What defines Kpop? #2: Systematic training of singers/performers
One of the things that separates Korean record labels from western record labels is their approach at finding and cultivating their talent. The biggest management agencies, like SM Entertainment or YG, offer binding contracts to children as young as 9 years old! The trainees live together in a very protected environment until they are ready to debut.
Trainees are given extensive training in the following fields: vocals, dance choreography, foreign languages (especially English), and even media relations. They are said to invest so much in each trainee that SM Entertainment was said to have invested an average of $3 Million in a single member of the nine member group, Girls' Generation!
Of course, like any method, there are detractors who criticize this system. We have all heard such criticism, with many detractors saying that the idols, often youngsters, are overworked and have very little rights. In many cases, detractors accuse these record labels of basically forcing many trainees into surgery, insane diets, and/or other crazy demands. While we have heard this, we have also seen the stars of these record labels bring about some of the best music and dance moves.
What do you think about this system? Is it one you support or no?