K-pop industry and Korean Wave generated over US$5 billion in 2018

Posted on : 2020-03-15 14:56 KST Modified on : 2020-03-15 14:56 KST
Cultural industry sales up, but average pay for artists decreases compared to 2016
The K-pop group Super Junior performing in Japan. (provided by SM Entertainment)
The K-pop group Super Junior performing in Japan. (provided by SM Entertainment)

Total sales from South Korea’s cultural and art industries sales have exceeded 6 trillion won (US$4.96 billion) amid the global Korean Wave, studies show.

A report on the “2019 popular culture and industry situation” published on Mar. 11 by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) and Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) estimated total South Korean cultural and art industry sales for 2018 at 6.42 trillion won (US$5.31 billion). The number was up by 19.5% from 5.37 trillion won (US$4.44 billion) in 2016. Overseas sales in particular accounted for 874.2 billion won (US$723.41 million) of the total amount, an increase of 68.9% from 517.5 billion won (US$428.28 million) in 2016.

Average monthly income for individuals working in the popular arts was calculated at 1.8 million won (US$1,490), down slightly from 1.83 million won (US$1,515) in 2016. But income specifically from culture and the arts (not including other income) averaged 1.28 million won (US$1,060), up from 1.15 million won (US$952.20) in 2016. Average monthly income for production staff workers was 2.4 million won (US$1,987), a substantial increase from the 2.16 million won (US$1,788) recorded in 2016.

The total number of artists affiliated with major entertainment agencies was calculated at 9,141, a 13.4% increase from 8,059 in 2016. By area, the largest number were vocalists/dancers at 4,003 (43.8%), followed by actors at 3,422 (37.4%), models at 693 (7.6%), comedians at 188 (2.1%), and other professions such as voice actors and creators at 835 (9.1%).

A total of 1,671 trainees were calculated for 319 companies, an increase of 16% from 1,440 in 2016. The vast majority of them -- 1,204 performers, or 72.1% -- were aspiring singers. The percentage of businesses employing standard exclusive contracts with their affiliated artists stood at 94.9%, up significantly from 84.0% in 2016. The percentage of production staff employed through written contracts was also up to 73.6%, compared to 66.5% in 2016. The study focused on 3,704 popular culture and art-related businesses and 1,242 employees. Details concerning the report can be found on the KOCCA website at www.kocca.kr.

By Noh Hyung-seok, staff reporter

Please direct comments or questions to [english@hani.co.kr]

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