K-pop fans this summer will see a veritable battle of the manufactured bands, many of whom have returned from overseas after trying to make an impact there. Big Bang, Wonder Girls, After School, T-ara, ZE:A, TEEN TOP and Dalshabet have returned to the music scene lately or are preparing for releases in early July, and 2NE1 and BEAST are said to be planning releases in mid-July.
Music industry insiders say it is rare for a dozen virtually identical manufactured bands to put out releases at the same time, since normally they stagger their releases to take advantage of the market for candy floss pop.
Apparently the reason is the Olympic Games, which start July 27 and last until August 12. A staffer with a major entertainment agency said, "Most bands feel that they have to get their releases out before the Olympics, because once they start all the focus will be on sports stars."
If Korean athletes achieve good results in the games, live broadcasts of sporting events will replace entertainment shows or music programs, and sport will dominate the news at the expense of teenage idols.
But that means stress for the producers of TV music programs. A broadcasting insider said calls from management agencies are pouring in recently to get stars from their stable on TV. "We even might have to come up with special measures to put all those bands into the limited time slot," the insider said.