BTS members crying and supporting each other BTS members crying and supporting each other

The dark side of K-pop!

Koreans have taken over the music industries all around the world. With its rich and diverse content, it has transcended the language barriers but, at a cost! This glamorous world of K-pop is not that bright as it looks. There is another side of it where the idols are not stars but almost slaves of their management companies. Watch the video below! 

  • There are more than 100 K-pop groups in South Korea.
  • This genre of music started in 1992 as the first K-pop group, Seo Taiji was formed.
  • Bands like BTS, EXO, Blackpink, are from 3rd generation of K-pop and currently, 4th generation is going on with groups like TXT, Aespa, etc.

Their start as a trainee:

Trainees auditioning for K-pop idol

In South Korea, idol management companies employ thousands of trainees. Parents send their kids into these companies, so they can debut as a K-pop star one day. These kids have to follow the exhausting dancing and singing practice routines.

However, their debut is not guaranteed. It is because the Korean industry is obsessed with perfectionism. They prefer idols who have pretty faces, flawless skins and skinny bodies.

Trainees at K-Pop management offices

In order to fit in this criteria, they follow strict diet routines that sometimes is not even healthy! An anonymous trainee revealed

"I used to consume only 300 calories a day with the dance practices"

Isn't that insane? 

K-pop trainees

K-pop trainees

The trainees are not even allowed to date and sometimes go back to their homes. They remain in the company's training center until their contract lasts. These unhealthy conditions sometimes lead to the trainees getting chronically ill and psychological damaged.

After their debut

BTS for their 'Butter' music video

Debuting as a K-pop idol is a great deal. But once they become the K-pop idol, they are not allowed to wear clothes of their style, produce music of their own taste, and even meet people of their choice.

Blackpink at the red carpet

There is a proper dating ban that these companies put on the idols, and under that they cannot even be friends with idols of the opposite gender. In short, they live a life that is not completely under their own control. 


Twice on shoot

If they reach stardom, their management companies get up to 90% of their revenue as a compensation for the money invested in them!

Kpop fans waiting for their idols to come out from the airport

The suffering doesn't end here. Fans can be also extreme: There is a group of fans called 'Sasaengs' who stalk idols everywhere. They follow them to their hotel rooms, flights, and even to their family homes!


BTS members supporting each other

This treatment with the idols and the trainees have led to some really unfortunate events like idols committing suicide to get out of this toxic culture e.g, Jonghyun from SHINee and Sulli from f(x).

GOT7 on shoot

With K-Pop stars getting more attention worldwide, management companies are starting to improve their conditions. Hopefully, the success of BTS and Blackpink around the world is the first step into improving our idol's lives!

BTS at the Press Conference

Truly, there are some exceptions to this as some companies like Big Hit Entertainment does give some sort of freedom to their idols. For example, BTS, the famous band under the label, participate in the music they make by writing the lyrics, deciding the choreography, and producing the compositions.

EXO photoshoot

We wish that all companies give freedom to their idols and treat them in a much better way by considering their needs. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Estefanía Martínez

K-pop enthusiast, you too? Well, hello there, best friend! Follow me for all the awesome updates in the k-world.+ info

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