Mnet’s “Produce” might possibly be the most popular and watch survival shows to find new idol groups. The fourth season of this survival show just premier like two days ago. The first season established the IOI team who stay together for only like 6 months, the “third season” was unique in that it was in collaboration with Japan’s AKB48 and only 96 people were in competition to be on the band Izone. The second season was arguably the most sucessful, the band Wanna One was very popular inside Korea, even beating out TWICE in Forbes Power List 2018 and beating out Red Velvet and EXO on this year Forbes Power List 2019. But after Wanna One explosive success, Mnet seems to be getting a little greedy. Wanna One contract was only like one year together, this time around though the winning team will get a 5 year contract instead! To me, after reading some comments online, I now think that’s it actually a horrible idea that can ruined idol dreams for a couple reasons.
1) Producers was meant to find a “temporary” group to expose the trainees to the public so that they can have successful careers for themselves and for their agency when they are back
The five year contract is basically almost like a regular idol contract (although those are usually 7 years+). I guess it’s not absolutely “5 years” because after 2.5 years, the group can split and have a rotation in which let’s say 5/11 members go back to their agency and “redebut” and then switch with the remaining 6 after a few months. In the meantime the remaining 6 will still promote the group. That’s still a longtime, espcially if the group is not the second coming of Wanna One. You might say that’s the same if they were to debut for their company and not make it big, but that’s a tad different because this Producers show is suppose to be a “side project” a way for you to get name recognition. Spending your whole career on a side project is not really, worth it. Not only that, it’s a tad unfair to the entertainment agency who spends a lot of time and money training these trainees to then lose them and the money they “will make” to CJ E&M. At least that’s what IOI contract stated when it was leak to the public, that while entertainment agency share the production cost, trainees will not get paid. CJ E&M also gets the 50% profit of every song made from IOI group. If this remains true to this season contracts, the trainees will barely get any money. Usually the trainees are already making little when they debut within their companies because most of the from songs goes into “paying” back the entertainment industry for training them. If you get to be big, that’s when you actually begin making some money. So the fact that Producers take 50% and then the remaining 50% is split between trainees and their agency? Prepare to make absolutely next to nothing. Take Kang Daniel from Wanna One, probably the most iconic trainee that this show has expose to the public so far, he has a net worth of 400 thousand won back in 2017-2018 which was the years that Wanna One was big. Take TWICE’s (huge group) Nayeon, she has a networth around $1 million won by the end of 2018 (according to “ranked wikia” so I don’t know how trustworthy the site is). Take BTS’s RM, he has a networth of $8 million (Source take it with a grain of salt I don’t know how trustworthy the site is). Put that into perspective, I mean Wanna One was BIG, IOI probably didn’t make too much I mean it’s fair if it is like for 1 year. I mean exposure to public means a massive increase in %sucess to your career although it could still very much fail (ayo IOI members where you at? I only know Somi cause TWICE is my bias. I heard some of them are now in “small time” girl groups). 5 years is a tad too much, and I guess if you become as BIG as Wanna One you can take $400000 for 5 years. IF
2) This is banking on the fact that there will be the second coming of Wanna One
Although many people expect that this new upcoming group will be “better or equal” to the hit boy group “Wanna One” many people forget that top groups are very very rare. For Westerners who don’t really get this concept because well we don’t have an idol groups here I would like to paint an analogy. Imagine debutting in a group in South Korea as qualifying for the NBA draft and getting pick. You might have heard that getting into the NBA is harder than winning lottery because well it is. Imagine that and now add another layer to this analogy. Not only is debuting in an idol group = someone getting pick by an NBA team, becoming a big idol group to the likes of BTS or even Blackpink = becoming a superstar in the NBA. Maybe not equivalent to becoming the next Lebron James, who is a future Hall Of Famer, but like Chris Paul/Paul George level who is a superstar but necessary will be in the hall of fame (so far I think Chris Paul can make it). Now Producer 101 does give the future group a large exposure with the public (Season 2 of Producers actually got 10 million votes for the finale that’s around a fifth of the South Korean Population!) but still that is not any guarantee that a second coming of Wanna One is imminent this time around. Even though Producer 101 is popular, it only has a low 2.3% (Producer 48) and a high 3.01% (Produce 101 season 2) ratings (yes Mnet is a “cable” station which has lower ratings than public broadcast like SBS, MBC or KBS. Even then at least 7%-8% is needed to give something on cable a “good rating”). So while Producer does give debuting groups a huge boost in public noteriety (unlike people debuting in groups that’s own by relatively small agency) it is still not a ticket to superstardom. Producer 101 is not like a rich parent trying to get their kid into a Top 20 college, which is almost guarantee unless colleges discover that the kid is actually not a rower.
There’s another problem with this show this time around that I don’t really like. They have remove the “F” grade, so I guess trainees can’t “FAIL” this time around. They have replace it with an “X” grade, which mean you are excused from the dancing/training studio. If you get an X grade, you are basically NOT allow to train within the studio anyways. Nice way to encourage second chances, you know if my dog just died and I am feeling sad leading to a subpar performance to earn myself an X grade, I don’t even get time to recover and train.
What are your thoughts on this season of the Producer 101 show if you watch it? Who (which OPPA) are you hoping to be in the debut group?