Posts

You too can be a k-pop producer thanks to Makestar [Interview]

makestar interviewEvery minute nowadays there’s a new service disrupting one industry or another. For the hospitality industry, it was Airbnb. For the taxi industry, it was apps like Uber and Gett. And for K-pop, it’s Makestar. The crowdfunding service is about a year old, but has already started to shake up the Korean entertainment industry.

Through a variety of fund-raising campaigns, running the gamut between things like photobooks for well-known acts to funding the debuts of rookie K-pop idol groups, Makestar has been giving the less-well-funded Korean acts a chance. K-pop acts like Crayon Pop, 24K, Nine Muses, Astro, and the recently-departed Rainbow have benefited from Makestar’s unique approach to connect, both financially and on a personal level, Korean stars with their fans. By having fans pledge funds ahead of production of an album or special project, Makestar is helping Korean entertainment companies ensure that there’s an audience for their production. And a profit.

According to Brian Kim, Makestar’s chief product officer, the company’s goal isn’t simply to fund K-pop projects, but actually better the K-pop industry. Makestar’s not just about K-pop, but it is the company’s main forum of business right now. They have also featured a handful fundraising campaigns on the site for films and musicals, but the majority of their current projects are geared towards music fans.


Also on KultScene: From ‘Genie’ to ‘Wolf’: Dsign Music believes the future of music begins with K-pop [INTERVIEW]

“We’re really focused on what the fans want,” Kim told KultScene over the phone, explaining that a lot of his job revolves around communicating with the pledgers. “We’re trying to make new opportunities for fans to have their voices heard a little bit more by the industry. I guess that’s the foundation where we started.”

Foundation or not, Makestar is definitely helping fans — particularly international K-pop fans — get their voices heard. Kim’s most notable example was a recent interview with Stellar that an Australian fan got to MC, which featured questions the fan had gathered from Stellar fans from around the globe. Practically unheard of in the K-pop world, the interview was part of a fundraising campaign for Stellar that featured fans spreading the word about both Stellar and the Makestar project. According to Kim, Stellar’s willingness to try new things with Makestar has helped the crowdfunding platform grow.

“Because of Stellar’s projects we’ve tried new things, like mashing up the fans dancing with Stellar’s music video and having it officially sanctioned and so on, to even basic things like Ask Me Anything kind of thing,” explained Kim. “We’ve tried new things where fans get to feel closer with them and [Stellar] have been very receptive.” Kim also added that the other Korean management companies have been more receptive of Makestar’s suggestions on whatever project they’re pursuing through the site as a result of Stellar’s example.

Even KultScene’s staff got on board: Joe showed off his production cred on Twitter earlier this year.

 

Convincing Korean entertainment agencies to try out Makestar wasn’t the easiest thing at the beginning, despite Makestar coming with powerful backing. The CEO, Kim Jae Myun, was a co-founder of FNC Entertainment. “He was the one who created CNBLUE and FTISLAND,” Kim interjected. Nearly a decade after FNC’s founding, Kim created Makestar to see if mass fundraising would work in Korea’s rigid entertainment environment. At first Makestar met with little success, but as the company started seeing success with their campaigns, entertainment companies started approaching the service about setting up their acts with a fundraising project.

Makestar’s success relies on the popularity of K-pop, and the relative small market that Korea’s estimated 300 entertainment agencies have to partake in. “Before Makestar, it was kind of understood, you know, ‘we just don’t have the funds, we don’t have the resources, that’s not the way it works.’” Single after single was the only way many small Korean agencies felt they could promote their act, hoping for a hit to compete with the bigger acts.

“A-listers will always be A-listers. They’ll always have concerts, big events, and their albums will do well. The name value itself will carry,” Kim explained, mentioning some of Korea’s largest entertainment companies like SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment. “One way we discovered [potential] disruption was [by asking], ‘Is this the only way?’ If funds are a problem, crowdfunding can kind of solve that. If getting word out is a problem, the project can help with the premarketing and marketing, and we’re getting into postmarketing.”


Also on KultScene: This is the hardest K-pop quiz ever

International fans are very different than Korean fans, which Kim and Makestar are very conscious of when creating their campaigns. Boy bands will typically garner pledges primarily from middle-aged Japanese women, but well-known acts internationally, like Crayon Pop, will see about a third of their funding coming from the US and other English-language markets. Makestar’s services are offered in English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, but they want to make it even more internationally focused. “American fans are very different from French fans because Americans and French people are very different,” said Kim. “What we’re trying to do now is involve fans in what we’re doing at Makestar, whether it be suggestions, whether it be engineering a project. So if you like BTS and you’d like BTS to run a project at Makestar, what would you think as a fan would be a really good project to run? We’d really like to start crowdsourcing those ideas as well because at the end of the day who knows better than the fans?”

Through a variety of campaigns and offering different rewards, ranging from production credit to meeting and spending a day with K-pop stars, Makestar guides the fundraising efforts of K-pop acts. Kim reassured KultScene that it was Makestar acting as a consulting service, not Makestar acting as a secondary managing company. “At the end of the day, the management companies have the final say as to how the project proceeds. Sometimes it comes out pretty much as we expected, but other times, because of some additions that the management company has made on a whim, basically, made based on nothing, we do tend to have burps here or there.”

While there may be slight issues Makestar seems to have figured out a way to ensure that campaigns succeed and they’ve had few failures recently, although a high profile campaign for Xia Junsu failed last December when it came about $300,00 short of its $838,000 goal. Garnering more than two times the goal isn’t uncommon: Stellar’s “Sting” album production project was funded more than 500 percent times the initial goal of $10,068.97, and brought in more than $53,000. The projects range varies, with smaller ones aiming for around $10,000 and larger ones by more popular acts, like Astro and Rainbow, angling closer to $30,000. Makestar recently saw its first crowdfunded debut from Momoland, who raised a little over $12,000.

What’s next for Makestar? Not concerts, said Kim. “We do have plans for concerts, but we do really want to make them special. We don’t want it to be just about money, money, money for [the stars] and the management company, because if that happens, we know that it’s not going to be a special occasion [for the fans], other than the concert. So we’ve been racking our brains about creating a project style where the stars can visit different corners of the world and have that special connection with the fans. We’re holding off on that.”

What do you think of Makestar and their campaigns? Reach out to them via email if you have any ideas about campaigns! And share your thoughts about this article, and K-pop fundraising, in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

5 Super Easy Last-Minute K-Pop Halloween Costumes

October 31 is a day for costumes and candy, but sometimes people are too busy to put together extraordinary costumes that need tons of planning. If you’re one of those people and you’re looking for some last minute inspiration, or heading to an exclusive K-Pop themed Halloween party, then you’ll need a great costume that’s simple, and that you can make from what you have in your closet.

An oldie but a goodie, Gee.

For many people, Girls’ Generation’s Gee was the song of 2009, and is still one of the most iconic songs in K-Pop. But the outfits that the nine members of Girls’ wear are so simple, just about every girl has something to work with inside her own closet. You have two options here- You can go the minimal look that Girls’ Generation dances in by wearing a white long sleeved shirt with a solid color pair of shorts and white shoes. Blow dry your hair straight, or throw in some soft waves.

SM Entertainment

SM Entertainment

Or, you can go the skinny-jeans look. All you need is a graphic t-shirt, preferably with cap sleeves or no sleeves at all, and a a colored pair of skinny jeans. Throw on one iconic accessory, – a long necklace, a costume pilot’s hat, a fedora, a sequined hoodie etc- add a pair of killer heels and you’re all done.

Costume ease level – 5/5
Costume recognizability to non K-Pop fans- 1/5

Crayon Pop’s helmet look from Bar Bar Bar.

For this one, you need a polo shirt, a short skirt, a pair of leggings that are the same color of your shoes and preferably the skirt (try all black if white is not an option,) and throw on a bike helmet. Add some white gloves from your winter closet, or else run to a local pharmacy and buy a pack of medical gloves. Put multiple ponytails into pigtails to get Soyou’s look. Finishing touch? Put your name on your chest and on your back with some name tag labels or use a safety-pin to clip paper to your shirt.

Chrome Entertainment

Chrome Entertainment

Costume ease level – 4/5, helmets aren’t always easily accessible
Costume recognizability to non K-Pop fans- 3/5, but people may theink you’re Yony and Zony, the two twins who appeared on Ellen rather than Crayon Pop.

Also on KultScene: K-Pop’s Love Letter To Hood By Air

No More Dream-era of BTS

While  Hood By Air clothing that BTS wears may be a bit hard to get last-minute, but you can definitely pull off the look. Anything black and white that you own, layered with gold jewelry and/or bandanas, the more athletic-looking the better. If you have a varsity jacket or athletic jersey, you just owned this outfit. For your feet, black-and-white tube socks pulled up rather than rolled down with black and white sneakers complete the outfit. Surround your eyes with thick black eyeliner, and, if you want, add a baseball cap or bandana. If you’re trying to be Rap Monster, sunglasses are a must, but if you don’t have his intense-visor type, just wear a black headband over your eyes.

Big Hit Entertainment

Big Hit Entertainment

Don’t forget to walk with swag! (But do so carefully if you’re wearing a headband over your face!)

Costume ease level – 4/5, it sounds easy but putting the outfit together and layering properly can be difficult.
Costume recognizability to non K-Pop fans- 1/5, people may think you’re just trying to be a random rapper, which is also cool.

Orange Caramel’s My Copycat

Again, two options here. Take a solid color dress, or tight shirt and shorts/jeans combination in the same color, and put large graphic stickers on them. Ideally, iron on stamps would be great, but then you’d ruin your clothes. Add white sneakers, cream eyeshadow with coral lipstick, a faux pearl necklace, bracelets, and big earrings– you’re ready to imitate the copycats. If you want to really rock it, match your nails to the color of your outfit.

Pledis Entertainment

Pledis Entertainment

Alternatively, put on a short jean skirt and a horizontal red-and-white striped shirt for the look from the end of the video. If you have overalls or a jean romper, that’s even better. Add a striped bow headband, and you’re all set. Don’t have one? Use paper and draw stripes, then attach it to your headband. Not ideal, but it works! Don’t forget the dark red lipstick!

Costume ease level – 2/5, the decals are a bit annoying
Costume recognizability to non K-Pop fans- 2/5, people might think you’re Where’s Waldo.

Also on KultScene: Let’s Discuss: Jessica’s Departure & Girls’ Generation’s Future

BIGBANG’s G-Dragon in Fantastic Baby

Fantastic Baby has an intense concept, and you’re going to have to tone it down a bit. The first thing about G-Dragon’s outfit is the hair, which may seem like a problem, but it can actually be pretty easy. You may have to run to a drugstore for some hair extensions or, if you have long hair, red hair spray. You may need both, let’s be honest. Unless you have a black-and-white pinstriped suit, you’re not going to be able to do G-Dragon’s most iconic outfit. But there’s another one that will definitely do! Pull on a black beanie or winter hat, with a red jacket, a white/beige t-shirt, gray pants, and gym shoes. Red and white shoes would be best, but hey, there’s not much you can do last minute so just go with it!

YG Entertainment

YG Entertainment

As for accessories, bedazzle (or put gold stickers/tape) on an umbrella, and put on some intense bracelets and necklaces.Add a smoky eye, with eyeliner on the lower lid, and the rest of the face pretty clean of makeup, and you’re going to be a great GD!

Costume ease level – 5/5, other than the umbrella, the costume’s pretty simple.
Costume recognizability to non K-Pop fans- 4/5

Are you dressing up as K-Pop stars for Halloween? Send us pictures! Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

Review: Crayon Pop At Lady Gaga’s Artpop Ball

Viral sensation Crayon Pop finished their gig as the opening act in the sold-out Lady Gaga’s artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball on July 22nd at the famous STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA after a month of shows. Soyul, Gummi, ChoA, Ellin, and Way landed their spot on the tour after gaining Gaga’ attention with Bar, Bar, Bar.

At eight o’clock sharp, the lights in the immense venue went off. Everyone (including the small group of people who had attended Crayon Pop’s 1st USA Fan Meet prior to the event) started screaming. Then, PETGA (the interface for Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP application) appeared on the screens and announced, “Introducing, from South Korea, Crayon Pop.” A video that showcased Crayon Pop’s viral phenomenon played on screens featuring performances from the girls and fan cover videos. After the video ended, the lights came off again, and there they were; five silhouettes appeared on stage.

CRAYON POP OPENS FOR LADY GAGA 3

Bar Bar Bar played through the speakers and Crayon Pop was ready to charm everyone with their amazing talent. It was amazing to hear how their fans started chanting “Pop, Pop, Crayon Pop!” and the rest of the fan chants. After the first song ended, the girls immediately looked over the audience and spotted the small group chanting for them. They smiled, sent hearts, and kisses to them for showing their support.

The girls then introduced themselves and thanked Lady Gaga for the opportunity they were given. They continued with Bing Bing, then Dancing Queen, followed by Saturday Night. The energy that the girls gave everyone from stage was captivating. You could tell that a lot of the Little Monsters who had never heard of them before were being captured by Crayon Pop’s charm.

CRAYON POP OPENS FOR LADY GAGA  2

The next song was Lonely Christmas, and told everyone that even if it’s a Christmas song they still wanted to perform it because it’s really fun. By this point, everyone danced and even tried to mimic their choreography. They girls continued to talk to the audience in English, and introduced each song. Their next song was Uh-Ee, and they explained how to do the ahjumma dance since they wanted everyone to do it.

CRAYON POP OPENS FOR LADY GAGA 1

They finalized their set with Bar Bar Bar 2.0. Before performing it, Way taught everyone the key movements of the dance. Since this song was performed before, most people already knew some of the lyrics, and you could hear everyone trying to sing the song. As Crayon Pop said goodbye and got off stage, they left a lot of their fans with mixed feelings of joy and sadness. Because even if the girls promised to be back, no one really knew when.

CRAYON POP OPENS FOR LADY GAGA 4

After Lady Starlight (another opening act), Lady Gaga’s main stage proceeded. But to fan’s surprise, the girls were invited back during her performance of Swine. They started jumping and dancing with Mother Monster herself, and all the remaining Crayon Pop fans and Pop-jussis (male Crayon Pop fans older than Gummi) were enamoured by the surprise.

The second show at the STAPLES center marked Crayon Pop’s last performance marked their last performance on the tour, as they make way for Japanese girl band Baby Metal. And in order to commemorate one of the biggest experiences of their careers,the girls gifted Lady Gaga with her own customized Bar Bar Bar uniform.

Take a look at our video coverage of Crayon Pop’s opening act.

Did you attend the concert? Let us know your experience in the concert on the comment section below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

Review: Crayon Pop ’s 1st USA Fan Meet

Crayon Pop held their 1st USA Fan Meet in Los Angeles on July 22nd. CrayonPop.me, a fan site, held the event at a small room in the enourmous Los Angeles Convention Center. The fan meet conventionally landed on the group’s second year anniversary. Geummi, Ellin, ChoA, Way, and Soyul met 100 lucky fans that were able to be part of their first fan meet.

Despite Chrome Staff almost postponing the fan event due to their opening performance at Lady Gaga’s artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball being pushed back an hour, the event continued as planned. Some dedicated fans had arrived two hours prior even though the itinerary stated that people should arrive at noon. Shockingly, around 75 percent of the fans in attendance were men.

After checking in with the event’s staff, attendees were given a number with the row they’d sit in. As people waited for Crayon Pop to get there, they practiced for the handshake. The girls would actually be standing, instead of sitting down behind a table, which got everyone very excited because it guaranteed direct contact with Crayon Pop.

Most people were hoping to get a selfie and an autograph. But since there would be roughly five to 10 seconds of interaction which each member, you had to choose which interaction you wanted with them. After the practice ended, everyone began getting nervous and excited. Their music played in the background, and some fans sang, danced, and cheered to the songs. No one could contain their excitement; they were about to meet their favorite band!

The girls would allegedly get there at 1:30 p.m, but they were behind schedule, as one of the staff informed attendees. Fans got a little disappointed, but they knew that despite this, they would be able to meet them eventually. As everyone waited, some fans that would be attending Gaga’s concert began practicing Crayon Pop’s fan chants so the girls could have somewhere to look and feel support from their fans. By 2:40 p.m., fans still waited for Crayon Pop to arrive, but that didn’t stop anyone from practicing and mingling with other fans. Then the staff finally said that the group was on its way up to the room, but due to the venue being enormous, they would take around ten minutes to get there.

Crayon Pop is band that is known for their energy and endless charm. As soon as they finally walked into the room, you could feel how full of energy they were despite their busy schedule. Everyone cheered “Pop, Pop, Crayon Pop!” The girls introduced themselves and told everyone how happy they were to see their fans there and feel their support. Geummi expressed how excited she was to have their first fan meet in the U.S. and couldn’t stop thanking everyone.

crayonpopgirls1

After the girls talked to the fans for a few minutes, the handshake was ready to start. As soon as the first row started to form in line, fans started taking selfies and getting autographs from the girls. Since doing both was taking a little bit more than expected, Chrome staff informed the organizers to let everyone know that fans couldn’t take pictures with them because it was taking longer than expected. However, despite this restriction, a few fans still got their selfies with them, Crayon Pop never refusing.

It was amazing to see how happy the girls were; they were hugging, kissing, and taking selfies with their fans. They really gave them their all. At the end of the handshake, the girls received gifts that CrayonPop.me prepared, a congratulatory book that had messages from Crayon Pop fans all over the world. The book was handed to ChoA, and she seemed very surprised and excited for it.

After a fun hour with the girls, they gave their farewell and stated that they loved their L.A. fans and promised to come back very soon. They even asked to see who was going to see their opening show for Lady Gaga so they could see us there.

crayonopopgirls15

After the girls left, their energy still inhabited the room. Everyone felt stoked they had an hour with them, and showed their autographs and pictures with them to each other. Fans had to wait in the room until Crayon Pop was escorted out of the convention center.

When the fan site staff came back to the room, they had a surprise for us. They were able to get six albums signed by the girls and they did a raffle to give them away. At the end, CrayonPop.me thanked everyone for their support and everyone cheered for them. The event ended but everyone was happy they had this opportunity.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Were you one of the lucky ones to attend Crayon Pop’s 1st USA Fan Meet? Tell us your experience in the comments! forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.