"It was really until after [AOA's] 3rd year that they said they broke even. They didn't make any money yet, they broke even."
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29 Jan 2018 - 2:03 PM  UPDATED 29 Jan 2018 - 2:03 PM

There's a lot of glitz, glamour, and money in the K-pop world, but according to former K-pop idol Prince Mak, very few idols actually see much of that money in their own pockets.

In a new video titled "BTS on how much money a Kpop idol makes," Prince Mak sheds some light on just how much money the average K-pop idol earns. The former K-pop star says that while groups and artists from the "Big 3" companies (SMYG, and JYP) will be paid immediately when they debut, it works differently with almost all other K-pop companies.

These companies have a system called "break-even" in which all the money earned by its idols go towards paying back all the money invested in them, such as training, food, accommodation, staff, and production of MVs. Prince Mak says that an average rookie K-pop idol group earns about USD$4000 per show (more if overseas), which is then broken down to a 90%:10% split between the company and the artist. Of that 10% going to the artist, it is then split between all the members of a group before it is spent on repaying back debts, meaning that it is incredibly difficult to earn money.

Using AOA as an example, Prince Mak says that while they debuted in 2012, they didn't get huge until a few years later. Still, it took them until the end of 2015 when they finally paid off their debts and could finally start earning money. 

As a final message to K-pop fans, Prince Mak says that idols from the "Big 3" companies will be fine and it is the idols from mid-level companies that need a lot of support.

Check out Prince Mak's video on how much money a K-pop idol earns right here and let us know what you think.


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