I know that this has been going on for a long time, but I have been noticing the increasing trend of name dropping in K-pop. The latest of these instances came when YGE released info on Big Bang’s upcoming “Alive” world tour. They released a list of notables that will be working with them to help make the tour possible which includes: Leroy Bennett who has worked with Madonna and Paul McCartney; Ken Van Druten, who has worked with Jay-Z, Linkin Park and Eminem; and Laurieann Gibson who has worked with just about everyone, including Lady Gaga and all of the Making the Band crews. Can we say “Boom-Kack,” anyone?
As cool as it is to see all these artists collaborating with the who-is-who’s of the entertainment industry, it begins to come off as a little too try-hard. This is in reference to K-pop companies in general, as well as other major music producers across the globe. I get it. It’s mainly for the attention that such opportunities can give to a group, but does working with a person who has worked with a megastar equate to getting the same performance and results for said group? Usually not. I think people would be more impressed if an act put on a jaw dropping performance directed by a no-name rather than getting a mediocre performance directed by a big name director.
The funny thing about all of this is that there seems to be a competition going on amongst K-pop companies. If one does something another has to be bigger and better.It all just seems like an ego trip of who can out perform the other. It’s the stuff fan wars are made of. When the Wonder Girls became the first Korean group to appear on the Billboard 100 charts, JYPE was praised to the high heavens. Then they performed on So You Think You Can Dance to become the first idol group to perform on a U.S. primetime show, as well as the daytime talk show, The Wendy Williams Show. SM responded by getting SNSD a spot on Letterman and Live! With Kelly, two very popular shows in both night time and daytime TV. In the latter half of 2011, SM held their SM Town concerts in a few hotspots worldwide; but then Cube wanted a piece of the action as well, and they announced Beast’s world tour, which would have even more stops then SM’s. Then YGE couldn’t take it sitting down and announced Big Bang’s even bigger world tour, which would trump all previous K-pop tours and boast not only more stops, but even bigger names.
My point is this: if the material you provide is good, there’s no need to attach extra attention. Just have faith that the material that’s put out will speak for itself. Audiences don’t need extra fluff — they just want good music.