Category Archives: KQ for you

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!

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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….

Many random things

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There’s a lot going on, isn’t there? Like, Zico’s guesting on a song by Millic, and I’m probably not going to even be able to put it on BlockB.com because it’s coming out at almost the same time as Zico’s solo album (which has some interesting teasers, too).

Of course, the best Zico video out right now is this one here:

Zico bet his watch on that speed-reading contest, and then lost it. His expression is priceless!

And his watches ain’t cheap, either.

KHipHopSubs is translating Show Me the Money again, so yay! And Jaehyo & B-Bomb’s travel show is being translated here, so double-yay!

And Seven Seasons put out a fairly vague schedule that seems to be exciting everyone else much more than it does me. I mean, it’s gotten press coverage, so that in itself makes it worthwhile, but…I do hope people know that the plan pretty much every year has been to do two full-group comebacks–a small one in the spring and a big one in the fall–and the only year that has actually happened was 2014. (And even then, “Jackpot” promotions were cancelled because of the Sewol ferry tragedy.)

When a song doesn’t work out, or somebody blows a knee, or somebody’s mother dies–or maybe the news is great and somebody gets a really wonderful opportunity–it affects the schedule. That’s good, in my book–the group is more likely to stay together if consideration is shown to the members’ needs.

People are also saying that this proposed schedule will calm the crazy fans. OK, I’m just going to say it: Nothing will calm the crazy fans. When everything is fine, they just make shit up to get upset about. I’m already seeing “translations” that seriously up the number of “promised” activities, and of course should one of them fail to happen, the crazy fans will scream BETRAYAL!!!! Honestly, there is no point in tying yourself in knots trying to cater to people who will never be happy.

Speaking of people tying themselves in knots for no good reason, folks actually give a fuck about this?

Yes, five or six random Koreans could not identify Block B from a photograph! Wow.

I’ll tell you a true story: I’ve been hearing a lot about this group called the Chainsmokers. I’d never heard of them before, but they kept coming up–Chainsmokers over here, Chainsmokers over there, Chainsmokers everywhere!

Fuck! I said to myself. I’d better figure out who these guys are!

I went on YouTube, picked a random Chainsmokers song–and recognized it instantly.

I still couldn’t identify them from a photo, I didn’t even know who the Chainsmokers were–but I knew their music.

I’m guessing that’s the way it is for a lot of people in Korea when it comes to Block B. Maybe if they’d used a recent photo, people might have recognized Zico as “that Cass beer guy,” but maybe not. Play two seconds of “H.E.R,” however….

This, in contrast, I do feel is a cause for concern: U-Kwon has discovered fidget spinners.

Well, there goes all his time. And watch out for Sabellianism!

Since this seems to happen every single time

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Whenever Zico does a solo, you get this whole crowd coming out of the woodwork yammering on about how he doesn’t support Block B and how he’s going to leave and then the other members will all starve and die and yadda yadda yadda.

Which wouldn’t matter to me if I didn’t then get a bunch of traffic to this post as well as a gaggle of queries like “Is Zico leaving Block B?” or “Zico doesn’t like Block B?” There’s definitely a significant population out there who sees this Zico-leaving-Block-B bullshit and assumes that there’s actually something to it–indeed, that mentality is so prevalent that someone’s dumb prank got taken really seriously by people who then left a bunch of abuse on Zico’s social media.

Obviously I’m not psychic, and hey, one day Zico might indeed leave Block B! I don’t think it’s very likely for a lot of reasons, but I can’t say it’s absolutely outside the realm of possibility–he’s not a slave, for fuck’s sake.

I can, however, say that Zico has been putting out solo material since November 2014, those solos have been awfully successful, he also does very well with endorsements–and he has yet to leave the group. Nonetheless, every time he does a solo release, agitation begins anew over the possibility that he might leave Block B. In fact, even if Zico hasn’t done a solo release, what can best be described as scares crop up periodically–some other K-Pop group loses a member for whatever reason, so of course that means that Zico is about to leave Block B.

It’s especially interesting because at this point, other Block B members have also done solo work–Park Kyung most notably, but Taeil and U-Kwon have both put out commercial solo releases. A lot of the music Bastarz has put out has been written by P.O, with B-Bomb contributing the delightfully obscene “Tightly”; when the sub-unit’s members aren’t busy doing live theater, Bastarz gets booked on a regular basis, has performed abroad quite a bit, and even holds its own fan meetings. P.O founded a theater group, and so far he’s helped write two plays that have done quite well.

And yet I have never seen a scare over the possibility that, say, Park Kyung will leave the group to go solo, or Taeil will leave the group to sing angelic love songs to fish, or P.O will leave to focus on theater, or U-Kwon will leave to do musicals, or Bastarz will spin off forever and ever, amen.

Never.

So, what’s going on here? With the people who like the group but don’t know it well, and who are just kind of nervous that Zico might leave, I think they think of Block B as being like a more-conventional K-Pop group. The business model with those often is just to see which member the public will latch on to, and then to ditch everyone else ASAP. Likewise if the business model is to trot out a new group (and retire the old one) every few years, the label’s not going to care about keeping the members happy, which understandably makes them more likely to leave. Those aren’t KQ/Seven Seasons’ business models (KQ’s too small, for one thing), but I can see why someone who is used to mainstream K-Pop would worry about a group leaking members–or just disbanding for no particular reason, like Sistar did (surprise!).

The other, not-minor contributing factor, though, is that Zico has a lot of haters who just love to start this shit. Most of the people who express such concern over what Zico’s oh-so-imminent departure is going to do to the rest of the group don’t actually give a fuck about the other members of Block B. After all, if they cared enough to know what the other members were actually up to these days, they’d know not to worry–the group is far less reliant on Zico than it used to be, and I don’t see that trend reversing.

But that doesn’t matter to them, because what they really want is to tear Zico down, and convincing others that Zico is about to leave the rest of the group in a basket on the steps of a church (or maybe in a cardboard box in the middle of the interstate) is simply part of the selfish bastard! narrative that they’re trying to sell.

I’ve seen Zico stans flip anti, and it’s about what you’d expect–he won’t marry them disappoints them in some way, and all of a sudden he’s the most horrible baby-eater on the whole entire planet, and the rest of Block B are his pitiful victims (just like the former stan was, OMG). The mentality seems to be that if you put some effort into a celebrity, and then you decide that you don’t want to stan any more–well, that can’t be because stanning is simply not really that gratifying an activity to begin with, or because maybe your tastes changed, it has to be because the person you were stanning is worthless scum. (Splitting!)

You throw in the people who hate Zico because he dated their imaginary wife, and the people who are just trolling or want to upset anyone who likes Block B, and lo and behold you have this bottomless well of Zico is going to leave Block B! If that worries you, just keep in mind that it’s completely disconnected from any kind of objective reality–the people who are out there planting those seeds don’t know what’s actually going on with the group, nor do they particularly care.