Ever since the news of the lawsuit broke, I've read every single news article, scoured through every single source I could find, and really learned everything there is to know about it firsthand. I was there when the news broke out and I covered everything after that for a major kpop news site myself. Nothing, NOTHING could've prepared me for last night.
For months I've pushed the lawsuit to the back of my mind, paying attention to the members' solo activities and Japanese singles like there was nothing happening, but it hit me with this most recent announcement that everything ISN'T OK. No matter how much I want to think that everything will just go back to normal at a snap of a finger or a simple piece of paper, they won't.
DBSK are pausing all Japanese activities.
As I read through the translation from the most credible source for DBSK articles, I started shaking - I just wanted to cry at that point. Break Out! was number one on the Oricon daily, weekly, monthly and yearly charts and beat Japanese artists by hundreds of thousands of copies. With Tokiwo Tomete and Non-Stop Mix Vol. 2, DBSK had just broken a 31 year-old record previously set by Billy Joel and another record set by Mariah Carey over a decade ago. They had just brought Tokiwo Tomete to the top of the Oricon weekly singles charts with over 100,000 copies sold in the first day alone and their Non-Stop mix was safely nestled in the top 3 of the Oricon weekly album charts - they were at the very top, things couldn't have been better.
I tried so hard to hold myself back while writing this, but I can't - I have to explode or else I'm gonna go insane.
WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU STOP A BAND AT THEIR PEAK? WHY THE EFFIN' HELL WOULD YOU STOP A BAND THAT WORKED SO DAMN HARD TO GET WHERE THEY ARE, NOW THAT THEY'RE ACTUALLY AT THE TOP? WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU DENY PEOPLE THE CHANCE TO SEE AND HEAR THE MAGIC THEY HAVE? WHY?
I want to think that everything will be fine, that DBSK will be back in no time, that this is just so the 5 guys can do solo stuff they've "always wanted to do" but I can't. I can't because I've seen this happen so many times before - this pause will turn into 1 year, 2 years, 3 years and then in a blink of an eye the boys have to go into the army to serve for 2 years. Jaejoong's 25 - they have 5 years tops to be the biggest band they can be, but they most probably won't. We all know what happened to Boyzone in 2000 after they announced their break, what happened to the Spice Girls after Geri left, how Westlife were never the same musically after Brian left and in time, we'll all know what happened to DBSK after they paused Japanese activities.
For the past few months I've been following all of their solo activities like a hawk - even if they weren't my favorite member I'd read up on what was happening to them. I was doing this because in my mind, this meant that they still wanted the limelight - that there was hope they'd perform together again. Now that my hope's pretty much gone, I suddenly feel uninterested in any of their solo stuff. I don't feel like having my friends in London stalk Yunho, I don't feel like watching JJ's Japanese drama, Changmin's Paradise Meadow or Yoochun's new drama nor do I feel like hearing Junsu's new solo single.
Always keep the faith. It's been Cassiopeia's slogan since the very beginning - it came from Yoochun and in times like this, it's what pulled DBSK fans together. Every single DBSK fan has been to hell and back these past few months - we've doubted, cried, celebrated, protested, voiced our opinions and built so many bonds but most of all, we've matured. I may sound cheesy right now but I still can't think straight. I may think negatively about this, but AKTF is firmly implanted in my mind - I WANT to believe and I do believe that I'll be able to see, hear and feel their magic on stage again. That's all I want - I want DBSK to be on stage in front of fans who will and have already went through hell and back for them and I wanna hear the magic only they have.
You may think I'm such a weakling and I'm overprotective for thinking what I think above, but trust me, it's not just the fact that DBSK are pausing all group activities that has sent me literally into hysterics, it's the reason behind it. If in the future I find out that DBSK themselves wanted this, I respect that. Heck, I respect that decision right now - it's SME and corporations taking over the music industry in general that drive me off the wall.
It's not DBSK's fault, it's not Max Matsura's fault either.
Last night I read one theory, and it was rather similar to the one spinning around my head. I agree with this one as much as I do mine.
SMe is jealous of THSK’s achievement in Japan that’s why they told AVEX to stop all their activities. On the other side, Mr.Max couldn’t do anything since SMe still owns TVXQ.
My theory is this:
SME doesn't want DBSK together, period. They don't want Yunho and Changmin to even talk to the 'traitors' Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu but so long as they have Japanese activities and are cranking out singles - they have to. The five, even with no TV or radio promotion, have to act like the one unit they've always been for magazine interviews and shoots. SME doesn't like it - they want the band divided - so they pressured Max Matsuura into stopping DBSK. Of course the guy couldn't do anything because SME made the deal with Avex, SME controls DBSK whether they're in Japan or not.
[EDIT] You want proof? Max Matsuura's been dropping hints on Twitter. Read the lines in bold.
For the past 5 years, to see the smiles on their faces, the Avex staff and officials have been working hard. Also, we are extremely thankful to the fans. For the past few months, we couldn't say the things we wanted to say and we were always, always worried about the anxiety we were causing the fans. I think messages from them will be released soon.
The things that I'm unable to say now, someday before I die, I will definite speak without concealing anything.
Whether they do solo activities or activities as a unit, I wish that Avex can be their management in Japan. I wonder if the Korean side will permit it......
Things that will be better if you know, things that won't hurt you if you don't know, one day, I wish to let all of you know..
thanks to email@example.com for the translations.
The main reason I'm angry is not because there'll be no DBSK for a few months or years, I'm angry because stupid effin' SM Entertainment is being stupid. These people at SME are supposedly 'businessmen', they're supposedly money-hungry capitalists who sanitize and bastardize music just because it'll sell. But you know, they're not.
What not a lot of you know is that besides a musical upbringing, I've been surrounded by business talk all my life. My mother's side of the family is Chinese, traditional Chinese. I grew up with Chinese customs firmly in place, and those customs include business talk. I was taught and I've seen firsthand that hard work, frugality, sacrifice and intellect make a good businessman, and that selling one is selling something - if someone wants to buy one piece of your merchandise that's business, why deny that person.
If you look at the DBSK situation from a business point of view, SM is still stupid. DBSK are undoubtedly their biggest-earning idol group, their success surpasses Korea. The band has way more than 800,000 fans who, at the first sign of new material will kill to buy it, they have fans who, no matter how ridiculous the product is, as long as there's DBSK on it, will buy it without question. Single sales in Japan are stellar, album sales are just as stellar, the band filled freakin' Tokyo Dome for two nights in 2009 - that's money earned. Like I said, any money is still money - doesn't matter if it's 1 or 1 million, at the end of the day they've made money.
And now they want to stop this? SM wants to stop their biggest source of income because 3 members are suing them? SM WANTS TO LOSE THEIR CASH COWS BECAUSE THEY'RE STUPID?!?!? I can't take this.
That was just the business side, the side they're supposed to be good at. If we look at the music side, it just makes me angrier.'
Some of my Tweets last night:
I wanna hear 5 voices on stage - 5 unique, skilled, emotional, outstanding voices from 5 guys who've sacrificed SO MUCH.
Why waste ability, why waste hard work, why waste talent, why waste all those sweat and tears, WHY WASTE THAT MAGIC.
It's the magic. I want to see the magic again. IT'S THE MAGIC YOU STUPID, GREEDY RECORD EXECS CAN'T SEE.
DBSK are one of the few idol groups that have vocal ability good enough for each member to stand firmly on his own feet. DBSK are one of the only idol groups vocally strong enough to do tight 5-part harmonies at the drop of a hat, they're one of the only idol groups with songwriters good enough to have songs featured as album tracks and even singles. Where else are you gonna find a band who've grown musically over the years and didn't just shift from one sound to a completely different one. There's a certain magic you hear when DBSK step on stage together and perform that you can't find in any other band - SME will never replicate what DBSK have. The 5 guys have gone through so much together, they've sacrificed so much to be the band they are today and they've shed so many tears - giving up would be stupid and one of the biggest losses to Asian music.
I rest my case. Whether you agree with me or not isn't any of my business, I just needed to let this all out.