#J-Pop
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Why Don't Idol Groups Work In America?
In Japan and Korea, idols are a huge deal. The fandoms surrounding idols and idol groups are massive, with a ton of merch, lingo, events, etc surrounding the entertainers. So why isn't that happening in America? The UK tried it out with One Direction and we have a few girl groups like Fifth Harmony and Little Mix, but for the most part the classic pop group ensemble faded away in the early 2000s. Here are a few reasons why it might not work: I'm not saying either opinion is correct - just stating how the general public views celebrities in America vs Korea/Japan. I'm not an expert on either so please share your opinions as well! 1. The Concept of Being An Idol Sure, celebrities in the US know that they are role models, but do they really take this as their job?! In Japan and Korea, a single slip up can mean public humiliation (such as when an AKB48 member had a boyfriend - she had to shave her head as an apology) while in America celebrities insist on their personal rights to do whatever they want. In their opinion, just because you're a celebrity doesn't mean you aren't allowed a personal life. They should be able to be in the lime light but also have a lot of personal life that shouldn't be judged by the public, In Japan/Korea, every aspect of an entertainers life is analyzed and people know that is just part of the job. You must be a model citizen at all times and any bad behaviour (whether its on or off camera) is bad for your company, your career, and your fans. 2. Company Loyalty In America, we know the big companies like Warner, Sony, etc, but we rarely pay attention to what label each artist is on. And even if they're on the same label they don't really work together so its hard for fans to be loyal to one company. The closest I think we can get to that is waaay back with Motown Records or more recently the bands that came out on Fueled By Ramen. Smaller hip hop labels still keep this group style too! We could actually see the connection the artists had on those labels and could support the label as well as the artists. Now in Korea, we all know that companies are a big deal. YG Family, JYP, Cube, SM, etc. They do things together like concerts, Christmas songs, etc. We are able to anticipate the company's new project or collaboration. It's easier for the fans to get hyped over multiple groups at once. 3. Pre-Packaged In America, bands are usually put together by the band members. Whether they start in a garage or they put up flyers to find members, it is the band that forms first, then the label that signs them. In Korea and Japan however, we have a TON of trainees all hoping to be perfectly placed in a group. Think of the show Produce! Perfect example of prepackaging :) One Direction is an example of that happening where the boys were somewhat put together by a label, but musical and personality differences got in the way :/ 4. Training Idols train a LOT. Sure, in America entertainers practice, train, get vocal lessons, learn new instruments, get prepped for interviews etc but they are not forced to practice for 12 hours a day. Living in dorms without cell phones or internet, being forced to learn languages, dances, public speaking, etc - its totally normal in the idol world. Because of this, idols should be pretty prepared for anything. I'm not so sure American entertainers would be up for this style of training. Can you think of other reasons why the "idol" style of the music industry doesn't work in America?