autonomy in K-Pop, Bang once again acknowledged that the problem is not nonexistent in the industry. But things are evolving in the current times with more and more labels showing commitment to protect their artists’ freedom.

As much as Bang acknowledged the criticism, his clear aversion towards the discrimination between K-Pop and Western pop artists was summed up in his comment when he said, “Please think about how stress-free the Western artists are.”

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