The Power that Turned Crisis into an Opportunity—JYJ’s New Challenge
Not long ago, the viewers bulletin of KBS Music Bank was very bustling. The official announcement that KBS posted after the demands of the viewers and the broadcast company were firmly put against each other on the issue of having the popular group JYJ appear on a public television’s music program had been the root of the problem.
As for why JYJ is excluded not only from appearing on broadcast but also having their work counted for the K-chart, on the 18th KBS pointed to “the societal problem called a lawsuit” and “the danger of harming the development and order of the culture industry.” However, already in 2010 the court has recognized that the Subordinating Contract between SM and JYJ (Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu) were unilaterally disadvantageous to JYJ and is null and void. Further, last February, the court has even recognized that SM has interfered with JYJ’s activities despite the contract being null and void and has even issued an order for indirect compulsory performance. In a word, JYJ’s position is that there are no problems with regards to the legal issues.
Furthermore, in the case of JYJ who is even active as an honorary ambassadors for the Korean Wave, they are already the top stars of the Korean Wave and is creating innumerable added value for the Korean Wave, and therefore “the danger of harming the development and order of the culture industry” seems extremely low. On the contrary, actually, when considering the countless fans of the Korean Wave who enter Korea to see their performance and the products that they consume, the aspect that argues that JYJ is contributing to the development of the culture of Korea’s Korean Wave is stronger.
Despite this, the situation is currently such that one cannot meet JYJ not merely on music programs such as Music Bank but also variety programs. A bit ago there was an incident in which the appearance in “Come to Play” by team of MBC’s new Monday-Tuesday drama “Miss Ripley” had fallen through. The problem was that the broadcast company had expressed repeatedly that the appearance of Park Yoochun, one of the leads, caused consternation. An unheard-of situation in which MBC’s representative entertainment news program did not cover the shooting of the posters and the production press conference of “Miss Ripley” even took place. This was because of broadcast companies that are looking to cater to the mega-entertainment agencies.
The music industry which is already conquered by idols is more and more becoming conquered by the mega-entertainment agencies that have many of such idols. The well-known agencies of Korea have come to have even mightier power in the music circulation and service industry through KMP Holdings which they erected together. Furthermore, the instances in which they use the appearance or the lack of appearance of the idols as a point of advantage in their power struggle with broadcast companies have increased.
The reality of the modern music industry is that in order to make the public aware of the song, the person needs to come onto a variety program and perform vocal mimicry acts more so than singing their songs by holding concerts and going on music programs. In this reality and in between these mega-entertainment agencies that have armed themselves with idols, JYJ is unable to obtain even the chance to sing their songs.
What turned around this crisis into an opportunity is the power of JYJ. In order to promote their songs themselves and to meet with fans, they have planned the JYJ World Tour 2011. This is not merely an Asia Tour which had taken place even in their TVXQ days. Rather, they are also proceeding with a tour of the North American regions (Vancouver, Canada; New Jersey, Los Angeles, and San Jose, USA) and beginning a new challenge as Korean artists.
In particular, this world tour has gathered much eyes and attention because one of members Kim Jaejoong took charge as executive director and has packed itself with the songs of the best of the producers both domestic and abroad such as Kanye West and Kim Hyungsuk and self-made songs. Jaejoong is directing a performance that surpasses that of a Korean Wave star who shows a great performance on stage but rather a performance that is created by the participation of the artists themselves.
In fact, in the concerts in Vancouver on May 20 and in New Jersey on May 22, the footsteps of the fans who were of a variety of races and ages were ceaseless. The staff that participated in the performance were also on the level of international renown. AEG Live which had taken the executive responsibility for the concerts of the top international pop artists such as Celine Dion and Bon Jovi took charge of promotions and the internationally renowned choreographer and director Jerry Slaughter took charge of the executive directing for the North American concerts.
Javier Alcaraz, who participated as a staff for the Vancouver concert as a sound engineer, said: “I became enamored with JYJ’s singing ability. I am in anticipation for what they will show in the remainder of the tour.” Praise from the affiliates of the concert continued– Brian Jerkins, the lighting engineer of the New Jersey concert, said: “JYJ is a group that is bursting with talent. The appeal and charisma of each member were well-displayed in this concert.”
As such, it is clearly not the case that the musical capabilities is related to the ban on their appearances on television. The people who wish to stand on the stage of Korea through music the most should be JYJ themselves. KBS contradicted itself on the 19th, saying that “the appearance is decided by whether an album is released” and that “the selection of the appearing cast is at the sole discretion of the production crew.” Through this, if JYJ were to release a new album their appearance has become something that is entirely possible according to the demands of the viewers and the preferences of the public.
Of course, it is not a desirable situation to have one visit the foreign stages more often because it is difficult to appear on domestic music programs. An artist must meet the public through his music and abilities rather than any other factor and the evaluation of him must also follow suit. As long as the fans who consume their music exist, the demands to have JYJ appear on television will continue for the time being. Furthermore, JYJ who is ceaselessly growing as musicians by continually challenging themselves, have an obligation to stand in front of the fans with their much-matured music.
JYJ who is growing from an Asian star to a world star and musician. In this environment in which their appearance on a domestic program is difficult, every single day must feel a new challenge for them. Above all, JYJ and fans are waiting ardently that the day comes in which JYJ can meet the fans and the public with their own music on a music program in Korea.