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K-pop powerhouses ask for financial support from government

Culture Minister Park Yang-woo holds a round table meeting with representatives from K-pop companies on Friday at the Korea Creative Content Agency’s Content Korea Lab in Seoul. (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)
Culture Minister Park Yang-woo holds a round table meeting with representatives from K-pop companies on Friday at the Korea Creative Content Agency’s Content Korea Lab in Seoul. (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)


K-pop powerhouses on Friday participated in a roundtable meeting with Culture Minister Park Yang-woo, discussing the financial difficulties they face due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

The meeting, hosted by the Culture Ministry, in addition to listening to the challenges entertainment companies face, was intended to set the agenda for expanding the Korean Wave in the post-coronavirus era.

Eight senior executives of K-pop companies including S.M. Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, Big Hit Entertainment, FNC Entertainment and Starship Entertainment participated in the meeting.

The K-pop companies especially highlighted difficulties stemming from concert cancellations, the ministry said.

YG Entertainment confirmed Sunday that it had canceled several concerts, including Winner’s three concerts in Singapore and Korea in February and concerts in eight Korean cities by sibling singing duo AKMU in February and March.

“From February on, all the concerts were canceled (due to COVID),” a YG Entertainment official told The Korea Herald.

With the situation no different for other entertainment companies like S.M. Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and Big Hit Entertainment, the firms asked the Culture Ministry to provide specific guidelines for holding offline concerts during the second half of this year.

 
(Big Hit Entertainment)
(Big Hit Entertainment)


In response, the ministry said that it is currently reviewing some of the measures that would allow the companies to hold small concerts in four cities outside of Seoul -- Gangneung in Gangwon Province, Jeonju in North Jeolla Province, Mokpo in South Jeolla Province and Andong in North Gyeongsang Province -- that were picked as tourism hubs. The Culture Ministry said they will make the final decision after discussions with the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some entertainment companies also asked the government to create a separate fund to support businesses related to Korean pop culture during the conference, the ministry said.

Park also suggested ways to support the K-pop industry’s growth such as government subsidies, tax incentives, and the loosening of regulations related to the export of entertainment products.

“We will actively provide policy support to K-pop industry so that it can become the culture business that represents Korea,” Park said.

Park also praised two successful online concert cases -- SM Entertainment’s “Beyond Live” and Big Hit Entertainment’s “Bang Bang Con: The Live” -- as efforts to prepare for the post-coronavirus era.

The premiere of “Beyond Live” concert held in April which featured SuperM was viewed by more than 75,000 people in 109 countries. Big Hit, on June 14, held BTS’ streaming concert, “Bang Bang Con: The Live,” which drew more than 756,000 viewers from 107 countries. Both events were paid online concerts.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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