For a while now I have been musing with writing a very accusatory article about musicians in Korea, in particular western English teachers who come here and find out that they can also be rockstars whilst filling in their 30 hours a week in a hagwon – I was one of these two. So instead of actually losing a lot of friends, I’m going to try and raise awareness and encourage people that music in Korea is a great opportunity to become something else, to build talent, to learn mistakes, and of course to just make the music scene better.
Of course, problems with the music scene in Korea don’t just start with westerners who are trying to have a bit of fun, they go much deeper than that. I’ve reposted an article from Yonhap News, the Korean news service, that highlights the significant problems that Korean bands suffer from in an industry that is full of publicity for one particular kind of music, pop music or K-pop, and leaves all others struggling to find their own way of publicity. By ignoring other genres of music, the media (not in this case obviously, I meant the broader scheme) creates the impression that Korean people only listen to K-pop! Which is like say that Irish people only eat potatoes – which is ridiculous because I remember having rice once when I was nine.
By Niels Footman
SEOUL, Dec. 10
Speaking in a cable TV documentary in January about Sogyumo Acacia Band, for whom she is the lead singer, Song provided a stark reminder that however vibrant Korea’s TV shows and pop culture have become in recent years, life for the country’s indie musicians remains extremely onerous.
Nor was hers the only tale of hardship among Korea’s indie musicians to make news this year. Following the death of Lee Jin-won, the singer with indie band Moonlight Nymph, from a heart attack in early November, stories soon emerged of the serious financial difficulties he had reportedly faced toward the end of his life.