When it comes to K-Pop stars, along with concerts and releasing albums, one of the biggest ways idols gain recognition is by performing on weekly music shows, including the likes of M Countdown, Music Bank, Inkigayo, and many more.
Recently, reporter turned YouTuber Lee Jin Ho released a video where he spoke all about idols’ appearances on music shows.
During the video, Lee Jin Ho revealed that there are lots of different considerations taken when it comes to the fee idols are paid when they appear on shows. As expected, most of them base it on the fame and popularity of the stars rather than the size.
If they aren’t a famous idol, they don’t receive more than ₩500,000 KRW (about $370 USD). Only ultra-popular stars receive ₩500,000 KRW (about $370 USD). Normal idols only receive 100,000 KRW (on major networks). Mnet’s M-Countdown pays ₩50,000 KRW (about $37.00 USD) and asks for tax considerations.
— Lee Jin Ho
When converted into US dollars, Mnet only seems to pay around $37 USD for a performance, which doesn’t seem like much at all.
If that doesn’t seem enough, the music shows also don’t cover the other costs, including the outfits, staff, and other aspects of the performance. In particular, recording usually takes a long time, and the whole process, from getting hair and makeup done to the actual performance, can take over 12 hours.
In the same video, Lee Jin Ho revealed that although the artists are paid, when it is taken into consideration with the costs, the idols and companies have to pay to prepare, plan, and perform on the stage, and it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the payments.
It costs popular groups around ₩60.0 million KRW (about $44,400 USD). Since they promote a new album for two weeks, outfits will cost them ₩120 million KRW (about $88,900 USD) for two weeks. Other idol groups spend around ₩30.0 million KRW (about $22,200 USD).
— Lee Jin Ho
Yet, for most idols, the pay isn’t as important when it comes to music shows. Even with the high costs, there are always huge lines of idols waiting to perform because they know that the exposure will help them get the investment back in the future, including gaining fans.
It is also the perfect opportunity for idols to interact with fans as, along with the performance, most will hold fan meetings at the same time to greet those attending.
Although the fee idols are paid seems like nothing, the exposure gained benefits them in so many ways, especially as music shows now reach global audiences through streaming.