Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ask a Korean! News: TV & Radio Producers Arrested for Taking Bribes from Singers

Say it ain't so! Translation below:

The police arrested 29 people, including the head of a cable television and a local radio producer who received bribes from emerging pop singers for doctoring the pop song chart, arranging for TV appearances and introducing other producers. On the 21st, Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency arrested four TV producers, including the head of a cable television station who received $150,000 [TK: assuming $1 = KRW 1,000] from one hundred new artists between April and May of last year, on the charge of bribery.

The police also arrested 12 producers of a radio station who received $50,000 from 20 new singers in exchange for playing their songs more than once a week and up to four times a day. Also arrested were six officials from another radio station, who falsified the "Songs Played" chart to include songs that were never played.

The police also arrested the manager of the website that displays the rankings of the number of times a song was played in the national radio stations for receiving $400,000, as well as six singers and managers who offered the money. According to the police investigation, the manager of the website received bribes from seven emerging pop artists since 2007 in exchange for managing the chart rankings and advertisement, which includes have a new artist to stay within the top 10 of the chart for six months in exchange for $38,000. In order to raise the ranks, the manager collected data from local radio stations instead of the radio stations designated by the Korean Music Copyright Association. This way, a song that was never played in a national radio station was shown on the chart to have been played up to eight times a day.

Captain Kim Min-Ho of Second Investigations Team at IMPA said: "The rumors among the emerging artists that they had to pay the producers to have their songs played on air have largely turned out to be true," and added, "we plan to continue our investigation on the corruption surrounding the entertainment industry."

PD가 돈 받고 가요차트 순위 조작 [Dong-A Ilbo]

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  1. I think this is awesome. My impression from news articles, especially recently, is that Korea seems to be making a seriously concerted effort to crack down on corruption among all levels of society, from government to sports to entertainment. To be honest, I think most Americans like me just expect that record companies and radio/television programs meet to arrange which songs will be popular, and that a lot of money changes hands (perhaps more in the form of gifts than cash, though). To be honest, I never even really considered that it might be illegal. But reading this article - thanks for translating, btw - makes me realize that of course it's unethical, and I find it heartening to see the police taking it seriously!

  2. I expect this is the first Payola scandal in what may become a long list.

  3. I'm late to the party here, as it's been an unfortunate amount of time since I last visited this awesome blog.

    Regarding this issue, notice we never get told which groups were participating in this, so the guilty are protected.

    However this activity happens at much higher levels, as well. Even groups (one in particular) that were formerly very popular are very obviously paying off the producers of shows like KBS Music Bank to doctor the weekly charts. Hankyoreh bloggers have done some investigatory pieces on it. And even Korea's largest music entertainment industry is mostly buying the popularity of its artists these days, but since it's also paying off parts of the Koran government and most of the media, it will never be revealed. It's startlingly obvious to anyone living in Korea who's paying attention. The office of a government official who promised to end entertainment industry slave contracts during his campaign is now officially sponsoring the worst propagator of those same contracts.

    So while I guess it's nice that a few newbie groups got knocked down, I imagine it was done on the orders of the non-newbie groups' representatives. The ridiculous dominance of the big entertainment companies through unfair and illegal means continues unabated, now even aided financially by the Korean government.


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