MidemNet: J.Y. Park’s Worldwide Hit Machine
J. Y. Park, who is a #1 selling artists in his own right in Korea and throughout most of Asia, runs a a small private school turning out, he hopes, the next generation of International pop stars. In 2001 when 80% of the Korean CD market disappeared after early adoption of digital, Park told his management and label company staff, "We don't make music. We make stars." "My product is now human and my biggest revenue source is sponsorships," Park told those gathered at MidemNet in Cannes.
To find his stars Park holds auditions in 9 countries including the US, Canada, China and Korea. An average of 4000 applicants as young as 10 audition in each city. One hundred at a time are chosen to attend his intensive no cost multi-year academy in Beijing, Seoul and New York. Each signs a 360 deal and must learn to multiple languages. Park's goal is nothing less then a truly global star which he says has not existed for 10 years since Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey.
So far his results are impressive with 13 of the 18 that have completed the course producing #1 hits with The Wonder Girls and Rain being the two most successful. Young singer Rain was voted one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in world in 2006; and Park is creating a reality show around the Wonder Girls to help break them in the US.
While the artists do release songs in 3 songs "mini-albums" as "a souvenir" about twice a year, music sales are secondary to J.Y. Park. The majority of income comes from endorsements, worldwide touring, and merchandise. He does not believe his system will ever work in the US, "because artists are trained to control all of their rights."
Park tries to give the customer what they want when and how they want it, and gently chastised the assembled industry for not understanding that “nothing can beat the convenience of a customer.”