K-Pop - How to Properly Support your Favorite Artist

Many people ask how to properly support an artist, specially since the ways to support Idols and Singers are inherently different. In this artice, let's see all the ways you can support any given artist, and which are more helpful to singers and to Idols alike. 

Idols and Singers

Singers are talented singers (they might have started as Idols and underwent training to find that talent) who focus on their music. Image is not important for them, their music is. Sure, some are pretty and have awesome images, and are natural Idols, but the main difference is that they are not really that interested in having a "perfect" image, rather, they prefer to just do music or whatever they like.

Idols are "created" and trained to be "perfect" models that inspire people: Idols. Their image is everything and engagement is important to increase their brand value and get sponsors and endorsements. Music, shows, social media and appearances are how they increase their engagement, but the real money comes from endorsements - they can't live without it, which is very stressful. Most Idols will be attending college and getting ready for life "after Idol life". But don't exclude Idols just yet: they can still grow to be big singers, actors or models too. Just because they started being trained don't mean they don't have real talent.

Purchasing Songs (or listening it on streaming services)

While certainly a big source of income, its not the biggest, specially for Idols. Listening to your artist songs, be it purchasing it, listening on streaming services or even Youtube, works more as a show of support and interest than a big economical incentive - that is, unless the artist manages to sell seriously big numbers. It can also improve exposition if the song/artist manages to climb on real time charts, but that only converts into some extra listeners, which isn't that big of a deal. The infamous "Music Chart Manipulation" that from time to time comes to media attention is mostly artists who did not manage to chart trying to blame bad faith for their own failures, because it is costly, time consuming and in the end not really profitable to manipulate these charts.

Value: Fair for Idols (more exposition than profit), Good for Singers.

Purchasing Merchandise

It is an obvious choice, and you get to keep a physical memento of your artist, but it actually doesn't support that much. A lot of the price goes to the manufacturing and involved agencies and, usually, this is more an extra than main source of income.

Value: None. You purchase it for yourself, but the artist profits little to nothing.

Voting/participating on Music Show Awards

There are plenty of music shows that will prize artists weekly. These shows seldom offer any economic benefit, and are a lot more important for exposition than anything else, specially the ones where the artist is required to attend. It is a good way to show support and engagement, but it won't convert in direct profit, even if it drives people to check out why someone is doing good in an award or show. Awards are cool and can increase exposition, but will do only so much for the artist.

Value: None for singers, Small for Idols.

Getting involved on official fandoms

Official Fan clubs are usually an activity performed to satiate the most demanding fans, and can incur in more cost than profit for the artists. If the artist is interested in interacting with their fans, its good, but it serves mostly as a personal benefit for both artist and fan than anything else. For idols it can show engagement, but even then, it exists to appease the fans, not to actually profit or add exposition.

Value: Personal

Engaging in social media

This is a tricky one, because engagement can be negative too. However, as the saying goes, "talk bad about me, but at least talk about me". For Idols its important to be talked about and mentioned, because their main income are endorsements, and they require exposition and brand value to get the best ones, so engagement in social media is very important, even if people are being mean (don't do it, artists are people too, they make mistakes, and the life of an Idol is extremely stressful already). Subscribing to their feeds and sometimes dropping a like or comment can help a lot their exposition, which will eventually be converted in endorsements. 

Value: Extremely valuable, specially for Idols

Concerts and Shows

Endorsements and sponsors are the number one income for Idols, but Concerts are certainly on the high end, and number one for singers. The more shows and the more people who attend, the better, it is not only direct profit, but it also adds a lot of exposition, which is then important for endorsements. 

Value: Very valuable

Endorsements and sponsors

Unless you are working for a big company and can nudge them to use a certain artist as their image/spokesperson and endorse the product (or sponsor the artist), fans can't really directly influence these deals - or can they? By keeping the brand value of an artist high (engagement in social media, getting them awards, participating in shows, anything that shows you are interested in them), you will make companies be interested in the artist too, after all, when choosing someone to represent your product, choosing the one that is being talked about and loved by the people is the way to go. To help artists with this, at least pretend you like when they post paid content (merchandising) on their feeds, like their blatant display of a product, and most importantly, don't hate them for doing that: this is one of the most important source of income, and sometimes they have no other choice but do it (contract obligations). The big money for Idols comes from this, they are groomed to have a great image so that companies will seek their endorsements or sponsor them, so show some respect for their job and don't be offended that they are trying to "sell you" something. Its just how it works.

Value: Where the real money comes in. The motherload of value.

What NOT to do

Don't hate. Don't Bully, Don't be an ass. Artists expose themselves to the public as part of their job, but they are people too, and they do feel when you attack them. Try to separate the character the artist "plays" from the person behind it: you can get mad at the character, but please leave the person alone. Also, if you are lucky enough to meet them in real life, give them space and respect their privacy, they will like you more for that, and happy artists create the best art and moments.