What managers actually do behind the scenes

Article: Do you know how hard it is to get on a music program?

Source: OSEN via Nate + Naver

Detailed look at the role that managers play in securing singers slots on music shows.


There are a string of rookie idols that always open up every music show. The public, however, remains cold. The music is all the same, they all look the same, and they're easy for the public to ridicule for coming out in groups with no distinction from the other.

But if you look at the reality they face, they actually beat the odds closely comparable to a sperm meeting an egg in order to stand on that very stage. You're not guaranteed a spot on a music show just because you've released an album. It's all in how fast and how hard your manager can peddle for you.

Every Monday morning at around 10 a.m., the coffee shop in front of KBS is bustling with managers from the nation's top agencies. Some are at CEO level while others already have seven to eight years of experience stashed under their belts. From top agencies to 'nugu' producers, there's a wide array of them gathered and it's all for none other than to meet the 'Music Bank' PD.

The PD himself is busy dashing in and out of meetings and sitting down with producers so the managers end up waiting an average of three hours in the coffee shop. If you're a senior in the industry, you get the perk of being able to meet him first... but three hours of waiting will barely get you five minutes of a face to face chat. Even managers from bigger companies aren't an exception.

Even if their artists are already confirmed for a slot on the show, they'll still make sure to be there 'out of respect'.

Bigger companies can easily secure a slot for both their regular and rookie artists for up to 7~8 weeks of straight promotions. They've already developed a friendship with the PD and they can use their regular artists as leverage to strike up a deal for their rookie artists.

The problem is with the smaller agencies. They have no foundation and thus must rely on shelling out big money to hire expensive managers who have more experience in the field. PDs have caught on to this tactic, though, and have started to call them 'promotional managers'. They reject to see them outright.

Starting Tuesday, the battle officially begins. 'Music Bank' sets up the foundation for the rest of the week as music shows confirm who has earned a slot and when. Middle to lower end agencies can't do anything but wait by their phones. They'll hear of another company receiving the long-awaited call, and if they don't receive that same call, it means they didn't land a slot on the show.

The question most often asked among managers is, "Did you get the call?"

Managers pay the most attention to 'Music Bank', 'Music Core', 'Inkigayo', and 'M! Countdown'. All week long, they're basically focused on grabbing a chance to meet with the various PDs. Articles about artists performing on such and such show may seem frivolous to the public, but it's basically a show of power within the industry.

The bigger companies don't have it that much easier just because they've secured a slot. Their managers must now fight to earn more minutes for a comeback stage and in which order they'll be able to perform. This is considered the barometer that measures just how well a manager performs his job.

If you see a top star who is producing his own rookie group suddenly come out on variety shows, it's 100% because he hopes to secure a slot on a music show for them. The TV shows can make much use of his top star image, just like how he himself can use the TV show to promote his group. Even musicians who've never been on TV out of shyness or pride will succumb to the system and perform as asked for the camera.

As for the producers? Their dilemma is with time. There is only a limited amount of time and they have to work to ensure that they can show as many groups as possible, which sometimes means taking cuts out of other songs. It's also become increasingly difficult to invite top artists, on top of the stagnant viewer ratings posing a problem. One program even resorted to bringing back its ranking system.

It's understandable that the public would feel tired with the constant rush of new singers who look the same as the last. But it's worth at least acknowledging the obstacles they had to go through to even get to stand on that stage. Think about the manager who's standing behind that stage, shedding tears of joy as he finally gets to watch his artist perform. Who knows, you might be able to come away with a new favorite singer or two.

1. [+673, -13] Are the idols the only ones that have it hard? Non-celebrities have it hard too. Everyone works their butt off for opportunities but the article makes it sound as if idols are facing some life crisis. We all suffer to achieve our dreams.

2. [+583, -34] That's why YG just doesn't go

3. [+519, -9] Sperm and an egg ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

4. [+509, -9] We can't help it if the songs suck

5. [+395, -2] We cherish the 90s idols and are nostalgic for them now only because there weren't that many idol groups back then. Now, it's become much too common and none of the songs stand out. That means years from now, we won't remember or care about them anyway.

6. [+324, -9] It's because they get on shows by bribing and sucking up to PDs that the shows are filled with dancers and lip syncers. Don't bother... there are many indie kids who are more talented.

7. [+252, -4] I highly doubt any of them actually dreamt of becoming 'singers'... More like instant entertainers.

8. [+179, -5] Kind of hilarious to me that the show barely records 3% in viewer ratings and yet the PD acts like he's some big shot, getting his dinners paid for, accepting bribes... Ugh.

9. [+129, -8] I was always curious about how the system worked... This article explained it well.

10. [+74, -1] The lyrics of the older idol songs really felt like they represented the teen generation... but these days, lyrics are nothing but let's date, i love you, let's break up, oppa this, nuna that...