Blackpink and Got7

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. From bearing starvation to getting surgeries done, these Korean idols do everything to fit into the perfect persona of Korean beauty standards. Scroll down to continue reading about it!

  • 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.
K-pop boy band

K-pop groups start from the training of idol career. The description of their career is given below!

Their start as a trainee:

Trainees at the company's office

In South Korea, idol management companies are a big thing. Parents send their kids into these companies, so they can debut as a K-pop star one day. These kids have to follow the extremely tiring dance and vocal practice routines with substandard circumstances like getting very little food or getting bullied by the company or the seniors. They bear all this so that they can fulfill their dream of becoming a K-pop idol.

Trainees auditioning for K-pop idol

However, their debut is not guaranteed. Because the Korean industry is obsessed with perfectionism. They prefer idols who have pretty faces, flawless skins, skinny bodies, and have extremely flexible bones for performing in-humanely tiring dances. So, these young trainees practice dance all day and night with eating a bare minimum. A former K-pop trainee revealed,

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

Isn't it insane? 

K-pop trainees

The trainees are not even allowed to date and even go back to their homes. They remain in the company's training center until their contract lasts.

Doing this all for a future that is not even guaranteed is not what any human deserves. These unhealthy conditions sometimes lead to the trainees getting ill chronically and hence, their chance of debuting vanishes completely. It's shocking to hear!

After debut:

BTS dancing on stage

Debuting as a K-pop idol is a great deal. The idols are congratulated by everyone but things don't get better even after debuting. It's a downhill that keeps getting worse. Once they become a 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. 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. 

Blackpink at the red carpet

Also, some idols have to continue their strict diets along with jam-packed schedules, and thus some of them even faint on stages. Some idol groups don't have the freedom to plan their albums and write their own songs.

The suffering doesn't end here. Fans who have a huge impact on the careers of these idols can add to this misery too. There is a group of fans called 'Sasaengs' who stalk these idols everywhere. They follow them in their hotel rooms, flights, and even to personal schedules.

Twice on shoot

Not only this, these so-called fans send death threats to their idols just because they are not living their lives according to their expectations. It is so wrong that it sounds unreal but, unfortunately, it is the biggest truth in the K-pop industry.

EXO in all-black

Moreover, some entertainment companies pay very less or almost no money to the idols. They say that they need to pay the debt of idols from trainee years. This way they are exploited not only by the companies but by the public too.


GOT7 on shoot

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. Jonghyun from SHINee and Sulli from f(x) are the idols who despite being successful in their careers took their lives. Also, some groups prefer disbanding instead of continuing the career under such conditions.

These events demand the South Korean Entertainment companies and people to treat these trainees and idols in a better way. They should consider them human beings and not just money-generating machines. Because this is unacceptable!

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. 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 and check out the life of a K-pop trainee!

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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