Dreamcatcher Token (DRC) Whitepaper in Series— ① Introduction
1.1. Growth of K-Pop and Connected Fans
Growth of YouTube and SNS, development of streaming technology changed the way the public finds out pop musicians and consumes their music. Now, pop music is no longer just an action listening to music. It has become a comprehensive experience of viewing the content with others, actively expressing one’s own opinion, and communicating with the artists. U.S. 『Rolling Stone』, an American pop culture medium, analyzed that K-Pop is the largest beneficiary of the change in pop music consumption.
K-Pop was regarded as a minor genre in the global music market only five years ago. However, K-Pop has grown into a market that attracts attention from the globe with the annual market size of 5 billion USD (Approximately 6 trillion Won). Behind the rapid growth of K-Pop, the power of ‘Connected Fans’ exists. These connected fans communicate with each other by writing comments on K-Pop artists’ music videos on YouTube, and sharing their playlist on Spotify. Furthermore, they actively express their attention and love towards K-Pop by translating Korean lyrics into their native languages, producing and sharing videos interpreting messages in newly-released music videos, and other similar actions
1.2. Costly Debut Process of K-Pop Idols
The leading factor that established K-Pop’s current reputation is definitely idol groups. It takes long time and huge cost for an idol group to make a debut and perform on stage in South Korea. It usually takes two to five years for an idol group to form a group and make a debut. It usually costs minimum USD 440,000 to maximum USD 880,000 for an idol to make a debut. Even after making a debut, huge amount of activity costs including but not limited to music video production cost and SNS marketing cost are required. In case of idols that are under a contract with small and medium-sized agencies that lack financial assets and media coverage cannot sustain if they do not succeed in a short period of time after making a debut. Recently, entertainment companies that are affiliated with large conglomerates have come up with their own audition programs like Mnet’s 『Produce 48』. Furthermore, large agencies are partnering with music distribution companies. In other words, it is getting harder for skilled idols from small and medium-sized agencies to get on stage.
1.3. Potential Found in “BTS”, the Miracle of Small Agency
‘South Korea’s National Idol’ BTS also suffered from a harsh environment until they became a global celebrity dominating Billboard chart and iTunes chart. BTS is certainly a skilled boy group but they had limit as the agency was small in size. It was hard for idols who are not from major agencies that have media coverage and ample funds to earn an opportunity to show the music and the skills they pursue to the public. The success of idol groups depends on how long they can endure while maintaining their early-stage passion until certain critical point like Internet service providers like Facebook and Airbnb. In case of BTS, BTS had faced difficulties in the early-stage after their debut but found a path to success by turning their eyes on the global market and on the Internet. BTS members tried to show their talent and sincerity to their fans by sharing their daily lives, hidden characteristics, and growth as an artist on SNS and YouTube without any censorship. ‘Connected fans’ from all over the world sympathized with BTS, and BTS was able to achieve their success by growing into what they are today with their fandom “ARMY”.
In South Korea, more than 200 K-Pop idol groups are formed each year. Wellmade songs and brilliant performance that absorbed the global music trend and the member’s handsome looks became the prerequisites for K-Pop idols. K-Pop rising stars are putting tremendous efforts along with the prerequisites mentioned above. How many idol groups have grown into celebrities we remember? How can K-Pop rising stars that are outside the boundary of major entertainment company that have media coverage and abundant funding continue their activities in a sustainable manner? It still remains an unsolved question to us.
That is why the success of BTS, an idol group designed by a small-sized agency, is valuable and unique. BTS did not achieve success through funding and marketing but by overcoming the barrier of entry of global market with voluntary support from the fans. BTS’s growth with ‘connected fans’ implies a possibility for a new success model to K-Pop rising stars and entertainers in Asia.
To be continued…
(Dreamcatcher token whitepaper is divided into four series)
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