The Late Capitalism of K-Pop
The Late Capitalism of K pop

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Please consider supporting us on Patreon if you enjoy the content: Taking a look at the history and development of South Korean pop music and the highly exploitative system that underpins it. Sources: On South Korea’s history: On K-pop: Trainee abuse: South Korea’s workers’ rights:


Cursederino Bladerino Kripparino : K-pop: *exists* Brave new world: Am I a joke to you?

Tormented Tantalus : I can't even begin to imagine how heavily medicated the idols must be. Antidepressants, stimulants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, anticonvulsants, anorexics, mood stabilizers...

UFHoee : What baffles me is that Westerners support this industry knowing this.

Felipe Gelani : We're living in a world made of plastic.

Sascha : I remember, when the leader and main vocalist of Girls' Generation (Taeyeon 11:05) said that she's struggeling with depression. A lot of people started to hate her. They said things like "You are unprofessional". They made fun of her on TV. A few years ago, when she was openly talking about her mental illness, she was voted as the most hated KPOP-Idol. After that incident she stopped talking about her depression and the last time she looked sad/was crying in public was when her best friend and co-worker Jonghyun killed himself. I do not know how to explain this. Is this the systems fault? Or are the people in the world are really that cruel? I am a KPOP fan and I love Taeyeon. She is my favorite singer for 3 years now and I love Jonghyun as well. It really hurts to see them suffering. Or not being on this world anymore... THIS SYSTEM IS SICK.

FVR : kpop industry= inhuman as hell, represents capitalist lifestyle in its most accelerated and dangerous form

muther1997 : Hey its like that other korea

dumbass bitch : A year ago I started listening to kpop (especially bts) because a friend of mine was a huge fan and she recommended them to me. At first I was surprised because of the fandom, they hated the idea of the members dating or even acting slightly sexually, but they also fetishized them. I didn’t understand how american idols were able to go around singing about drugs and sex yet kpop idols were made to keep this child like image. But after reading a bit about the industry, it all started to make sense

Yana M. : I like kpop but I have to admit it brought out the worst of me. When I was a huge fan I disliked when idols got sexual, I wanted them to be strictly cute and charming. I started trashing on Taeyeon because she used to date Baekhyun. I watched like every single video related to my favourite groups. I wanted to know every group and their members. I thought American pop was shit and kpop was THE shit. Once I stayed till 3 am to wait for an EXO comeback. I downloaded every popular song so I could be relevant around my kpop fans. I thought these people were perfect. I wanted them to make a lot of content to feed my rotten fangirl heart. I was obsessed with shipping and searched for every possible moment of my ships' moments. I think that the fangirl mentality can be very harmful for a person sometimes. The industry seriously repels me. The concept of those clean-cut, perfect idols who originally exist as objects of fantasizing for fans. Isn't this toxic? Practicing for hours, barely resting and even sleeping, having to be perfect, not even being allowed to utter a single swear word, not being allowed to date but still having to write those cheesy love songs. We don't even know what their characters are really like. Even when they train so hard, they're still not allowed to eat much. Many idols starve, overwork and are under tons of stress. Even BTS, whose company treats them well, were close to disbanding. I'm not saying this is the case for everyone, but I think it is for a pretty big part of the idol world. Yes, I like the music, I respect the people, their talent, their effort, their hopes and dreams. But I can't accept majority of what's happening. I look at those people and I know that they're real people with real feelings, but I can't see that. I can't see them showing that (not that they're allowed to). Most of what I see are trained puppets who exist for companies for money and fame. Sometimes I can't comprehend how can these people be truly happy. But I wish them the best.

XXthekingofyouXX : Soooo Korea is the blueprint for how Disney wants to run the US?

Noah Bessell : I absolutely loved this video. As a MASSIVE K-pop fan and an aspiring writer, I found this video to be as fascinating as it was precise. I feel as though watching this video is a necessity for a K-pop fan, kinda like how a McDonald's customer should know what their hamburger is made from. Truly excellent video. I subbed, homie.

BellaMusical : The idea of humans being copies without originals really creeps me out. And I have to say, those old men who sit there and judge these young idols have very punchable faces.

xelena : This was a great video, but I was surprised it didn't mention or link to the idol culture in Japan (J-Pop), which started earlier and exhibits many salient features that were directly imported into the K-Pop busciness and scene. Postwar Japan was yet another anticommunist project of the US.

Vraska : Somehow, i knew it was like this. Whenever i see a K-pop video there's always something that bothers me and i couldn't exactly explain what it was. Finally, the sense of "falseness" i always felt (more than western pop-culture wich is also garbage), has a logic explanation. Thank you.

pantyhatgirl : Mind blowing how so many teenagers ignore this authoritarian hellscape because "OMG HES SO HOT"

byul the little shit : as a former kpop trainee and is still planning on continue to pursue my dream , i could say me and other trainees and idols are blinded by our dream of being on stage and creating the music we want to even tho we know how fucking harsh this industry is The smaller companies are pretty harsh and abusive but The BIG 3(SM JYP YG) the company provides everything you need and all you need to do is work hard and improve on every monthly evaluation(every month trainees show the coaches and the main producer how much they improved by performances) but you are never safe bc even tho how good you are ,you can be always dropped(Im a former YG trainee and thats how it was in the company)

hoshiichu : i would like to add that indie korean music whether it be rap, r&b, or rock does exist outside of the kpop machine and is very good. kpop does make up a large majority of korea's music output but individual artists are still out there (and quite easy to find) I enjoyed this video's commentary quite a bit but i did notice many of the stories are from senior groups. as fast moving as the kpop industry is, a lot has changed in policy and the genre in general during the time that the groups mentioned were at the height of their popularity.

96fps_from_mars : Your have a theme of powerful, perhaps accusatory, final lines. Their impact is heightened when the video immediately cuts with no endscreen. The message of the video is not to subscribe, like, or anything, it's entirely devoted to the topic it covers.

PKFireMKIce : I think the sad part about K-pop is the stigma that it presents itself in. K-pop is an oversaturated genre that many companies in Korea like to abuse, and that the idols themselves are being mistreated. But it's also sad to see how fans of K-pop are negatively affected as well; because suddenly they're the bad guys for liking this certain genre. I don't think anyone likes this genre because they enjoy watching these groups suffer, it's more based on the connections the fanbase has with the groups themselves, the music they make (because there are some unique stuff in in this genre), and how the fanbase can relate to the members themselves. It's a heavily debated topic, but the main problem with the genre is that people are being judged for having a certain interest and it's wrong.

Владислав Лазерев : This is why I listen to nk-pop and the moranbong band

Sean. A : 11:36 "My light skin tone". Jesus wept.

lee genny : aha idol = I + doll.

Quaglium Quagnarr : So, they're like cute puppets?

Escapist : I read the title as cannibalism, I need to get sleep

Dave102693 : Well made video! Do pedophilia in anime next!

Makie : North Korea: Concetration camps, 16 legal haircuts, isolationism, cult of personality, economic instability. South Korea: No workers rights, brainwashing music, large poverty and homlesness, failed education system, political instability. #restorethegreatjoseon Edit 15th March 2019: Oh God, I should be send to prison for causing 3 or 4 internet arguments.

Gambler : i wonder if PSY had to go through any of this. or if he even had a following in korea

semantix : I wrote a research essay about the irony of "Korean Rap" as a genre. In the sense that rap, as a music form, stems from the idea of authenticity, yet in a heavily manufactured genre like K-Pop it's become a prevalent mainstay in their song formula (each group has a rapper / every song has a rap verse). The inauthenticity doesn't make it bad, it just leads to generic song structures capitalising on whatever "sound" is trending (look to tropical house last year / latin pop this year), which makes it hard, I'd argue even impossible, to ever see it as art (with the understanding that "art" is supposed to convey something "more" / stem from authenticity).

Sumeet Padavala : This is some solid journalism. Great work!

The Skooma Cat : 9:38 >Ireland >Iceland flag ???? I think that might not be a legit source

Ryukachoo : I had a feeling it was messed up but this is next level spooky stuff

kj : This is why i kinda hate k pop and why i cringe so hard when westerners fetishize it. Everyday we get closer to becoming a cyberpunk dystopia.... without the cool robots lol

Lucipurr : I appreciate how in depth this is. From my personal experience, a lot of kpop fans (especially younger fans) don’t understand that kpop behemoth groups, such as BTS, weren’t formed in a garage by some kids after school. Also, a lot of older individuals who bash kpop tend to go after the idols themselves, they don’t understand that the record labels are 100% responsible for the idols. They say things like “they have all this money, all this fame, and they make shit like this” with out realizing they are just people trying to make a living. This video is very, very well done. Subbed.

Mimiyo : only real OG's upload at 480p

Phil The Logician : *Top 10 Anime Analyses.*

TORLBC : "South Korea was created as a U.S. proxy combat communism." That's actually a great, woke take that nobody thinks about enough when talking about the Korean Peninsula.

sad cat : big oof for kpop

E.M Aguilar : Please do Japan's idol industry too.

Scott Tangents : Here in lies my issue with k-pop it’s manufactured soulless trash.

Madalena FDA : As a Kpop fan, I think it's important to realize the reality of how Kpop idols really live and how they even got to where they are. When I first got into Kpop, I wanted to go live in Korea and see all these cheerful and happy and beautiful people. But as I grew up, I realized the truth about these companies and what the idols really sign up for. I never liked the Big 3 that much, just because of how fake it all seems. Smaller companies give their idols a bit more freedom like Bighit, KQ, and a few others. This doesn't mean that they don't go through all the hardships that the other idols from big companies do, it just means they don't have that huge expectation on them, yet, so they have more leeway. I found this video super interesting and it really opened my eyes to the lack of freedom and fake happiness that is showed on camera.

CAST! : Modern slaves hidding behind a mask of sugar colors and happy lyrics

dbsk06 : Wow this video FAR exceeded my expectations in its quality and presentation. After visiting Seoul as a foreigner (admittedly I haven’t been to the other cities), I can honestly say its not a place for human rights and comfort

A E : This is how Disney celebrities come to be as well

Daniel Kelling : 8:35 A minimum wage of 3.12 USD/work-hour is double what we have in Brazil today. You have to take the average costs of living into account as well, though.

Marek Stefański : Well, it turns out they are not so different than China...

Eric Hover : "The material basis that underlies pop music this excessive could only be inversely bleak." daaaaaaaamn

hallmargauti : 9:38 "Ireland" >picture of the Icelandic flag Incredibly good insight into this genre and the workings behind it though, great video.

Hubris M : Wow, sometimes the youtube's suggestions actually points to nice things!

Annalease Nolan : As someone who likes kpop, thank you for this. This is what I mean when, I, as a kpop fan say that "the kpop industry is garbage"