K-pop business model in danger
The author is a culture critic.
Itamar Simoson, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business who has utilized behavioral studies by psychologists Ams Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in his research on consumer behavior and marketing, has decided to abandon his work. He has admitted the previous ways of marketing no longer work.
Absolute value now quantifies how well a product meets customer needs. Consumers no longer buy products based on the information primarily fed by the designer or producer of a service or product. Only when there is value to the individuals do they decide to use the product or service.
Mobile culture has brought about the change.
Intelligence, information and content today are distributed and consumed through social media. The new media environment benefits South Korea with limited access and connection in content distribution. K-pop was able to build global fanbase without going through the usual American, British and Japanese distribution structures. Global fans found absolute value in K-pop different from sensational Western pop and inward and isolationist Japanese music. Finding positiveness in difficult situations and good in others have helped to turn dejection to hope. K-pop songs encourage individuals to love themselves and build their identity. They are more loved and recommended by parents.
K-pop stars have a different philosophy and perspective towards fans. Western pop culture has been led by artists, whereas K-pop was built and evolved around fans. The perspective centered on artists force their thoughts and message. But K-pop delivers what fans wish to hear. It prizes connection and exchanges with fans.
BTS connects with fans through social media regularly apart from fan meetings. Myth-like artists no longer sell. Idols have turned into the boy or girl next door. They do not pose as stars, but more like avatars for their fans. Their success is due entirely to their fans and everyday become a part of their stories.
K-pop songs cannot be explained by relative value, but through absolute value. K-pop brought together fans using social media to build their stage.
But the business strategy and marketing approach so far have been worrisome.
Some platforms have added pay services. When fees are charged, more may be asked of artists and fans could become discontented. Behavioral economics shows much research pointing to different areas where money should get involved. If communication between artists and fans become commercialized, a backlash could be inevitable.
Pricey goods and merchandising can also irk fans. Artists won’t like doing business with their fans. They must not suffer psychological and financial pain just because they are loved. The separation of artists and business strategy is upsetting the K-pop culture based on fans. The company behind a star group facing a military conscription issue has acted differently from the wishes of artists and fans to cause controversy. A big game company joining a fan community platform caused controversy.
Business has come to overwhelm K-pop content. K-pop has been loved by the world because of its unique attitude towards fans and matching behavior. It also has proactively and wittingly adopted and developed a new international trend.
Even without mentioning the importance of environmental, social and corporate governance, business must be in line with original K-pop culture. Outright commercialism to capitalize on fandoms also does not meet global standards. William Shakespeare said, “The purest treasure mortal times afford is spotless reputation.”