The Economics of K-Pop

  • Published on Nov 8, 2019
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    Music by Graham Haerther (
    Audio editing by Eric Schneider
    Motion graphics by Vincent de Langen
    Everything else by Evan
    This includes a paid sponsorship which had no part in the writing, editing, or production of the rest of the video.
    Music by Epidemic Sound:

Comments • 1 781

  • PolyMatter
    PolyMatter  29 days ago +322

    Do you want to be the next K-Pop Idol? Good, because there are thousands of great Skillshare courses on other topics, from animation to productivity:

    • Isra Saleh
      Isra Saleh 4 days ago

      Lmfao I can't tell if this is shade or not

    • WynnZea De Villa
      WynnZea De Villa 8 days ago

      Michael Mantion im too deaf to even hear that in loud speaker 😂

    • Callum Gillman
      Callum Gillman 10 days ago +1

      @ciaran brockhampton awesome reply thanks for the lesson;)

    • tomato totato
      tomato totato 17 days ago

      next video; south korea's HUGE sex industry.

  • 阳彩
    阳彩 19 hours ago

    ok nice video i guess but now all i can think about is baby yoongi with his ginger braids

  • Jin-sang
    Jin-sang Day ago +1

    "The quintessential example of the formula's success-"
    *Proceeds to talk about the group who broke the formula*

  • Jin-sang
    Jin-sang Day ago

    I agree with your take for the most part but the whole exoticizing approach to it was disappointing, though I'm not even surprised anymore.
    As you said, kpop is a shitload of fakery, but they're frank about it. What you're conveniently missing is that the American music industry, or honestly music industries anywhere in the world are equally fake - they're just not frank about it. The American industry is also all about profit, it just uses a different approach is all, actually a less investment-intensive one - they just pick up the artists that already got "noticed" and give them the backing they need for worldwide fame.
    And you think artists in other industries aren't mistreated, cheated out of the money they earned?
    And FYI tailoring music to the audience's taste is honestly a characteristic that best describes American pop music, where almost everyone is making simple, catchy tunes to the point of bordering on elevator music.

  • Michael Untouchable
    Michael Untouchable 2 days ago

    You are more commercialized than Kpop 🤣🤣🤣

  • Gamer Bros
    Gamer Bros 2 days ago

    Next: The Economics of I-Pop

  • Incredible Hulk
    Incredible Hulk 3 days ago +2

    I wish someone would teach me how to dance, sing, learn other languages, feeds me, sends me to school, free rent, etc. All it requires is my hard work. I say fair. I'm pretty sure people who learn there can find a job somewhere else even if they don't make it.Must be mad skilled after all that work.

  • YouGotNoJams
    YouGotNoJams 3 days ago +2

    Idk this is actually the first time I hear someone say "there are four big labels: YG, SM, JYP and Big Hit". Thnx for including big hit lol ppl just keep mentioning the other big three

  • Steve Harris
    Steve Harris 4 days ago

    Dont say"mainland" china. You're implying it owns taiwan.
    Fuck china

  • Steve Harris
    Steve Harris 4 days ago

    They are like DPRK

  • Avarosa
    Avarosa 4 days ago

    K-shit is cancer.

  • Jitaeri
    Jitaeri 4 days ago +1

    Oh, so that's why K-POP artists/companies spend so much time, money, and effort to advertise in Japan! Thanks for the info, as a long time K-pop fan, I've always wondered why Japan always received such special treatment in the K-POP world despite the two countries still being politically at odds/tense with each other for historical reasons.

    From the view of a US based fan, it seems that outside of Korea itself, Japanese K-pop fans have it the best: they always receive the most concert touring dates, more events/fan meet opportunities, specially repackaged albums, whole albums translated into Japanese, Japanese version of the original music videos (with different cuts compared to the original) and DVD sets with differing content, and different set of fan goods, amongst other things that I'm surely forgetting.

    One curious thing that has always been on my mind: Why do Japanese version of K-POP songs generally have the most amount of English? In fact, songs sung entirely in English are often released on the Japanese version of the album and usually never included in the original Korean albums (though sometimes international versions of the album are made).

  • o o
    o o 4 days ago

    ughhhh....foreigners! stop saying Kpop is funded by the gov. Yes. Gov use Kpop for their promotion. but all they do is using them. it is not like they give YG JYP SM money to make songs. lol. They are actually one of the most annoying thing for kpop fans. cuz gov only use the idol and do nothing.

  • Mya
    Mya 4 days ago

    “Usually sold to fans that will not play them” Lmaoo damn he right

  • ohmyafy
    ohmyafy 4 days ago +1

    Should’ve touched on the high suicide rate among kpop idols

    MARIYA 4 days ago

    9:52 loool i was there....

  • Ninja Kitty
    Ninja Kitty 4 days ago


  • Soomin Park
    Soomin Park 4 days ago +1

    You dont call ballet school as manufacturing factory and you call kpop as manufacturing factory? Funny.

  • Alice Beck
    Alice Beck 5 days ago +1

    kpop actually stole those tactics (limited edition CDs, free posters, concert ticket raffles gifted with CDs) from J-pop. Namely, Johhny's.

  • Honkler Finkelstein
    Honkler Finkelstein 5 days ago

    Literal Corporate Culture

  • Gwangmu Lee
    Gwangmu Lee 5 days ago

    You dare to decorate your Korean-related video's thumbnail with Japanese national flowers. Never expect any Koreans appreciate this....

  • spinerocker
    spinerocker 5 days ago

    I like how it shifted from Kpop to Skillshare like clockwork.

  • Effiecacious94
    Effiecacious94 5 days ago

    Honestly big hit is only there because of bts, originally there was only the Big 3, which was SM, JYP, and YG, but with SMent's celebs passing, and YG dealing with massive drug, sexual assault, and tax scandals, that leaves room open for smaller less popular entertainment companies.

  • xThePinkApple
    xThePinkApple 5 days ago

    Most people won't get into an entertainment company's trainee program if they don't have (potential) talent... Of course these companies put a lot of emphasis on looks too, but only the actually talented trainees get to debut at the end of the day (which could've been mentioned)

  • Maxine Yang
    Maxine Yang 5 days ago

    1:32-1:34 Did he just call me out 😂😂😂

  • Omoshne
    Omoshne 6 days ago

    Very relevant and eye-opening video on the artificiality and abuse in the K-pop industry:

  • Kaelyn Papa
    Kaelyn Papa 6 days ago

    kpop is very political :O

  • Stan Loona
    Stan Loona 6 days ago

    Man shut the fuck up 🤣

  • Anita
    Anita 6 days ago

    the video was fine but why did you add a video of seungri while talking about the unfairness of contracts? in that video he was being asked by the press about his involvement in prostitution (and drugs?) trafficking and had nothing to do with the topic, there are plenty of other videos more fitting you could've used, especially since the context of the video you putted is a pretty serious and sensitive one

    • Anita
      Anita 6 days ago

      meikaaa oh I'm sorry that happened to you :( that's even more reason that video shouldn't be used, i don't know what polymatter was thinking when he picked it but it really wasn't a good idea

    • meikaaa
      meikaaa 6 days ago

      exactly. i dare say his name, but Seungri is horrible dude. it almost triggered me even seeing his face in this video.

  • T M B
    T M B 7 days ago

    That super old BTS footage, oh my God.

  • Bi bip
    Bi bip 7 days ago +2

    6:21 Seungri is a problematic ex idol. His case is really really complicated and ultra shady, plus its obvious some powerful people in the politic/ law world is defending him. It’s not about his weight.

  • Shortcut
    Shortcut 7 days ago

    Despacito 2 comin soon on Vinyl in Japan

  • human human
    human human 7 days ago +1

    Me before: BTS paved the way
    Me after: Well yes ...but actually no

  • QuantumApex
    QuantumApex 7 days ago

    What is the city at 7:30 called?

  • Ahmad Sambodo
    Ahmad Sambodo 7 days ago

    So basically, either North or South Korea has a similar strategy to increase their income, which is labor export. The difference is North works as hard labor in the construction sector by the Chinese companies overseas, while the South is in the entertainment sector targeting Chinese (and other countries) markets...

  • Saiful Islam
    Saiful Islam 7 days ago +1

    so many butthurt kpoppers here.. why, cant accept the truth? :)

  • Du go
    Du go 7 days ago

    너무 과장된 관점, 본질에서 벗어난 듯, // 1.개별 예술가들의 예술적 능력이 핵심인데.... "이상한관점"을 핵심처럼 설명하는 오류 // 2.언급한 연예계문제는 보편적인것이고 미국도 있을것(최근의 성희롱사건, 여배우들,소수인종 임금차별등)

  • Jae-Ann Gowie
    Jae-Ann Gowie 7 days ago +1

    I wouldn't say BigHit is a big influential company, it's actually a very small company. BTS was their big break over years of failures. CG&EM is more fit to be along side JYP, SM and YG. The reason why those previously mentioned comapanies are big is because they paved the way. Big Bang, Seo Taiji and the boys 2NE1 etc made kpop into what it is today

  • Adam Moberly
    Adam Moberly 7 days ago +1

    My god, how long did you do research on this? Not long if that’s all you have to say.
    K-Pop and it’s rise in the West has way more to the story than “Gangnam Style” (Pronounced Gong-Nom) and “Fake” marketing.
    K-Pop formed in the 1990’s, after SM’s CEO came to the USA to study in college and was influenced by 80’s icons like Micheal Jackson and Madonna. From there on, the industry grew and it’s influence in Asian formed, but it reached a peak interest in 2009, when Wonder Girl’s “Nobody” also peaked on the Top 100’s chart. It’s also should be noted 2NE1, who was just debuted that year drew the attention of Will.I.Am and struck up a deal with them to release a English Language Album (which you can even see them recording on their online show 2NE1 Tv). Even SM’s SMTown concert was held in Madison Square Garden in 2011.
    So there was way more than “Gangnam Style” that helped bring K-Pop into the West.
    The marketing isn’t all just take pretty idols to make money, it’d just a part of it. If you ever hear about how talented they are at dance and performance, that should explain why a lot of it makes them money. The more you preform and make appearances on verity shows and on music shows should also explain why they tend to gain a big following. Of course the looks are a big (even forced with plastic surgery) part of their sales. They release multiple albums and ads that use that, even using their looks to influence the nations beauty standards. But most of the positions (which are lead vocalist, vocalist, rapper, dancer, leader (usually the oldest member), and then the visual/actor) in the group takes actual talent and it’s mean and rude to say it’s just due to the music and their looks.
    And if you think that K-Pop is all about making South Korea money, you’d be wrong. Many K-pop songs and even producers are from outside Korea or made for the West. 2NE1’s and Blackpink’s main producer, Teddy Park was in place to make one of the USA’s biggest pop star’s debut Album, but he didn’t; he turned down Lady Gaga.
    So next time do more research before making a video with about 40% of what your talking about:

  • susu
    susu 7 days ago +1

    correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think Big Hit can be considered as a "big label". although the company is behind very big artists which recently rose to success it can barely be called "a big company" or be compared with the actual big companies in my opinion

  • evennity
    evennity 7 days ago

    American artists nowadays don't start from a garage. They start from Disney or Nickelodeon or a contest.

  • billy bob
    billy bob 8 days ago

    i pity these people they basically have no life and they have to work like robots everyday just to get a chance to be on the spotlight damm south korea is soo corrupted and the suicide rates are as high as ever they need some sort of an influence to just take it easy they work too hard on everything

    • Akdn 02
      Akdn 02 8 days ago +1

      True but remember that it was them who chose that path

  • Frankie
    Frankie 8 days ago

    this is quite misleading........

  • Judith Jackson
    Judith Jackson 8 days ago

    China gonna come after your ass

  • Kirsten Aizpuru
    Kirsten Aizpuru 8 days ago +7

    BTS is organic tho. All of them came from korea. Only 1 member knows how to speak english and thats because he taught himself through watching friends. They are not your typical kpop group. They werent based on the "formula" that used by major companies like having a member from other countries or them having to speak english. You can also feel their passion and sincerity which is the main reason why their fans love them so much not just because of their looks and whatnot

  • Kirsten Aizpuru
    Kirsten Aizpuru 8 days ago +2

    The reason bighit is now included to the 4 major entertainment labels is because of bts 👏👏😎

  • Julio Avila
    Julio Avila 8 days ago

    Kpop is even more vulgar than reggaeton.

  • Canone Colombe
    Canone Colombe 8 days ago +1

    For me, the purpose of music is to be listened. If some companies found a way to fulfill the market needs without using force, they have one. Not every company can taylor-design a winning model in a sector as unstable as entertainment. Sure, there still has mishaps. Thankfully, the companies are adapting and evolving, maybe the same way Korea's workers rights are evolving.
    PS : I think artists don't need to write songs to be considered artists. Performing is artistry requiring to master specific skills.

  • SinBin '
    SinBin ' 8 days ago +2

    Video: “There are 4 big entertainments YG-“
    Kpop Fans:

    Kpop fans: Wait they’re still part of it?

    • meikaaa
      meikaaa 6 days ago

      LMAOOOO true though

  • nobody important
    nobody important 8 days ago +1

    Hmmm it's just my opinion ik all those crazy bts will come for me idk y they mention big hit
    Like If they said in terms of wealth ya fine okay
    Like ya they have money
    Like sm, yg and jyp have legacy and prove that they can be successful with more than two groups
    I’m not saying they can’t be part of the big 3 but maybe just not now

  • Angel B.
    Angel B. 8 days ago +20

    what i don't like when locals talk about kpop is how people automatically generalize and paint the fans as "teenage girls" as if their interests are dumb and shallow.

    • Lava Cake
      Lava Cake 6 days ago

      Angel B. Very true! Kpop doesn’t just mean pop it means all current music released in S Korea. There’s a lot of other genres (R n B, Rock, etc.) within it that just aren’t as mainstream as the pop aspect.

  • Krunky Munky
    Krunky Munky 8 days ago +1

    At 7:04 why did they say Chinese twice

  • VelvetorbitsTime Bangtanverse

    The reason why japan and South Korea sell more physical albums are because kpop albums are way more fun to have for example you have photocards, photobooks, stickers and many more items. While American artists usually just sell the cd and don’t put any photobooks or photocards

  • ahem
    ahem 9 days ago +1

    its true that the korean government is endorsing kpop as one of its biggest assets but the way you phrased "music isn't found, it's created" and talked about the government practically 'controlling the industry' gives off an extreme bias towards the idea that in other countries music is "found" and that the music is korea is completely factory-made which just isn't true,

    Music is a creative industry full of constant new ideas and each individual has the choice and love for music just as much as everyone else, the fact that companies hold auditions and there are significantly more opportunities to indulge in a music career doesn't make it totally 'factory-made'. Also that gives off the idea that in other countries they don't hold auditions in major music companies and that the government doesn't endorse the music industry but it DOES, especially in America, majority of the artists you hear on the radio could be described as 'factory-made' if you look at it through the standards of what makes korean artists 'factory-made' however in the USA they tend to hide the fact that all your favourite artists are under the same label and having music produced for them etc etc

    Anyway this video was still very interesting but I just want people to be a bit more aware of the music industry globally as a whole.

  • Aksshat Sharrma
    Aksshat Sharrma 9 days ago


  • R C
    R C 9 days ago +2

    people talk about kpop as if it's the only type of entertainment that's "manufactured". how many US top 40 artists were selected by companies and trained to be marketable? (1D, Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez, etc.) being "maufactured" doesn't mean it's not worthwhile & it's not necessarily a bad thing.

  • Adyasha Rout
    Adyasha Rout 9 days ago

    When watching kpop it is just beautiful and the songs remain with you for a long time. But somehow the manufactured part makes it less endearing. Like watch taylor swift and one will be awed with the talent and at the same time inspired in their own life. So much manufacturing over shadows some really good talent. The songs are originals and good but somehow it becomes more of a product than an inspiring song so the sustainability is less. I can be wrong but that is how i am seeing it.

    • Adyasha Rout
      Adyasha Rout 5 days ago

      @Kookie’s Lisp i am saying exactly what you are saying but i am seeing it in another prospective. Gangam style was the best but i felt it had originality and the artist has freedom in it so it, the production was huge but the manufatured part was much less so it was loved everywhere. The groups seems manufactured but exception is some groups like blackpink as the freedom of the artist is quite visible and it empowering while others seem to standing on the shoulders of strong PR.

    • Kookie’s Lisp
      Kookie’s Lisp 5 days ago

      Some groups don’t have song writers or producers and so a song will be made for them through external sources but that shouldn’t take away from the music itself

    • Bee
      Bee 6 days ago

      You are wrong. Listen to BTS.

  • Reverse Universe
    Reverse Universe 10 days ago

    K-pop? Japan?

  • Sarah Ahsan
    Sarah Ahsan 10 days ago +4

    The way kpop takes credit for all of bts achievements and in return pushes its stereotypes on BTS is lowkey frustrating. BTS members all write n produce their own contents, they have singlehandedly pulled their entire company out of debt with their music, they made them one of the biggest companies and brought back billions to their nation by showing their sincerity. Yet the profit they bring back is listed under “kpop’s impact” despite the fact that the rest of the industry not being anywhere near their success, and in return they get labeled as ‘manufactured” and “fake”. BTS are the only kidol that were awarded the KMAs, an award show that is known to be very harsh toward the manufactured kpop industry bc of its lack of artistry. Their work ethics, morals and even their start differs so much from the kpop industry yet they r still listed as “kpop”. Before them, the hallyu wave was slowly dying, if it wasn’t for bts being listed under “kpop” when they blew up all across the globe, kpop wouldn’t have as much “impact” as it has now. I really hope ppl did a bit more research, and stopped grouping bts with the rest of the industry when bts worked so hard to change the norms in the industry plant industry they found themselves caught up in

  • Benon Ma
    Benon Ma 10 days ago

    Fyi, Korean govt is nothing to do with Kpop. They contributed nothing.