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TVXQ and the rest August 18, 2009

Posted by tokkilin in Happening !.
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When I read this @ KPop JJang, my heart flutter as all of the comments really summarize why I love TVXQ from the beginning. This article is worthy to be posted everywhere ^^

The voice of Xiah Junsu is Asia’s treasure
-Matsuo Kiyoshi-

What people say about DBSK is that…
they are one of the few juniors who are polite and has good thoughts
-Comedian Jung Sun Hee-

DBSK is the singer with the best manners
-Show Music Tank PD-

(During an interview about Big Bang)
Oh! There is one singer that I admired as I watched them sing.
DBSK is really amazing,
They were singing a live performance and by watching them without a bias, they sing very well,
If they were ugly, they would be called men version of Big Mama.
Korean people have a preconception about DBSK and that is wrong.
-YG Entertainment Yang Hyun Suk-

We are a different genre so I don’t think we are rivals.
DBSK is a senior that we acknowledge.
Everyone sings well and I think they put in a lot of thoughts into their choreography and performances.
They continue to show self-improvement and are setting a good example as sunbae.
-Singer G-Dragon-

I saw Xiah Junsu sing ‘Resignation’ and it was the best.
A lot of singers sang my song but out of them all, it stood out the most and was sung very well.
-Big Mama-

-I sang a Goose’s Dream with Yongwong Jaejoong and he sang it the best.
He is an idol singer, so I thought he could not sing well because he is just good looking and dances well but he sings better than me.
-Insooni-

I think I would have really liked it if i was a DBSK member.
They are an unbelievably amazing group.
-Kim Gun Mo-

-When they are singing their songs, and in their divided parts, they know exactly how to sing their part in order to complete the song. They are perfectly divided well.
-Music Critic Jung Byung Gi-

Unless you are a fan who buys an album and listens to the whole thing, you do not realize how Yongwoong Jaejoong can sing octaves without effort, how much density Xiah Junsu has in his voice, and how great of a song ‘One’ is.
-Triple Crown Kang Myung Suk-

Their appearances are needed to capture attention.
That is the only way the dying music industry might be vitalized.
In that sense, there must be a lot of teams like DBSK in the industry. I’m not talking about just idol singers.
Groups like DBSK who can powerfully capture the mass audience’s attention is needed to revitalize the music industry.
-Tony An-

-Looking at junior singers these days, there are a lot of good looking juniors.
Out of all of them, I think DBSK is the best.
They seem to be fully prepared on stage.
-Singer Kim Dong Wan (Shinhwa)-

When looking at DBSK, I get the feeling that they are skilled.
Compared to before, they are so much better skill-wise.
Despite their skills, people have preconceptions, which is a problem and on stage their charisma is excellent.
They have other charms as well so there is a lot to be enviable about.
-Singer Evan-

DBSK is too good to remain as idol singers.
They can go further, as musicians to do well.
SM doesn’t just have idol singers.
Of the existing idols, they are the most skilled group.
As for Xiah Junsu and Youngwoong Jaejoong,
they can be called the best singers in the music industry without comparison.
DBSK is really a great group.
-Composer KENZI-

Choikang Changmin’s voice is very average.
But at times, the average excels many singers’ voices.
-Papa Nia-

(On Junsu) He takes care of everything about me before going on stage.
I think he is great and has a pure soul.
-Singer Jang Ri In-

-We feel envious and proud that DBSK succeeded in Japan.
-Singer Super Junior-

DBSK were candidates with us.
At first, we thought “what do we do~” “we are nothing~” when we were against DBSK
But when we saw DBSK cheering for us too, we felt the love at once between us singers.
Really, we felt very very thankful.
-Singer Tablo (Epik High)-

-It can’t be said that DBSK is the best vocalist in Korea.
However, it is undeniable that it is hard to see a group able to make a beautiful harmony with just five members’ voice.
This shows the possibility of a vocal group, not just celebrity like idol group.
This is the idol group after evolution in the 21st century.
-m.net 21c Artist-

I was impressed with DBSK when I saw them performing at the Great Hall of the People in China on July 2004.
It was a shock to see Chinese fans sending such passionate cheers. I feel pride that I am promoting Korean mass culture in foreign countries. I want to invite DBSK as models for fashion shows abroad. They have clear souls and pure qualities.
-Desinger Andre Kim-

Out of the singers that have sang my song, they have succeeded the most.
And they are also the first singers who fit my song so well.
-Composer Park Chang Hyun (DBSK 1st Single ‘Hug’ Composer)-

I like DBSK.
It is bit of an inconvenience that their chances to sing live are limited because of their strong choreography, but when I see their performance, I am drawn in.
-Singer Baek Ji Young-

-They are good young men.
In such positions, they greet well and are social.
They are always smiling and never shows fatigue.
Honestly, they are not very fluent in Japanese.
Even if they understand well, their speaking is not perfect.
Despite that, they really tried hard to do their interview in Japanese.
For words they didn’t know, the asked their managers before hand and took note of it.
They tried their best to speak well and I could feel their efforts.
They really try their best.
-DJ 古家正亨- (this is the Japanese character of his name. His last name is Masayuki (?) but I can’t really type his first name. >< Maybe someone who knows Japanese better can do his name?)

Even in the hard market right now, their influence in the music industry should be recognized.
The music industry is going through hardships and in this situation, there was almost no singers who sold a lot of albums.
But DBSK is unchallenged and has the powers to sell their albums.
They do have a lot of teenage fans but recently, I think their fanbase has broadened to 20-30s.
As the teenage fans get older, the average age of their fan base will broaden.
Idol groups definitely go through evolution.
They have both singing and dancing skills so they need to be recognized.
-Singer Na Sung Ho (Noel)-

It is a good feeling that the younger generation singers are singing my songs.
If DBSK remakes my song, it will have a different color.
Even though the color will be different, I think they will be able to make a better song.
-Singer Jo Kwan Woo-

DBSK is just before perfection.
They are the hottest trend going through various rumors and is a popular culture icon. When they become this era’s new classic, we want to meet them again, more fashionable and fabulous. It won’t be too late to complete the ‘work’ then.
-In December issue of VOGUE-

I listen to music.
I like rock ballad and hip hop.
As for singers, DBSK is the best.
-Volleyball athlete Kim Yeon Kyung-

-The reason why there is so much interest in DBSK is because unlike most of the kid groups, their singing abilities are excellent. All five members sing and unexpectedly, presents a good harmony. It breaks the bias that boy bands cannot sing. This is what separates other idol groups and DBSK.
-Music critic Im Jin Mo-

Just at first glance, I could feel the strong charisma that made me realize why they become the millennium star.
The composition of the five members, like the process of moving one picture, cannot be complete without the 5 members.
I was surprised that the 5 stars, placed as one pleases, created such harmony.
Truthfully, taking a group photograph is exponentially hard as the number of people.
So during group photography, positions change and styles are frequently switched.
But in DBSK’s case, an impressive style was expressed just by them randomly standing and sitting there.
-Photographer Jo Se Hyun-

You should judge them by how much they love music and stop focusing on “lip synching idol stars winning awards.”
And this year was the year that DBSK had to win.
Why keep denying it and how many albums did they sell… 300,000?
Even when the music industry is reduced, they sold 300,000. That is praiseworthy.
Do you know anybody who we call artists that sell over 50,000?
And does the broadcasting stations buy those albums for the artists?
Did the broadcasting station buy 300,000 copies of DBSK’s album?
Then, did you buy the albums of artists that you cheer for?
Starting from there, saying “how does idol stars who lip sync win an award” is useless.
Do you think that these days, just like those old days, the idols run away by lip sync because they can’t sing?
Just open the microphone and tell them to sing. They do well, very~
-Shin Hae Chul-

Before you curse on the young singers who dance and roll around, think about how many hours they invest into practicing to perform to the mass.
Just like how natural-born talented artists dig only one hole, they sweat in order to improve themselves.
Therefore, the older generation singers are wretched for criticizing these singers for their music perfection.
If they receive reverence as a musician for these criticisms, the value of it is nothing.
-From Bestiz, who.au-

-The rumors that the five members were supposed to lead five different teams due to their excellent skills, but due to financial pressure, was put in one team, doesn’t seem totally false.
The harmony that the five sing are solid and constant.
-IZM-

Thank you DBSK fans.
DBSK and Kang Ho Dong is close, it’s the truth really.
-Kang Ho Dong-

I feel envious of DBSK for their teenage fans.
When DBSK performance ends, the teenage fans follow their van or wait in front of their company.
But when I am done with a performance, my fans say, “Ji Hoon, great job.”
Park Jin Young hyung once asked me why I don’t have teenage fans.
-Singer Rain-

These kids were wasted. They are all worthy to be solo artists, but formed a group.
-SM Director Lee Soo Man-

Even though it must be hard because so many people recognize them, they always come to greet when we are on the same program. It must be hard to just move around. When they reach the top, at least one hardship comes, but I hope they will get over it well.
-Singer The One-

Source: Soompi
Source: KPop JJang (Minsarang @ wordpress)

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Picture of you (After Glow) ~ 노을..바라보다 August 16, 2009

Posted by tokkilin in Melodies of Life.
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In the middle of the strain between DBSK and SME, at last I found a little break.  DBSK’s new MV : Picture of You (or if I translate it becomes Look.. at the glow), gives a refreshing feeling this Summer. I love how they shoot the MV. The blue sky and water makes me wants to jump inside my LCD Panel and enjoy the summer time with them.

Below is the Lyris for Picture of You.

노을..바라보다 (Picture Of You)
동방신기 (東方神起)
The Fourth Album MIROTIC

저녁 노을이 지고 하나 둘 켜지는
불빛을 따라서 너에게 가고 있어
차가운 바람에 움추린 네 어깨가
내려 앉기 전에 내가 감싸줄께

날 봐 love you 바보같은 그대
그 모든 것이 나에겐 다 소중한걸

그대 위로 떠오른 태양만큼
눈이 부신 이 가슴으로
기다려준 시간만큼 널 내가 지켜줄께
기도 한 모든 꿈이 간절한
내 향기로 남아 우릴 향해 있어
More than the air I breathe

밝아올 아침에 함께 웃을 수 있는
나의 바램들이
이뤄질 수 있도록
내가 기다릴께 네 손 놓지 않을께
눈물 뿐이라 해도 내가 닦아줄께

끝이 보이지 않아도
아무리 험한 길일지라도 약속할께
my my my my please be mine

그대 위로 떠오른 태양만큼
눈이 부신 이 가슴으로
기다려준 시간만큼 널 내가 지켜줄께
기도한 모든 꿈이 간절한
내 향기로 남아 우릴 향해 있어
More than the air I breathe

사랑한다고 이젠 그대 뿐이라고
저 하늘 끝에 소리쳐 전하고 싶어

love you 터질듯한 가슴이
그대를 부르고 있어

아픈 시련이 우릴 찾아 와도
그 아픔에 목 메어와도
다 어루만져 줄 수 있는
내가 더 사랑할께

투명한 웃음꽃이 반짝이는 저 별들처럼
아름답게
널 너만을 비춰줄께

그대 위로 떠오른 태양만큼
눈이 부신 이 가슴으로
기다려준 시간만큼 널 내가 지켜줄께
사랑해
널 사랑해
세상가장 눈부신 그대 꿈결같은 이맘
More than the air I breathe.

~.::Translation::.~

After the sun set,
Hence the light darkens one by one
I’m going towards you
Before the rush of cold wind begins to bud on your shoulder
I’m going to protect you.

(Every)day (to) love you
Foolish like you
It’s all that I cherish
(and) It’s something precious for me

As the sun rise above you
Looking through your heart
I’ll give you plenty of time to wait
Earnest prayer for all the dreams
It remains inside us as a fragrance
More than the air I breathe

I hope, we can smile together (every) morning until dawn.
Hopefully it will come true
I will never let your hands go
I will wait for you
I just want to wipe out your tears

Even if (we’re) not able to see the end
Even if the road is rough, It doesn’t matter
I’ll promise
Ma Ma Ma Mine
Please be mine

As the sun rise above you
Looking through your heart
I’ll give you plenty of time to wait
Earnest prayer for all the dreams
It remains inside us as a fragrance
More than the air I breathe

I love you
You’re the only one
I really want to say it out loud towards the sky

Love you
(with) an overflowing heart
It’s calling out to you

(Even if) we’re going to go through painful trials
Even if we can’t breath anymore
There’s a possibility of loving you more

The flowers’ bright smile were like the shining stars
So Beautifully
I’ll shine only for you

As the sun rise above you
Looking through your heart
I’ll give you plenty of time to wait
I love you
I love you
You’re the most beautiful in this world
This dream-like heart
More than the air I breathe

*please don’t take out this translation without my permission ^^ thanks

I found the lyrics were pretty hard to be translated as there are a lot of synonym and phrases. Tried very hard to make sense of every single line. As usual, the lyrics are romantically and emotionally written. It derives every hidden feelings inside one’s heart. It has the same emotion as Stand By U, but taking a different approach from Stand By U. Stand By U uses a lot of everyday words while Look at this Sunset use a lot of beautiful phrases. The best thing from this song were the scenes which brought the lyrics alive and I’m really loving it.

Apparently Xiah Junsu wrote the lyrics of this song and I want to praise him for using such beautiful phrases in the song. ^^

laf_lookathelgow

Pop Goes Korea August 10, 2009

Posted by tokkilin in Happening !.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Interesting article that I read at Minsarang. I think the writer of this article summed it really well.

—————————————————–

There is a fairly decent overview of the contract situation faced by entertainers in Korea over in today’s Joongang Ilbo. Using the lawsuit Dong Bang Shin Gi (aka TVXQ) has filed against SM Entertainment as the peg, the article looks at the long and onerous contracts that most entertainers in Korea have to have, especially singers.
As you have probably heard, on July 31, three members of DBSG filed suit against its management company, claiming their contract is unfair. DBSG is one of SME’s most popular bands these days, and is doing especially well in Japan, where they recently played two nights in the Tokyo Dome. The band’s complaints were mostly the same things we have heard over and over again in Korea over the years — their contracts are too long, their contracts do not pay enough, the penalties for leaving the management company are too severe, the performers do not have enough control over their own careers, the performers are not paid enough (probably the biggest issue).
I do not want to get into the details of DBSG’s particular case. That is something for the Korean courts to decide. But I do think that cases like these bring up a much bigger point.
Arguing about the “fairness” of idol contracts — how many years should they be, how much should the performers be paid, etc. — misses the big point. I am tempted to call it “Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic,” but that is probably a bit harsh — after all, the Korean entertainment industry is showing few signs of sinking any time soon. It is more like arguing about what kind of pain reliever is best for a critically ill patient. That is, such talk deals mostly with the symptoms of the disease and misses out entirely on the causes.
Korea’s pop idols are not paid poorly and overcontrolled because the management companies are evil. The management companies are just doing their best within the current system. And judging by the long list of big stars who have emerged from Korea’s music system over the years, they are apparently doing something right.
The trouble is, Korea’s music system itself, which is very resource-intensive and very top-down (like far too much of the Korean economy in general). Because the burden of developing stars and marketing them falls solely on the music companies, it takes a huge amount of money to create new stars. The biggest companies have over 50 performers (mostly young people) in training at a time, taking dance classes, singing classes, learning how to act like stars, and usually living in company housing, eating food paid for by the company, being driven everywhere by the company. All this adds up pretty quickly.
So when a band gets paid pennies for an album sale, you have to remember that the performers spent years in training before they earned any money, and that for each performing earning money and doing well, there are many other aspiring young people who never make it, but who nonetheless burn through company money. How many hopefuls does each company have for each performer who makes it? Five? Ten? I do not know, but it is big enough.
The real problem (as I argue in my book, POP GOES KOREA) is the lack of diversity in Korea’s music business, in particular the lack of a live music scene. In most countries, live music is the core, the heart. Young people pick up instruments and play in their parents’ garages or wherever. Some get good enough to play in clubs. A few get good enough to put out albums (or MP3s or whatever). A very few make money. Basically, the cost and inconvenience of developing acts falls on the wanna-be performers. By the time they get to the music labels, a lot of the winnowing and development has already happened.
Even in Japan, where J-Pop is big business, you have J-Rock and jazz and a fairly wide range of choices. And choices drive competition, when reduces the stranglehold that music companies otherwise might have.
Strangely, Korea used to have a great live music scene. It was a long time ago, but back in the 1960s and 1970s, most of the big performers had a live music background, whether playing on the US Army bases around the country or playing the live clubs of Myeong-dong or wherever. Even in the 1980s, as Korea’s music scene turned more poppy and synthesized (and saccharine), there was still a live foundation most of the acts had — Cho Yong-pil, Shin Hae-chul, Jo Sung-mo, and the like were all live performers first.
But in the early 1990s, the scene began to change, especially with the coming of Seo Taiji. Even though Seo Taiji wrote his songs (well, mostly) and performed them himself, he typically performed them prerecorded, with The Boyz dancing away furiously beside him. It was the formula that Korea’s music companies would use to create their boy- and girl-bands. And soon the manufactured dance bands came fast and furious. Within a few years, they dominated the TV music shows, Mnet, and the like.
For a generation of young people in Korea, being a “star” has meant being a dancer first, a pretty face and perhaps a singer. Very few young people pick up a guitar with dreams of making it big. Sure, plenty of kids play music, for any number of reasons. But few harbor serious dreams of using the guitar (or whatever) to become rock stars.
And as long as the live music scene is not a viable route to becoming a star in Korea, the local music scene will remain dominated by the music labels and manufactured pop music.
The funny thing is, for all the talk of the dominating power of the music companies, the truth is they are actually very weak. They are merely responding to the economics they are given. If young people were to choose different music, the whole system would fall apart. If playing in Hongdae became a route to fame and fortune, then the system would have to change. But as long as Korean young people show no interest in anything but K-Pop, all they will be given is K-Pop. And the system will not really change.
Source: Mark Russell@Kpop Wars

There is a fairly decent overview of the contract situation faced by entertainers in Korea over in today’s Joongang Ilbo. Using the lawsuit Dong Bang Shin Gi (aka TVXQ) has filed against SM Entertainment as the peg, the article looks at the long and onerous contracts that most entertainers in Korea have to have, especially singers.

As you have probably heard, on July 31, three members of DBSG filed suit against its management company, claiming their contract is unfair. DBSG is one of SME’s most popular bands these days, and is doing especially well in Japan, where they recently played two nights in the Tokyo Dome. The band’s complaints were mostly the same things we have heard over and over again in Korea over the years — their contracts are too long, their contracts do not pay enough, the penalties for leaving the management company are too severe, the performers do not have enough control over their own careers, the performers are not paid enough (probably the biggest issue).

I do not want to get into the details of DBSG’s particular case. That is something for the Korean courts to decide. But I do think that cases like these bring up a much bigger point.

Arguing about the “fairness” of idol contracts — how many years should they be, how much should the performers be paid, etc. — misses the big point. I am tempted to call it “Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic,” but that is probably a bit harsh — after all, the Korean entertainment industry is showing few signs of sinking any time soon. It is more like arguing about what kind of pain reliever is best for a critically ill patient. That is, such talk deals mostly with the symptoms of the disease and misses out entirely on the causes.

Korea’s pop idols are not paid poorly and overcontrolled because the management companies are evil. The management companies are just doing their best within the current system. And judging by the long list of big stars who have emerged from Korea’s music system over the years, they are apparently doing something right.

The trouble is, Korea’s music system itself, which is very resource-intensive and very top-down (like far too much of the Korean economy in general). Because the burden of developing stars and marketing them falls solely on the music companies, it takes a huge amount of money to create new stars. The biggest companies have over 50 performers (mostly young people) in training at a time, taking dance classes, singing classes, learning how to act like stars, and usually living in company housing, eating food paid for by the company, being driven everywhere by the company. All this adds up pretty quickly.

So when a band gets paid pennies for an album sale, you have to remember that the performers spent years in training before they earned any money, and that for each performing earning money and doing well, there are many other aspiring young people who never make it, but who nonetheless burn through company money. How many hopefuls does each company have for each performer who makes it? Five? Ten? I do not know, but it is big enough.

The real problem (as I argue in my book, POP GOES KOREA) is the lack of diversity in Korea’s music business, in particular the lack of a live music scene. In most countries, live music is the core, the heart. Young people pick up instruments and play in their parents’ garages or wherever. Some get good enough to play in clubs. A few get good enough to put out albums (or MP3s or whatever). A very few make money. Basically, the cost and inconvenience of developing acts falls on the wanna-be performers. By the time they get to the music labels, a lot of the winnowing and development has already happened.

Even in Japan, where J-Pop is big business, you have J-Rock and jazz and a fairly wide range of choices. And choices drive competition, when reduces the stranglehold that music companies otherwise might have.

Strangely, Korea used to have a great live music scene. It was a long time ago, but back in the 1960s and 1970s, most of the big performers had a live music background, whether playing on the US Army bases around the country or playing the live clubs of Myeong-dong or wherever. Even in the 1980s, as Korea’s music scene turned more poppy and synthesized (and saccharine), there was still a live foundation most of the acts had — Cho Yong-pil, Shin Hae-chul, Jo Sung-mo, and the like were all live performers first.

But in the early 1990s, the scene began to change, especially with the coming of Seo Taiji. Even though Seo Taiji wrote his songs (well, mostly) and performed them himself, he typically performed them prerecorded, with The Boyz dancing away furiously beside him. It was the formula that Korea’s music companies would use to create their boy- and girl-bands. And soon the manufactured dance bands came fast and furious. Within a few years, they dominated the TV music shows, Mnet, and the like.

For a generation of young people in Korea, being a “star” has meant being a dancer first, a pretty face and perhaps a singer. Very few young people pick up a guitar with dreams of making it big. Sure, plenty of kids play music, for any number of reasons. But few harbor serious dreams of using the guitar (or whatever) to become rock stars.

And as long as the live music scene is not a viable route to becoming a star in Korea, the local music scene will remain dominated by the music labels and manufactured pop music.

The funny thing is, for all the talk of the dominating power of the music companies, the truth is they are actually very weak. They are merely responding to the economics they are given. If young people were to choose different music, the whole system would fall apart. If playing in Hongdae became a route to fame and fortune, then the system would have to change. But as long as Korean young people show no interest in anything but K-Pop, all they will be given is K-Pop. And the system will not really change.

Source: Mark Russell@Kpop Wars

—————————————————–

Credits: Minsarang.wordpress.com

TVXQ – Dispute Recap August 7, 2009

Posted by tokkilin in Happening !.
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The never ending dispute.. I wonder when it’s going to be resolved. I really want to see TVXQ again and no more drama ! SM Entertainment postponed their SM Town 2009 which caused a stir between the fans. For those of you who haven’t try to read any news and want to follow up, you can read these excerpt from Sookyeong. She did the recap nicely. Kudos to Sookyeong to do this recap:

Updates on the case of the lawsuit against SM Entertainment.

  1. The situation, the truth and distortions (http://sookyeong.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/dong-bang-shin-ki-the-situation-the-truth-and-distortion/)
  2. SM’s refutation against their cast (http://sookyeong.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/sm-entertainments-refutation-they-made-11b-krw-after-debut/)
  3. The 3 members’ official stand about their case against SM (http://sookyeong.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/dbsk-hero-micky-and-xiahs-official-stand-about-their-discord-with-sm/)
  4. The 3 members apply for retractile effect on 31st July (http://sookyeong.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/dong-bang-shin-ki-xiah-micky-and-hero-for-a-lawsuit-against-sm/)

KPop in Time Magazine August 6, 2009

Posted by tokkilin in Happening !.
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Very very interesting. I came accross this article and find it a bit controversial.

Korean Pop – Flying Too High?

Indeed, with competition in the industry growing fierce, buying exposure for your stable of stars is becoming almost a necessity. The success rate for new acts is low. Perhaps one in 20 make it, but producers have investments to protect. By the time budding superstars are ready to go public, at least $50,000 may have been sunk into their grooming. To have any chance of a return, artists need exposure on radio shows and in the tabloids that cover the entertainment industry. Most important are appearances on the 20 or so entertainment shows run by the big three television networks—MBC, KBS and SBS—and on a few prime cable music-video shows. The exposure can cost more than $350,000, most of it for television. Producers consider it a bargain—the same amount spent would buy just 10 minutes of prime commercial advertising time, barely enough for three songs.

Getting plugged into the TV circuit is key to pushing your wannabe heartthrobs up the music charts. Run by TV stations, the charts provide a much-watched yardstick to gauge band popularity. But some say the charts are slanted in favor of the stars who make the most small-screen appearances—in Korea, rankings are only partly based on CD sales and fan voting. That makes TV appearances all the more important. “Bribing is marketing,” says an industry official. “With the least amount of money, you get the most effect.”

There is growing sentiment that the music business needs to clean up its act. Money has poured into the market, and too many production companies chase a finite pool of fresh talent. The top idols are still selling a million-plus CDs each time out, but average sales for second-tier artists have slipped by at least 20%. MP3 copying over the Internet is taking a big bite out of total sales, which slipped 9% last year.

Shady business customs could stifle development over the long term, says Lee Sang Ho, the television journalist who produced the MBC K-pop exposé. While other Korean industries have been bringing their business practices up to global standards, the pop music industry remains stuck in the past, Lee says. “The main problem is a lack of transparency. This has to be said for the betterment of the Korean mass music industry.” (Ironically, prosecutors have charged a former MBC producer with bribe taking.)

The probe, which has been ongoing for at least three months, seems likely to widen. Kim, the lead agent on the case, says investigators are now looking at the possibility that SM Entertainment violated laws governing the stock market. They suspect that SM Entertainment used its stock exchange listing to curry favor with TV executives, in some cases giving them free shares prior to SM Entertainment’s IPO in April 2000. On the books, the handouts were recorded as sales but the money was never collected, Kim alleges. The company released a statement saying it followed “normal procedures” in its IPO and pointedly denied an allegation that it distributed shares to the wife of a TV executive.

Lee, SM Entertainment’s boss, is in the U.S. until August on business, according to the company. Meanwhile, Kim says at least 10 more television producers and journalists covering the entertainment industry will be brought in for questioning this week. Some suspects are already in hiding or overseas, says Kim. But “we will not stop our investigation until we get to the truth and punish those responsible,” he says. “We are concerned [the investigation] could paralyze the show business industry, so we are going all out to expedite it.”

The stars themselves are just hoping this will all blow over soon. With their managers spending half the time answering questions from prosecutors, or hoping not to be the next one called in, it’s hard to keep a tune going. J.T.L.’s Jang says he’s not sure if the upheaval will really clean things up. “Once your expectations are too high then you can just get more disappointed,” he says. Fellow band member Lee Jae Won declines to discuss the investigation, saying it wouldn’t be wise for a pop star to bad-mouth the industry. “That’s like asking us to dig our own graves,” he says.

For high-profile boy bands like god, the scandal could taint what should be a heavenly ride to the top. If fans begin to doubt the legitimacy of their idols, the pact the industry’s producers seem to have made with capitalism’s darker forces could take the wind out of Asia’s most dynamic music scene. Even an act of god might not save K-pop.

—With reporting by Kim Yeoshin and Kim Yoo Seung/Seoul

With all of the things happening between TVXQ and SM Entertainment, KPop industry got the impact around the world. Good thing because KPop became well known, Bad thing because it’s well known for the bad stuff.