Like money – k-pop music video production costs explained

In k-pop the music video is often as important as the song.  I’d even go out on a not-very-dangerous limb and say it’s a lot more important than the song in most cases, and for a bunch of different reasons, ranging from building a brand, to building interest in the performers, to product placement, to connecting to global audiences and more.  K-pop is at least as much of a visual phenomenon as it is an auditory one, this much is obvious.  What’s a little less obvious to a lot of people is how much money and effort is involved, so that’s what this post is going to discuss… hopefully in a way that doesn’t bore you to shit.

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What makes a music video “cheap” or “expensive”?  How do I tell which is which?  Attentive readers will note that one of my recent Nugu Alert posts touched on the topic of video expenses.  However I didn’t go into a lot of detail in that post, and I’ve been getting requests to write something more in-depth about music video costs ever since, so here we go.

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The differences between K-pop and western pop for those too lazy to write their own school essays

Inquiring minds wish to know the differences between Korean pop and pop from other countries.  What are the differences?  How much has one influenced the other?  Is it true that one is superior?  Why haven’t I posted any images of T-ara girls in tightly-fitting school uniforms lately?

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I keep getting asked about this type of shit so here’s another one of those posts where I wrap some vaguely educational information up in my usual snarky blogging style and shovel it down the throats of a bunch of drooling, shambling Koreaboos.  Please enjoy.*

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Nothing is real – inside instrumental production

A while I made a post that discussed various technical aspects of vocals from an audio engineering rather than a singing point of view, because inquiring k-pop loving minds wanted to know all about vocals and there really aren’t any other posts that I’ve seen out there in the k-pop fan’s world that tackle vocals from any point of view other than either a fan’s or a singing teacher’s perspective.  In the vocal post I discussed the technical ins and outs, and I also asked if people were interested in a similar post about the backing tracks and instrumentals of k-pop.  As it happens, some of you said that you would like a post like that, so here it is.  Be careful what you wish for, hey.

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Why you don’t sound like an idol – inside vocal production

There’s plenty of people these days who know all about the voice and the physiology of singing.  I guess the obsession with vocal knowledge is the cancer that idol TV shows (east and west) have inflicted on the world by continually treating music as a competition with measureable objective standards that don’t exist in reality instead of as an entertainment art.  It’s one motherfucking boring topic that I couldn’t be fucked covering, but I know a lot of people love it and do cover it which is great because it saves me the trouble.  However, how many people know about what happens after the voice leaves the throat and before it gets on a recording that you listen to?  If you’ve ever wanted to know any of that shit, this post is for you (and if you didn’t, you can stop reading now and go fap to Girl’s Day videos, bye bye).

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“My bias is a true artist, like, OMG”: music production and songwriting credits explained

It’s hard to think up any music fandom with an insecurity complex bigger than any given k-pop fandom.  People who are into k-pop (regardless of which group is their fave) can’t just seem to say “I like this bubblegum shit, because it sounds good to me, and that’s that, and if you don’t like it fuck you” – they have to constantly justify everything both to themselves and others, so they can confirm that “yes it’s socially acceptable for me to like this group”.  That’s the real motivation behind a lot of the excessive caring about vocal technique (“See?  My favourite group are talented, see? SEE?”) chart success (“Look, everyone likes them in Korea, they MUST be good!”) and awards (“They won something!  They’re so special!”) that many fans engage in.  It’s also why fans’ eyes light up with delight like twinkly little snowglobes whenever they are alerted to the rare eventuality of a cog in their favourite sculpted corporate pop music delivery machine getting a songwriting credit somewhere, and also why they then go and trot out these song credits tirelessly on forums and websites in some pathetic cyber-dick-measuring contest.

I thought it would be useful to demystify the meaning of technical terms in album credits, as well as how these terms are allocated to different people and also what it means when people co-write, so when the next media hype article comes along about artist X co-arranging song Y with producer Z, you don’t get the wrong idea about what’s really going on and you at least have some idea about what you’re stroking your e-peen about.  Because I love you guys.

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Learning relative pitch – the k-pop way

This is a music theory-related post.  I wrote it initially as an ask.fm answer to someone who asked about how to learn relative pitch.  I got halfway through and then thought to myself “fuck it – this information could be really useful so why not make a blog out of it so it’s not buried 269 pages deep in my ask.fm answers list and impossible to dig out in a month’s time.  People who are not musicians or aspiring to be musicians may struggle to understand this post and may also be incredibly fucking bored by it, and for that I apologise, but there probably isn’t a way around this to be honest.

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