This is why I’m paranoid!

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This is why I’m so particular about what I put on BlockB.com’s Schedule page. These people are out there….

Just tallying this up

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So, it’s just May? And so far P.O has been cast or re-cast as a recurring member of five different variety shows–well, one’s just a pilot, but considering how it did, I’d be surprised if it didn’t get picked up. (Most recently he’s become an MC for The Show–he did that five years ago, but the difference this time is that his label isn’t going to steal his salary….) Plus he’s been cast on a drama, and his theater group is doing another show!

Not bad!

So, there’s that, there’s Zico on the upcoming season of Show Me the Money, Park Kyung on Problematic Men (which is doing so well that the network is sending the cast to Thailand for what Google Translate calls “a reward vacation”–as in, it’s not being filmed for an episode, it’s an actual vacay), and Jaehyo continuing to prove that his hobbies are surprisingly bankable on Game Show. Plus Jaehyo and B-Bomb filmed some kind of travel show together–I’m doubly excited about that because it puts things one step closer to my dream Block B edition of The Amazing Race (which, for the record, would be combined with a world concert tour)!

Anyway, I’m glad to see all that. It’s another income stream, shows makes lucrative endorsements more likely, and…it’s about time, really. This is a group that first made its mark with a television show, and their shows have always done well (and been very funny) despite all the bullshit.

I can’t say I have too much sympathy

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So, I updated my earlier post about “That Song that Sounds a Whole Lot Like ‘Toy’,” but I wanted to do a new post about it because it’s a little interesting.

According to this (via @Veryhensemguy)

The guy bought the beat here thinking it was legit. Where he loses my sympathy is the whole bit where he’s not taking it down now that he knows he was scammed, I guess because he’s hoping to get cursed at in Korean on all his social media for the rest of time.

So what did he buy? This:

It was put up on YouTube FOUR DAYS after this song!

Keep in mind that the top song is ALSO being sold commercially!

So, you know, if you took the time to thumb down or report “That Song that Sounds a Whole Lot Like ‘Toy'” on YouTube, be sure to take a minute to do the same for “That Other Song that Also Sounds a Whole Lot Like ‘Toy'”–especially because they’re probably doing this to a LOT of artists….

ETA: I’m putting this here in hopes it shows up when people Google this asshole–RYANSAGE.NET IS A SCAM. Read his disclaimer: You will pay Mr. Ryan Sage hundreds of dollars for music he does not own and you cannot use. MUSICIAN BEWARE!

And just because it IS in English….

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Asian Junkie did a good piece that basically contrasts significant news about BTS (selling 200,000+ CDs in Japan) vs. what fans are getting their panties in a twist about (a Billboard award that fans vote for).

I’d like to extend that point by noting that BTS’ much-heralded popularity in the U.S. market resulted in them selling: 24,000 copies of Wings.

I’m not knocking that accomplishment–at the moment, BTS is doing far better than any other K-Pop group in the United States. (I also think it’s fine to hype this kind of thing up–nothing succeeds like success!)

But the important words there are “better than any other K-Pop group in the United States.”

K-Pop groups don’t do well here–that’s simply the fact of the matter. Twenty-odd thousand copies not only means that United States is not a big market for BTS, it also means that BTS is not a big group in the United States. They do fine, and compared to most other K-Pop groups, who sell only a few thousand copies at best, they’re doing really well. But nothing BTS has done has a been a bona-fide hit here the way, say, Psy’s “Gangnam Style” was.

Or even a minor hit. Let’s put it this way–just to get a gold record in the United States, you have to sell 500,000 copies. Not 24,000 copies; 500,000 copies.

This is why I’m always happy to see Block B get stories outside the K-Pop press. There’s a way bigger (like, waaaaaay bigger) Western market out there–and no K-Pop group has really plugged into it.

Just because it’s not in English….

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A few weeks ago (God, this is a timely blog) a hardworking BBC translated some Korean netizen comments onto OneHallyu, and one of OneHallyu’s patented anti-Block B fuckwits got annoyed by it. (Yes, because someone did a translation, which wasn’t the approved hate. I would like to take this moment to not only thank that BBC for her hard work, but also to commend her for her willingness to put up with the idiots on that site. She is a better person than I am.) Anyway, another BBC made an eminently logical reply, pointing out that a lot of positive news about Block B never makes it into English.

And that’s very true.

I don’t think that’s because all the English-language K-Pop sites have this terrible bias against Block B or anything–but that filter against translating positive stories does exist, and it exists all the time. Even if what’s going on isn’t egregious, in general the English-language K-Pop sites do focus on the negative, simply because they do fewer stories and tend to pick out the really juicy ones.

I think this creates the impression that the Korean K-Pop press is hugely focused on scandals–which it kind of isn’t, for reasons I’ll get to in a moment. And things can be really confusing for English-language observers, because it seems to us like one minute, say, IU is a vicious pedophile who everyone hates, and the next she’s a painted saint who everyone loves and who is being unfairly targeted by the evil LABOUM, who everyone hates. This time.

But that’s because we see only what comes through the filter.

What isn’t there?

A whole lotta stuff!

This is a screencap of the results of a Google News search for “피오”–these are most (not all) of the results from May 5, and these stories focus P.O’s appearance on the pilot of Secret Variety Institute.

Here’s the thing: Very few of these stories are what I’d consider actual news. A handful of them mention the show’s ratings (which were pretty good–yay!), but the vast majority of them are the Korean equivalent of those stories you see in American news outlets that say, “Saturday Night Live did a skit about Kellyanne Conway!” and then the story itself just tells you that…Saturday Night Live did a skit about Kellyanne Conway. Like, yeah, the skit was funny, and I don’t like the Trump administration any more than anybody else does, but writing a story about what was on television last night is not exactly what I consider serious reporting.

You can really see what I mean in this case because AllKpop actually did two English-language versions of these articles. Their titles are, “Block B’s P.O Confesses He Is Lonely These Days” and “Block B’s P.O Reveals Whom He Would Date on ‘Secret Variety Institute’.” Neither article tells you anything you wouldn’t learn by actually watching the show (which I totally recommend–I saw it here but there are also English subs here now), and both focus on P.O’s dating life (of course).

There were dozens of these kinds of articles in the Korean K-Pop press. Dozens! For just one day!

This is what English-speaking K-Pop fans don’t see, and this is what makes what might seem like a big scandal here just a blip in Korea. When P.O wore clothing with Japanese writing on it to a Korean Independence Day festival, those stories were promptly buried by stories about Zico appearing in a photograph with Hyorin (THEY MUST BE DATING!!!!) and Paloalto (…we’ll just crop him out). When Zico dissed his haters while he was dating Seolhyun, it got pretty much equal coverage with an Instagram photo Jun Hyun Moo posted of him standing with Zico and Park Kyung (…but are they dating?).

That was in the Korean K-Pop press.

The fact of the matter is that the Korean K-Pop press is massively lazy. (I know I keep saying that, but that’s because it’s always true.) The laziness makes it easy to plant negative stories, of course, but it also results in a ton of positive stories–if you’re going to just write about what you saw on television and on celebrities’ social media without doing any additional reporting, then of course you’re going to produce a huge number of stories that read, “P.O was so cute on that show! He smiled and laughed!” or “Zico looked so fashionable in that photograph! He wore a sweater!” Pretty much the only twist that you can put on these things is to speculate about dating, so that’s what they do. Hey, it beats reporting!

For the most part, the English-language sites don’t translate more than a fraction of these kinds of stories, and I don’t really blame them–these stories are so repetitive and so trivial, and there is just a blizzard of them. They are the reason why, years ago, I turned off my Google News alert for “블락비,” and I’ve never, ever been tempted to turn it back on.

But it also means that, yes, what you see in English isn’t truly representative of what’s appearing in the Korean press. It’s skewed towards the negative and away from the positive, most definitely. Likewise the volume of stories is far less. If all that truly bothers you, I’d suggest creating a Google News alert for “블락비” (or the Hangul name of any other Korean group or celebrity)–your desire for a flood of positive stories will soon be satiated.