Fans Enraged at LOONA's Agency as Yeojin Revealed She Still Doesn't Get Paid
Unfortunately, it seems like this isn't a unique case in the K-pop industry.
ORBITs (Loona's fans) have found another reason to be upset with Blockberry Creative, as the company has already faced several financial crises and scandals regarding its inability to pay salaries to employees.
Recently Loona's maknae, Yeojin, chatted with fans again on FAB app. When one of the ORBITs commented that Yeojin had a nice-looking bag and expressed happiness that she was rich enough to buy it, the idol unexpectedly corrected the fan. Yeojin explained that she got this bag from her mom and she wasn't rich at all. In fact, it seems like Loona's members and even their staff still hasn't been getting any income since Loona debuted in 2016.
These words got fans mad, as they recalled Loona selling many albums and holding extended tours. In the K-pop industry live concerts usually make up the bigger part of income, and Loona members have been already hinting at their exhausting schedule and need for physical therapy. The fandom got concerned with idols' well-being and complained about Blockberry Creative's poor management.
Some fans think it's not surprising that girls still don't get paid after 6 years because their trainee debt must be huge. Many members from other K-pop rookie or not-so-popular groups sometimes choose to leave or disband because they don't earn anything for months and years after their debut. If you consider production costs, MV filming, marketing, staff, and everything else that goes into getting a new group off the ground, every K-pop group is debuting with debt. It all depends on luck and popularity as well, some of the idols don't earn much after working hard for years. Even in big, established agencies, there is a chance that you'll be put aside or overworked to repay company's debts first.
"You'd be surprised how many idols never get paid throughout their whole career and many of them have to sneak out and get part time jobs. Not all idols earn any money. There were plenty of former idols who've come out and mentioned they didn't earn anything while promoting at all." – u/HerctheeHero
However, it seems like Blockberry Creative agency has spent approximately $8.8M on different projects and promotions of Loona's debut and in the end the group has sold about 700k album copies overall. Fans claim it was a very miscalculated and poor decision to spend a lot of money on filming teasers and having a lot of members' activities overseas or buying expensive accessories and renting big venues, which later has only added to idols' debt. In the COVID-19 era when performances and live concerts were forbidden or limited, K-pop agencies couldn't count on the most profitable activities as well.
"The most frustrating thing is that 99% of this is self-inflicted by BBC. You did not need to fly around the world to film a teaser. You did not need to bring trainees who, in the end, didn't even make the cut on these overseas trips. You did not need to spend money on expensive af sets and custom headpieces that were barely seen on-screen. You did not need to spend on a bunch of MVs that TO THIS DAY Orbits are still waiting to see." – u/violetsandunicorns
Fans express their hopes that Loona's members will get treated more fairly or reconsider their contracts with the agency.