Tools vs. results


There’s still some agita out there about the Seven Seasons/KQ Entertainment thing, which is kind of interesting to me because the whole thing doesn’t really set off any alarm bells for me, like, at all.

I think one of the reasons people get worried about this kind of thing is because they kind of confuse a tool with an actual result.

For example, let’s say I need to attach two pieces of wood together with a nail. I could drive the nail into the wood with:

  1. a hammer
  2. a nail gun
  3. a rock (or anything hard and handy)

Which is best? Well, it depends. If I need to get that nail in right now and no hammer is handy, it’s probably best for me to use the rock that’s right there. If I need to drive in about a thousand nails, then for God’s sake, give me the nail gun.

Most people use a hammer, and there’s nothing wrong with using a hammer–hammers are great! But the nail can be driven in just as well without one, and in some case, a hammer is not the right tool at all.

If you insist that only a hammer be used and get very upset that a hammer is not evident, then you are confusing the tool (a hammer) with the desired result (two pieces of wood fixed together with a nail).

If you further insist that the only way to attach two pieces of wood together is with a nail, driven in by a hammer, then virtually all methods of construction, ancient and modern, are going to upset you horribly.

All right. Now let’s apply this logic to business.

Here’s a tool! It’s called:

Seven Seasons

What does the Seven Seasons tool do? It manages and promotes Block B.

Why do people like the Seven Seasons tool? Because it is specific to Block B and has done a good job since its inception.

Why are people upset? Because the Seven Seasons tool is becoming much less visible. Indeed, its social media accounts are being replaced by KQ Entertainment, a tool that is not specific to Block B.

Why am I not upset? A few reasons.

  1. Block B is not upset (and it’s not like they don’t complain when they’re unhappy).
  2. It’s the same damned people.
  3. Block B has contracts.
  4. Even if KQ Entertainment starts managing and promoting other talent, Block B will be their main earner for the foreseeable future, and the smart thing is to take care of your main earners. (I know Stardom didn’t, but Stardom was really, really bad.)
  5. It makes perfect sense to put Seven Seasons in the background if they are now merely Block B’s management subsidiary. There is no Earthly reason to promote a management subsidiary–you might as well start promoting the accounting team or the insurance underwriters.

In short, I don’t see why I should care that a tool is being moved into the background. There’s no reason for it to be in the spotlight, and it could disappear altogether as long as the job is still being done.

What I think people are interpreting as being kind of nefarious is the fact that KQ Entertainment is obviously going to start using Block B as a tool to promote the label–you know, “We were SO successful with these guys, you should check us out!”

But to me, that’s not nefarious–that’s simply intelligent. And it’s KQ Entertainment taking credit for something they actually did: They provided good management to a musical act. Hopefully they’ll continue to provide good management to that act, and with any luck, many others.

The fact that Block B is now going to be part of a label is also causing people consternation because it (sort of) represents the loss of another tool. What is that tool?

Being indie

I’ve talked about indie-ness here and here, and one thing that I really want people to realize about being independent is that it’s never a black-and-white situation, where going indie is always the right thing to do and being with a label is always a horrible thing to do.

In addition, there are so many different flavors of indie-ness that many people argue that it doesn’t exist at all. (And it can definitely be a term of art, there’s no question.)

Let’s look at Jay Park and his label AOMG.

Is he independent? What about the artists on his label–are they independent?

Park says he is, and he’s very proud of it–because he’s not with a big label, and he grew his label up from scratch! But other people would say he’s not an independent artist, and the other artists on his label certainly aren’t–there’s a label right there! it’s a fricking subsidiary of CJ E&M!–and that AOMG is more properly understood as a small label, not an independent label.

Let’s say that indie-ness does exist, and we’ll go with a strict definition that being with a label (no matter how small) means you’re not indie anymore. So Block B was independent until, say, Babylon was signed to KQ Produce (which made KQ Entertainment officially a label–I’m ignoring Shimo, but so is everyone), and now they’re not any more.

What is this being-indie tool supposed to do?

  1. Give you more artistic freedom.
  2. Pay you fairly.
  3. Ensure that you always receive attentive management.

Why are people upset? They think that now that Block B is no longer indie, they are no longer going to have these things.

Why am I not upset? Because you can get every single one of those things from within a label! Again, same contracts, same people. I don’t see everything suddenly going off a cliff here.

The other thing I have to point out is that running a business is a demanding activity. People have to be recruited and paid, deals have to be signed, taxes have to be paid, etc., etc., etc.

I haven’t see anyone in Block B showing the least interest in that end of things.

Jay Park splits the CEO job with Simon Dominic, plus AOMG has a corporate owner that presumably offers some support. But while Park and Dominic both still perform, you may have noticed that Dominic doesn’t put out a hell of a lot of new music anymore, and they both rely an awful lot on Cha Cha Malone and Gray to produce songs.

That’s because handling the business end of things is a real job–depending on the scale of things, it can take a tremendous amount of time and energy. The work may not play to your strengths (Verbal Jint and San E should never go into management), it may not be something you like doing, and it may be a major distraction from the work that actually makes you money. Does anyone honestly think that Zico should spend his time, I dunno, processing time sheets instead of writing and producing music? Would that be what’s best for Block B?

And frankly, I find it kind of annoying that people have so little appreciation for Block B’s management. Yes, I think that what’s going on here is that Kim Kyu Wook wants to make himself a label–good for him! He’s done really well by Block B, and now he’s hoping to secure his own future. That’s not a bad thing.

Nobody gets bent out of shape when the members of Block B use their popularity to help out other artists. I don’t understand why it’s such a horrible thing that they use their popularity to help out the guy who helped them get so popular. Kim isn’t Cho PD, he hasn’t been this incompetent horrid sleazeball, he’s done a good job. Let him chase some of his own dreams for once!


4 responses »

    • Shimo is a producer. In the original interview, three divisions are mentioned: Seven Seasons, KQ Produce, and Shimo’s operation. I don’t know if he’s actually dropped out or if he’s just staying in the background.

      It will be interesting to see how this shakes out–I wonder if Kim is thinking of doing a traditional label or pushing more this “multi-label” idea where KQ Entertainment basically provides back-office services for a bunch of more-or-less self-regulating musicians. The main thing I see as a road bump is that not everyone is Block B–KQ Produce got a lot of media coverage for Babylon, but then his single didn’t chart that well. OTOH, even just exposure can bump up appearance fees, so….

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