Singers have benefited the most financially from the popularity of Korean pop culture around the world, statistics show.
According to the National Tax Service on Sunday, the average annual income of singers amounted to W46.47 million as of 2013, compared to the average for actors of W37.18 million (US$1=W1,104).
Singers' income rose from W26.97 million in 2010 to W44.76 million in 2012, up 72 percent. In contrast, the average earnings of actors rose only 12 percent over the same period. Booming sales of albums and lucrative proceeds from concerts in China and Japan were the prime reasons for the soaring incomes of singers.
The number of singers in Korea also surged over the past three years, from 3,880 in 2010 to 5,073 in 2013, up 30 percent. One talent agency staffer said, "Actors have limited sources of income, but singers have a wider range of opportunities including concerts and tours thanks to expanding markets overseas."
The figures are based on the amounts they report to tax authorities, so the actual amounts could be higher.