Contributing writer Cream is worried for T-ara, as we all are. With the recent developments and controversies, things are only getting worse. Read her thoughts about T-ara and her reasons why they’re crumbling before our eyes.
written by: Cream
There are songs and groups out there I listen to just so I can scratch an itch, so to speak. T-ara with their whackload of earworm singles is one of them. As far as I’m concerned, the reason why they’re successful isn’t because their vocal talent is strong (let’s face it – until I actually hear the new members, the only one that carries the vocal load is Soyeon). They’re successful because every song they’ve released since “Bo Peep Bo Peep” are ridiculously addictive. Listening to them is like trying to chase a high. The more you listen, the more you need to scratch that itch.
Regardless of how I feel about their music, I still think artists should be treated with respect. That’s the only way they can truly succeed. In the past year and a half (and probably more), I think T-ara has taken more crap than the proverbial SM slave. The latest Twitter scandal among the group is just proof that until something changes, it’s going to be downhill from here on out.
1. They are being overworked
If my memory serves me well, T-ara hasn’t had a break in a very long time. Recently, Jiyeon revealed that she hasn’t been home in 4 years. For a teenage girl, that means a lot. Some time before that, members openly complained that they didn’t get to take breaks between promotions, are depressed and exhausted. Even with her ankle injured, Eunjung performed “Lovey Dovey”, a song with tons of choreography. At their Bodukan concert, Hwayoung couldn’t perform her bits because she was in a wheelchair for her own injury. Like, come on.
It’s no secret that idols are always on the go. They aren’t just musicians – they’re entertainers. Most of them end up dabbling in other parts of the entertainment industry at some point or another. Even so, most idols’ schedules are made so that they aren’t doing too many things at a time. It’s busy, but with proper breaks and management, it’s doable. Whoever manages T-ara seems to throw that out the window completely.
Not only are a few popular members (Jiyeon, Eunjung and Hyomin) doing most of the work, they push out singles like energizer bunnies gone wild (New concept? You’re welcome). This year alone they have already released two albums, with more on the way. Honestly, if Han Geng and KARA can sue their companies for being overworked and treated unfairly, then T-ara can probably make the same case. They should at this point.
2. The recent scandal is evidence of a crack in the team
From what I understand, what happened regarding the twitter scandal was that T-ara members appeared to be passive-aggressively chastising Hwayoung for not performing with them during their Budoken concert due to her injury. Predictably, netizens jumped on it and, stupidly, Core Contents Media claimed that all the members’ Twitter accounts were hacked simultaneously. Those tweets have since been deleted. There are too many different interpretations from different sites on the matter, but personally I think all those tweets are intentional because T-ara has been known to declare their woes in public (not unreasonably, I might add).
So really, most members (save for Qri and new member Ahreum) are ostracizing their own.
It goes without saying that this is just a bad show of teamwork, and teamwork is something necessary to succeed in this industry. Not only because you need to get along with the people you’re going to spend every waking hour with, but because having a solid team is good publicity, and good publicity in Korea is good business. It’s not like in the West, where any kind of publicity brings in money. Nichkhun, with his withdrawal from activities and advertisements, is a perfect example. I’m no expert on T-ara affairs, but I would think the most logical way to show discontent about a member wouldn’t be to tweet about it to millions of fans, but to talk it out like the adults they’re supposed to be.
You know those annoying Facebook friends that put up cryptic statuses that are meant to diss someone discreetly, but really just come out being immature and rude and confusing? That’s what they were doing.
Until they do some serious team building exercises and figure things out, these cracks are going to grow with each new member their company adds to the group. Ahreum is just starting out, but if the “original” members of T-ara can do this to a not-so-new member, I loathe to think what can happen to her and 14 year old member-to-be Dani.
3. CCM is insane
Anytime a CEO threatens their employees publicly you know something is up with the company. Imagine your boss telling everyone that if you put one toe out of line, it’s off to the chopping board. That’s essentially what CEO Kim Kwangsoo did earlier this year, when they were announcing the new changes to the member line-up. Big bully, much? Now Big Kim is going to release a statement on July 30 about this Twitter thing, and we can bet it’s going to be more than just “a word” about their behaviour. You don’t need CEOs to release statements about your artists’ bad behaviour. Stop mixing personal with business.
Frankly, I don’t think CCM knows what they’re doing. As a company, they’ve been all over the place with their idol groups. Do any of you remember Co-ed School and 5dolls? And the name of that boy group/boy half of Co-ed and their mind-baffling remake of “Lovey-Dovey”? They have all disappeared off the map before they even had the proper chance to start. It seems CCM has scrapped them off their roster of artists (I bet Chanmi regrets leaving SM now) and are focusing on working T-ara to the bone.
They’ve essentially put all their idol eggs in one basket, which makes both the company and the artists vulnerable. This results in what I talked about earlier: overworked artists and fragmented teams.
I think we can all agree that the music industry is volatile and hard to succeed in. T-ara, with all their ridiculously addictive rifts and eyebrow-raising concepts, is a group that has been able to transform on a whim to catch the trends. Even so, with the amount of crap they have to deal with, they’re going to break soon if there isn’t a core change behind the scenes. Like I said earlier, artists and trainees should be treated with respect. As far as I’m concerned, that’s how they truly succeed. T-ara, with all their strengths and flaws, should be entitled to that, at the very least.