Category Archives: KQ for you

Annoying but not significant

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So Jaehyo got irritated by some remarkably stupid hate he was getting on his new YouTube channel.

But thank God, they did focus on an issue that is very important to me: The treatment of Sand People.

Being “made [into] a girlfriend,” while utterly disrespectful, is one of the more benign things Sand People have to deal with–more often it’s having their castles destroyed by small children and/or waves. And don’t get me started on the treatment of Snow People. I mean, get an eyeful of this horror, posted by an animal activist no less!

Anyway, one thing that people have noticed is that the sentiment, “Yeah, Seven Seasons–sue these clowns!” has suddenly turned into a bunch of Korean Tweets asking for “feedback”–which should ring a bell for anyone who witnessed the whole Let’s Boycott Block B stage. I would not be surprised if the people doing the “feedback” requests this time around weren’t the same people doing the “feedback” requests last time–attacking the members under the guise of “defending” them from their label is not a new tactic here.

I also would not be shocked if these people were also the same people who got upset about Block B doing activities abroad, P.O having a hot lady in his video, Zico joking about Nicki Minaj’s ass, U-Kwon posting pictures of his dogs, and now Jaehyo’s sand girlfriend. The common theme of these campaigns always seems to be punishing the members for their “infidelity”–whether it be with non-Korean fans, actual girlfriends, random celebrities, models in videos, or you know, big piles of damp beach sand. It’s no secret that some of these people used to run fan Web sites and Twitter accounts. Obviously, it’s great when people are willing to help out, but it’s a lot less great when they’re helping out with the expectation that they will get paid back, especially when that repayment is expected to come in the form of marriage and eternal devotion.

(You might wonder what kind of people would expect that from Block B, given how open they are about dating. And think we now know the answer: extremely crazy people.)

In any case, we’ve been through this many (many many many) times before. These hate and harassment campaigns tend to be organized by a relatively small number of people who make use of sock-puppet accounts and the like; as a result they don’t tend to have much of an impact unless some actual gatekeeper, like a label, freaks out.

Speaking of labels, will Seven Seasons take these people to court? The thing is, they’ve done it before, and I can tell you from experience that lawyers are very expensive and whatever satisfaction you get out of using them tends to evaporate after you get the bill. Jaehyo may be annoyed, but the money would be coming out of his pocket as well, so he and his label may simply not think it’s worth it to force a bunch of people (who are likely either very young or suffering from significant mental problems) to undertake community service. Or they may think it is. The thing is, fans won’t be picking up the cost, so their input isn’t really meaningful here. No matter how often they request “feedback.”

Question: Is “feedback” the new “Notice Me, Senpai”?

ETA: Jaehyo has started following the hate accounts! Oh, I love that man….

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KQ + Sony Music!

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KQ Entertainment has reportedly signed a deal with Sony Music–here are some Korean versions of the story and here’s a version that basically has just been shoved through Google Translate, hopefully a better translation will show up soon. [ETA: Billboard covered it!] In any case, it looks like Sony Music Taiwan KPOP already has Block B featured on their Facebook page. (Taiwan loves Block B!)

From what I can gather by, yes, shoving stuff through Google Translate, Sony Music has an equity investment in KQ (which typically means they now own a minority stake in the company), and in return they will help promote the label’s artists (i.e. not just Block B) in Asia and beyond. (Although…presumably not Japan? There’s nothing on Block B’s Japanese Web site to suggest it, and since they’re coming out with the Japanese version of Montage next month, the timing would be peculiar.) A Sony Music subsidiary distributes BTS in the United States, so hopefully Western markets won’t be completely neglected.

Anyway, that’s interesting. And you know, once again while certain fans remain convinced that this whole thing should be about themKim Kyu Wook is doing his fucking job, keeping the company liquid as it expands, and making sure everyone makes money.

ETA: A couple of additional observations, in Q&A form because I’m pedantic.

Q. How will KQ promote abroad?

A. They won’t, just like they don’t in Japan. Sony Music will handle it—that’s the point of this deal.

Q. What if Block B doesn’t renew their contracts?

A. That would sure suck for Sony Music, right? KQ’s biggest, most international asset taking a hike a year after this deal was signed?

Which is why they’ve already renewed. Large companies don’t sign deals like this without guarantees. (ETA: Whoops! Wrong!)

Q. People are saying that I shouldn’t get excited about this because Sony Music is just a distributor and doesn’t do any promotion. What do you think?

A. Some people define “promotion” as “appearing on a lot of music shows.” If that’s your thinking, then definitely don’t get your hopes up, now or ever. Music shows are a time-consuming and cost-ineffective method of promotion, so Block B does them as little as possible. This deal isn’t going to change that.

If instead you define “promotion” as “selling music to people”–well, folks, distributors actually do promote. That’s a big part of the job, especially these days when it’s so easy for musicians to do basic distribution on their own. KQ wouldn’t be giving away equity if all Sony Music was offering in return was to upload some songs onto iTunes.

(The very act of distribution can be a form of promotion, by the way. Having BTS CDs available for sale in U.S. Target stores all by itself generates sales, and having those CDs appear on end rows or in special displays generates even more sales.)

EATA: If you’re wondering who the guy in the photos with Kim is, it’s Denis Handlin, who is pretty freaking high up in the Sony executive ranks.

Zico, Zico, Zico!

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Somebody managed to do a near-complete, high-quality fan cam of Zico’s performance at the Lime Tree Festival–it’s really nice, especially his use of a live band.

(Meanwhile in Japan, fans are being told to stop taking pictures of the Taeil/U-Kwon concerts. Le sigh. Hopefully that will ease up when the tour ends. ETA: Here’s one of U-Kwon! And Taeil!)

Anyway, the amusing thing from all of Zico’s festival performances this summer is–remember how people used to complain that Block B was “Zico & Friends”?

There it is! Not Block B, or Fanxy Child, or Buckwilds, or even the Zico/Babylon/Eden lineup KQ has been booking lately, but when the combination gets totally random in terms of group affiliation, “Zico & Friends” it is!

New pointless scare!

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Remember how I wrote that post about the pointless scares about Zico leaving Block B and noted that, oddly enough, there never seem to be any scares about any of the other members leaving Block B?

Well, we seem to have reached a milestone.

Apparently some people finally managed to get it through their skulls that “Wiped” is not being put out by Seven Seasons/KQ. Because they are willfully ignorant and addicted to drama, they apparently have now decided that this is HUGELY SIGNIFICANT and a sign that Park Kyung is about to leave Seven Seasons/KQ, which would presumably also involve leaving Block B.

Here is a visual representation of this thought process:

2 + 2 = I’M NOT GETTING ENOUGH ATTENTION!!

I mean, I do try not to be bitchy, but this is kind of a breathtaking combination of absurdity and malice. It’s something where, if you know anything at all about the group and how they have done things in the past, and if you have the most basic understanding of the K-Pop industry–and by that I mean, if you can comprehend that there is more than one company within that industry–then it’s obvious that this is histrionic bullshit.

Why am I saying this?

Remember this?

This song was not put out by Seven Seasons/KQ.

Remember this?

This song was not put out by Seven Seasons/KQ.

Remember this? (I hope so–it came out in June!)

This song was not put out by Seven Seasons/KQ.

I realize that this:

looks more like a comeback video, but that’s not what it is–it’s a cereal commercial. Like the other songs (and there are more) this song was not put out by Seven Seasons/KQ.

When a company that is not Seven Seasons/KQ puts out a song, Seven Seasons/KQ tends to adopt a very relaxed attitude toward marketing. Typically all they do is repost or link to whatever the other company puts out there.

This is a sensible approach for a couple of reasons. First, the other company likely wants to control the marketing (that’s pretty typical, especially given that this is an endorsement), so Seven Seasons/KQ actually has to be careful not to stick their oar in. If it’s a normal song for commercial release, another reason to back off is financial: If there’s another company involved, then Seven Seasons/KQ is presumably not going to get a big share of the revenues. You don’t want to spend a lot of time and money pushing a song to be a hit if you’re never going to see a dime from it.

What happened this time around is that the other company involved, the agency Space Oddity, didn’t give Seven Seasons/KQ anything to work with. Before the teaser release, there were no stories to link to and nothing coming out of Space Oddity for Seven Seasons/KQ to repost. Space Oddity released the teaser an hour before they were supposed to, so Seven Seasons/KQ couldn’t announce the release before it happened.

So it was kind of a debacle, sure. Again, I’m not sure why people seem to think that’s Seven Seasons/KQ’s fault. More comically, they seem to think that Park Kyung would be soooooooo impressed by Space Oddity’s handling of this release that he would drop Seven Seasons/KQ like a hot potato, break his contract, and run on over there. Especially given that they’re not actually a music label.

I mean, of course it is possible that he’ll do that–anything’s possible. But I don’t think that’s the most likely scenario.

P.S. You know what annoys me? Park Kyung just got a television show and an endorsement, and these “fans” are running around trying to convince everyone that the sky is falling. What a waste.

ETA: And now Park Kyung is thanking Seven Seasons/KQ for how they handled this, and these people are…telling everyone to shut up about the panic THEY FUCKING STARTED. Oh, and they still think Seven Seasons/KQ sucks, and they’re obviously not sorry or ashamed or anything, so definitely look forward to them doing their best to start yet another panic with the next release.

OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I mean, how many times do you have to do this before you finally admit to yourself that you have for all practical purposes become a troll?

Business-y bits

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This article (via zicogram) is pretty darned interesting–apparently Hack Zico has a total of more than 10 million views (for all episodes, on all platforms). The article says that this is especially remarkable given that it’s an Internet-only show that was never aired on television.

If you’ve been paying attention, partnering with online platforms has been an explicit strategy of KQ Entertainment, and they’ve definitely been experimenting a lot with that. One major advantage would presumably be that you’re not expected to engage in the payola and ass-kissing that is standard operating procedure with Korean music shows.

So, it’s really gratifying for me to see that strategy working so well for them. I’ve been in an industry where you’re treated like a peon–it’s no fun, and watching those sorts of bullshit industry practices wither away (as those who had engaged in them screamed in agony over the horrible new order) was one of the great delights of going indie.

* * *

Of course this is going to piss off Those Who Get Pissed Off about things like Block B not appearing on music shows. (So important…if you’re arguing with some Exo fan about which group sucks.) At the moment, though, Those Who Get Pissed Off are busy being pissed off because Park Kyung is working with a company that isn’t Seven Seasons/KQ.

Except they don’t know that’s what they’re angry about. These are the same people who apparently thought Block B Japan was run by magical fairies. They don’t realize that Park Kyung is working with a company that isn’t Seven Seasons/KQ. They think his video isn’t on the Seven Seasons YouTube channel (and the company hasn’t changed its all-important social-media headers! OMFG!!!) because the company is lazy and cheap and loves only Zico. I guess they think that’s why there hasn’t really been any coverage of the upcoming song in the Korean media, either. (I don’t know why they think it’s on a different distributor’s channel. Do they even know what a distributor is?)

I mean, the explanation was translated into English, but…no. Can’t understand it. Must be Seven Seasons/KQ’s fault somehow.

For the record: The song is a special project for another company that is not Seven Seasons/KQ. This is like when the members do soundtrack songs for dramas, or cover songs for variety shows, or songs for Show Me the Money, or songs for Block B Japan. There’s another company in charge, and whether or not there’s a video, or marketing, or international distribution is not Seven Seasons/KQ’s decision. (Why agree to sing a song for another company that may or may not do a good job promoting and distributing the song? Usually because said company offers an up-front payment.)

So, the people who hope the members would go to another company? They already have! They’ve done it many times! Park Kyung is doing it right now! Seven Seasons/KQ actually seems pretty relaxed about that kind of thing.

A cranky observation about the media & the management

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The latest “controversy” about Seven Seasons/KQ’s handling of the media just emphasizes something that bugs the hell out of me: The assumption that Seven Seasons is never helpful and always wrong.

Let’s look at that account of what happened in 2013.  (The people who think that reporter was Block B’s very best friend were sure to look up his and his outlet’s coverage of the Thailand scandal beforehand, right? I mean, no fan would ever blindly side with media outlets that have quite the history of trying to fist-fuck the group or anything, right?)

Enough questions! Presumably everyone remembers how careful Block B was with their “Very Good” promotions. If you don’t, they were super-duper careful, and it worked! For once Block B didn’t have a comeback ruined by scandal or lawsuits!

Yes, they! were! careful! They were such good boys, trying so hard to be proper idols, and always being careful about what they said and who they said it to, carefully, in order to avoid scandal.

Boy, did the fans sing praises about how careful Block B was. Such careful people.

And I’m sure they were careful, but–whaddaya know: They had help being careful. They (like most entertainers, who are typically people-pleasers and have a very hard time saying no) had a big mean scary high-ranking executive (sometimes it’s a manager, sometimes it’s a lawyer, sometimes it’s a family member–but it’s always someone) who ran around being the bad guy and saying “No way! Get the fuck out!” to people and situations they thought were probably trouble. (Added bonus: Whenever some reporter was disappointed, it wasn’t Block B’s fault. It was the fault of mean old Seven Seasons!)

It’s almost like–stay with me–things are set up this way on purpose in order to protect celebrities’ images!

Oh, but we didn’t see the sausage factory, so it must not exist–such is always the case with management. Instead, the boys–seven completely perfect humans–naturally handled everything with aplomb, and because God invariably rewards the virtuous with material success, they pulled off that vital return to the industry without a hitch!!

Like the divine beings they are.

“The essence of a press conference” is a combination of unflattering lights, boredom, and unfortunate smells, by the bye

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Zico gave a press conference where he didn’t answer reporters’ questions!!!

Wow, yeah. I think “This article wasn’t written in an attempt to brandish unfair power. It’s an attempt to find the essence of a press conference” is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time, especially coming right after Eric & Na Hyemi’s “controversy.”

Reporters get pissed off about shit just like anyone else does. Of course, you usually keep it to yourself so that you don’t come across as an entitled, unprofessional, biased pussy. But I guess when you’re not accustomed to actually leaving the office for any reason, it makes it soooo hurtful when you do attempt the most basic level of reporting, and that canned event doesn’t work out exactly like you expected!

Since I am a former reporter, I of course have sneaky, back-door access to all other reporters’ questions, including the ones they weren’t allowed to ask Zico! Here they are!

  1. Why don’t you take responsibility for Block B?
  2. Is the line, “Why did she date such an unrefined delinquent?” about Seolhyun?
  3. How did she feel about it?
  4. So you’re still in touch/no longer in touch with her?
  5. Why don’t you take responsibility for Seolhyun?
  6. Why don’t you take responsibility for AOA?
  7. Why don’t you take responsibility for your antis?
  8. What is your ideal type?

Aren’t you all torn up inside that Zico and his mean, horrible label didn’t respect “the essence of a press conference”?

(Of course this “controversy” is having the same kind of impact they always do.)

ETA: And this too–I’m speechless as well, but probably for very different reasons than the original poster. I mean, this so-called journalist is carrying a grudge from 2013, and he can’t seem to understand why Seven Seasons would have been very careful about Block B’s media exposure after the Thailand scandal. Not like that’s their job or anything. Unprofessional and entitled as fuck–he’s openly carrying the hatchet for Seven Seasons because of something that happened four years ago.

EATA: Oh, God, I’m finding myself COMPLETELY agreeing with the people on Netizen Buzz! This is always so disconcerting when it happens….