Freedom: BAD


So, hey, Taeil’s song is doing quite well, even though he didn’t do a video and probably isn’t going to do any music shows.

This is my favorite comment on it all:

Yes. And Taeil managed to score with this inexpensively promoted single in spite of competition that included the likes of G-Dragon. Taeil did it without videos that involve filming for 48 hours straight, or having to do a concert where some weirdo got on stage and grabbed him, or all of the million other things I’m sure G-Dragon is going to have to do, because that is the “benefit” of working for a large K-Pop label–getting exhausted and molested by creeps.

Instead, a guy who clearly doesn’t like appearing in videos (the only one I’ve seen him in is this one, and I think he wore that chador because they wouldn’t let him wear a burqa), gets to do what he’s comfortable with, which is singing live.

How oppressed he must feel right now.

I honestly don’t understand why anyone thinks that Taeil doing what he wants to do, and experimenting with different forms of promotion, is such a terrible thing.

How is this treated when a Western artist does it?

When Beyonce surprised the entire music industry this month by releasing her latest album, “Beyonce,” only on iTunes first — with no warning, no other promotion, no launch parties, no advance radio play, none of the traditional pre-sale retail hype — she showed how only a true star can break this industry glass ceiling. When it comes to business savvy, she just joined the lists of the greats.

Beyoncé joins the lists of the business greats. Taeil is a pitiable slave, horribly mistreated by his lazy, worthless label.

Jesus. What a load of crap.

One of the major reasons people go indie is CONTROL. That way, you don’t have to do the things you don’t want to do. And you can experiment with all kinds of weird shit that would be unthinkable under the traditional system: Do I need to produce paper books? Do I need to sell my music, or can I just give it away?

But when Block B says things like, Do we really need to appear on year-end shows? Do we need to appear on music shows at all? Do we need to do a CD? Do we need to do a video?–well, that’s when some people lose their shit. (And it’s not even like this kind of thing is unheard of in K-Pop: K.Will doesn’t usually appear in videos; IU hardly does music shows anymore; Nell doesn’t usually appear on television at all.)

Here’s something I’ve learned: When people insist that you must do things in a particular way, they either 1. don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about, or 2. profit from you doing things in that particular way.

So, Block B must always promote the traditional way, even though the whole music-show rigamarole didn’t do much of anything for “Make It Rain.”

Why? Because it’s better for the fans.

Oh, yes: The fans. Fans in any other industry are expected to enjoy and support the property. Fans in K-Pop petition to kick someone out of a group because he didn’t invite them to his wedding.

Remember: It’s OK to be a slave as long as you’re the fans’ slave. After all, they paid for ya!

And this isn’t just coming from K-Pop’s peculiar culture of idol fandoms. It’s also coming from the belief that a K-Pop label is some kind of Big Daddy, and the artist is a helpless little baby who needs to be led around by the hand and patted on the head and ripped off shamelessly.

Taeil can’t not want to do a video, because Taeil does not have agency. He can’t refuse to do things–it’s impossible! That would suggest that he has free will and is an adult!

But…we all know he can’t be an adult–he’s Baby Taeil!

Oh, well….

* * *

Can we talk about the cost issue? Oh, I have already? I’ve pointed out that K-Pop labels typically charge expenses to their talent? Have I mentioned that one reason Dok2 has money is that Illionaire Records has all of one employee, and he’d rather do more himself than pay for other people to do it all? Yes? All right, then.


8 responses »

    • It’s video the same way them running around with puppies singing “Yesterday” was a video–a live performance that was filmed, but not a “official” video on the Seven Seasons YouTube channel (which is apparently super-important to have, because of music show trophies! and nitpicking!)

  1. The title of this post made me laugh XD

    It seems the song’s charting success has assuaged most complaints. Now if only people can turn the “Taeil did well IN SPITE of few promos” narrative into a “Taeil can do well w/o the extra stuff” narrative!

    • And more generally, “Artists can find success in a variety of ways….” Like the whole complaint that Seven Seasons has a small staff, and Zico takes a leadership role–that’s indie life, folks. That’s part of the appeal of it–you aren’t treated like some severely limited Rain Man-type who can only do one thing well.

      The “all good things happen in spite of Seven Seasons!” motif is frustrating to me, because it feels like people keep trying to rationalize away the group’s success and stick them right back their years of crisis. I know it probably has more to do with the need of fans to feel important, but you can help an artist out without them having to be in dire distress. And of course it also encourages abuse toward management, as well as other unhelpful behavior (like boycotts).

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