A meeting was hosted by several government officials on February 4th at one of SM Entertainment’s branches, where Minister Yoo laid out his plans for promoting and spreading Korean music across the borders. He appointed DBSK,Wonder Girls, Rain, Big Bang, and SNSD as ambassadors, although not all members were present at the meeting.
One of the main goals on the minister’s agenda is to establish a qualified, creditable Korean music chart, like USA’s Billboards, Great Britain’s UK, and Japan’s Oricon charts. Minister Yoo and his team of experts will also develop and reconfigure award fields and criteria, methods of in-depth judging and reviews, and figure out how to operate the new Kpop chart to launch something like “Korea’s Grammy Awards” as well.
Over the next 5 years, up to 127,500,000,000 Won out of the treasury will be committed to the project. That’s over 92 million dollars! This just goes to show how serious they are. Forget globalization, they’re making war on all the other music industries of the world. Part of the money (about 7 million USD) are already being used to remodel the MoonHwa Contest Hall and theOlympic Hall in Seoul; the revamped buildings will be ready to use (ie for concerts) by December of this year. All because the stadiums aren’t flashy and fancy enough as of now.
That’s not all. As some of you may know, 2-year military service in Korea is compulsory. Many bands have been broken up or forced to delay activities due to the required military service (think Shinhwa), although some artists such as Kim Jong Kook have made successful comebacks even after disappearing from the entertainment scene for two years.Minister Yoo is thinking of allowing artists to delay their service indefinitely or even skip out completely. The minister’s point is that he needs the young stars while they’re still young and talented, to be able to take on busy schedules, unhindered by age. Understandably many Korean citizen have protested his proposal, claiming that making exceptions can lead to big problems, and that as idols they should be setting good examples by doing their duty to their country. All the more reason to become a celebrity, I guess.