Since late January, the entire world has been turned upside down because of COVID-19, and South Korea has been no exception. The country was among the first to be affected by the virus outside of China, and while the situation has slowly improved, the virus undoubtedly affected all corners of Koreans’ daily lives – even those in the K-Pop industry!
Perhaps you’ve been keeping up, but we’ve decided to round up the different ways COVID-19 continues to affect the Korean music industry – and the number of creative solutions they’ve been able to come up with.
Cancelled Concerts & Tours
Starting mid-February, popular K-Pop acts like BTS, TWICE, MONSTA X began cancelling their scheduled tour dates both domestically and abroad as the virus continued to spread and expand to other regions. This also included festivals like KCON in places like Dubai and New York City.
Clockwise from left: Olleh TV, Big Hit Entertainment, EXO
Donations & Charity Events
A number of idols also began donating anything they could to their communities – whether it was money or various health supplies like gloves, masks, soaps, and antiviral hand sanitizers. Even fans pitched in to help their favorite idols’ hometowns overcome the virus!
K-Pop artists have also been appearing as a part of a number of charity online concerts and events to help raise money for the COVID-19 cause. Back in April, for example, MAMAMOO, April, Kim Jaehwan, and B.O.Y came together for ‘Live K Concert,’ which raised money for humanitarian organization GoodNeighbors.
Delayed Debuts & Comebacks
As social distancing became a more important safety measure, many agencies decided to hold off on their artists’ comebacks and debuts. Among the most well-known is YG Entertainment’s decision to delay BLACKPINK’s comeback, which was originally scheduled for March, to late June.
Empty Music Show Recordings
To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, broadcasting stations began recording television programs without an audience, including music shows like ‘Inkigayo,’ ‘The Show,’ and ‘Show! Music Core.’
When GFRIEND performed for an empty studio while shooting ‘Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook,’ MC Yoo Heeyeol cheered the girls up by sitting in an audience chair and excitedly clapping and cheering from his seat.
After cancelling concerts for some time, the K-Pop industry finally switched to offering special online concerts, where fans all over the world could purchase tickets to see acts like NCT 127, Super Junior, ASTRO, and more. Starting from June 20 – 26, Mnet will also be hosting an alternative to their KCON festival. KCON:TACT will be held via YouTube anwill feature ATEEZ, VICTON, Chungha, (G)I-DLE, IZ*ONE, TXT, LOONA, MONSTA X, GFRIEND, and more!
Online Fan Meetings & Signings
COVID-19 has not stopped groups from finding creative ways to keep up with fan interaction! AB6IX celebrated their 1st debut anniversary, for example, with an online ‘ABiversary’ fan meeting, where they performed songs, played games, and greeted their fanclub via VLIVE.
Idols also arranged special online ‘fansigns’ where lucky fans would win a chance to talk to them via video or phone chat. Check out a video of WINNER’s adorable ‘Remember’ online fansign above!
Clockwise from top-left: VICTON’s Instagram, Sunmi’s Instagram, MTV ‘The Show’s Twitter, ASTRO’s Instagram
The ‘Thanks To’ Challenge
Celebrities across Korea have been using social media to promote the country’s ‘Thanks To’ challenge, offering their gratitude to medical professionals helping communities fight COVID-19.
Similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge, idols have been posing with a special thumbs up gesture then tagging their friends in the industry, asking them to keep the ‘Thanks To’ trend going!
How has COVID-19 affected your favorite idol’s schedule? How have you been staying safe?
Let us know in the comments!
by the theQoos