We have been in the KPOP fandom for a while now and if there is one thing we know, a lot of things haven’t changed in the hallyu wave. Every year or season we see the same words thrown around saying KPOP is an upcoming genre, brand new trends and more. There are half assed concerts and fan meets. Polarizing thoughts on the same events. I think I can speak for Teri and myself, not a lot has improved. It might look bigger, but it hasn’t grown.
KPOPmaps was something we wanted to do to make a cheeky statement on how inaccurate and ridiculous KPOP is. Not to say the music industry in general isn’t just as ridiculous, but KPOP seems to breed a certain kind of thing and it is hard to ignore it without any kind of judgement.
So here’s a series of posts called KPOP Wishlists that we’re going to do occasionally. These will touch on opinions, aspirations, wishes and more that we want to see for KPOP in America and perhaps internationally.
To start it off, we go back to November of 2011 and the KPOP Masters concerts in Las Vegas. The lineup was dreamy over the 2 day event: TVXQ, BEAST, MBLAQ, 4minute, SISTAR, Brown Eyed Girls, G.NA and SHINee. I went to both days and back on an old blog, I wrote a review about it. Here it is:
On November 25 & 26, 2011, I went to the 2011 Billboard KPOP MASTERS (KPM) concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, capacity of approximately 17,000 seats (we’ll talk about this in a moment).
I should note that my career background is pretty wide and my opinions are based on my experience and knowledge. Then add to that my genuine enjoyment of Korean pop music and viola! There you go. Also, boots on the left is (my friend) Virginia and on the right, me. 🙂
- OK, on the capacity. The above pic was taken the first night. It seems fans who bought from the upper level, were allowed to move down to the lower level because they covered it up with curtains. OK, so maybe 17K wasn’t reached. It was obvious it wasn’t because people were allowed to move again even lower. Some to the floor – where fans bought $300+ seats. You do take the risk of buying tickets, but still, this was not cool. NOT COOL AT ALL.
¶ As you can see, my friend and I stayed in our seats. We liked them. No one a few rows in front and back of us.
- The goods. Merchandise was a few KPM branded shirts and posters and that’s pretty much it. I live in Los Angeles. I have access to a lot of KPOP merchandise and events, but still, even if a lot of fans come from SoCal to Vegas to see this, they probably don’t go into Koreatown for merch.
¶ The earning potential to bring shirts, posters, light sticks, pins, etc. from every act to the concert would have been HUGE. If there was some red tape to this, then they should have designed better KPM branded merchandise and not used promotional photos from their marketing.
¶ Having no light sticks was a big disappointment. They did give out some LED lights, but that wasn’t the same. Fandoms LOVE representing. Actually, some Shawols (SHINee fans for those who do not know) brought balloons. I thought that was really cute. If that didn’t show the dedication of a fandom, I don’t know what does.
- Ticket prices were outrageous. Again, I am just assuming that the cost of bringing these artists over were at a minimum of maybe 1 million dollars or so. That’s being conservative, but let’s play with numbers a bit.
Imaginary successful scenario:
– Artists & crew fees and travel expense = $1.5 million (I added a half)
– Average ticket price $200x17000x2 nights = $6.8 million
¶ Not including facility fees, marketing, etc., they probably expected to bank a few million.
Not real, but maybe can be assumed scenario:
It looked like about 4000 tickets were actually sold for both nights.
– 4000x$150 (lower because floor wasn’t full) = $600K
You can already tell there was a HUGE loss.
If the ticket prices were lowered, even by about 20%, there would be some profit. If it went even lower, breaking even would have been a great possibility. By all accounts though, it looked like a huge loss. [2015 NOTE: I mean some profit if more tickets sold.]
- The holiday weekend issue. I’m thinking some metrics were used, but just by being in Vegas, you can tell families travel to and visit around Thanksgiving (well, SoCal families). Lots of well known artists were in town on those dates as well. One can assume that numbers wise, this should have work, yet it didn’t. Why? I think if KPM looked at the fan bases, they would realize that fans are everywhere. Give them a slow weekend in the summer and fans from all over the country would have come with parents in tow as well as extra money to blow.
- Fan meetings. Nothing says earn a quick buck than a fan meetings sprinkled all over the weekend. Having them with the artists, adding CDs to sell, working with official fan clubs, and getting autographs would have probably kept kids out of the hotel lobby and common areas. Giving them a little bit more intimate impression, instead of seeing an artist rushed through a casino by their managers.
¶ Keep the price low to moderate to attend. Learn from that debacle that was the last minute $200 VIP events for each show that were created and the subsequent last minute cancelation of the Saturday event hours before the show.
- Social media, oh my! Now, I used to manage custom communities for brands and artists. Knowing your audience REALLY comes into play. With so many ways to communicate, if you are a big brand, pick a medium or 2 and engage it and learn it. KPOP fandom plays on connecting the fans with the artists, but they are all different. No really, learn them. Be on top. Be a voice.
- Then there’s the show. Overall I thought the show was good. Production was great. Vocal tracking was mixed decent. Camera work was nice. Flubs were here and there (most notable to me was Junhyung of Beast’s mic going out during “Fiction”, I think the second night) which I expected. No big deal. I was still pleased, but “history making” it was not. [2015 NOTE: this was a comment on their motto HISTORY WILL BE MADE.]
¶ You know what was history making, or at least buzzed about like crazy? Trouble Maker’s Hyuna & Hyunseung’s non-kiss at MAMAs a few days later. If KPM wanted to make some news, they needed some shock value. MAMAs had it. Oddly enough, Hyuna & Hyunseung were at KPM with their groups.
- No MC for the shows. Which was OK, it allowed the bands to speak a bit of the English they knew, they can still do that with an MC, but it would have been nice to have a production with some direction instead of basically a well done showcase.
So there’s a list of things that I think would have made this event way better, sprinkled with opinions and stuff.
It’s kind of amazing looking back at this and noticing not much has changed. For me, I have a better understanding of the red tape that prevents a lot of things like merchandise and fan meets now, but why is it still an issue? We’ll explore that and more in future KPOP Wishlists posts.
KPOPmaps comes out on Thursdays. It’s about KPOP, but without the assistance of GPS.
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