JYJ3’s note: The writer, Professor Lee Dong Yeon, teaches cultural theory at the Korean National University of the Arts. He has played a huge role in the creation of Korean Pop Music Awards and had written a book titled ‘Idols’. He is currently writing a 10-part series on the current state to Kpop: its creation and consumption, its industrialized nature, as well as its music and the ins and outs behind the scenes. The first part of his 10-part series was about JYJ and SM, which JYJ3 had translated into these 3 parts: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Go, Music’s Frankenstein
(Parts unrelated to JYJ omitted)
There were many suggested activities that JYJ can carry out since they left TVXQ. Professor Lee Dong Yeon called this “the recovery of one’s freedom to decide his or her activities.” Unlike the years when they had to carry out their activities according to SM’s one-sided schedule, they have the power to decide their own activities. They are making music and producing on their own now, hence they want to be called artistes.
The contract period with TVXQ is 13 years. Aren’t they the same as the industry’s “slaves”? JYJ survived as musicians, not avatars, artistes and not designed products. The fandom is one of the deciding factors for them. The industry is complicated and twisted; hence it is completely impossible to find a solution. The only way to change this frustrating situation is the active attitudes of JYJ’s fans and consumers.
JYJ Waiting For Visible Changes
There is a possibility that the industrialization of the music industry is inevitable. Kpop’s international qualitative or quantitative growth phenomenon today is indebted to the thorough capitalism of music. Also, the harsh training likened to “child abuse” that Kpop stars went through since young gave them the music foundation. However, no matter how outstanding the foundation is, how accurately the music suits the public’s taste, there is still a limit to music that lacks soul right?
A musician is the music’s producer, instead of the product. It may be possible for the future of Kpop to be dependent on the change and transformation that JYJ is showing.