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S. Korean pop music industry suffers big losses amid pandemic

All News 11:56 May 21, 2021

SEOUL, May 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's pop music industry was estimated to have suffered tens of billions of won in financial damage as ticket sales plunged amid the new coronavirus pandemic, a music organization said Friday.

According to the Record Label Industry Association of Korea (LIAK), the estimated damage stood at around 184 billion won (US$163 million) on the basis that 80 percent of tickets were sold for performances that were canceled.

A total of 1,089 music gigs were called off due to COVID-19 from February last year through this month, it added.

Performance venues in the Hongdae area in western Seoul, a hub for the indie music scene, reported 454 cases of cancellations since the pandemic began, which translate to a loss of roughly 2.1 billion won.

The originally bustling street in the hip Hongdae district in western Seoul is empty on Dec. 25, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. (Yonhap)

Shin Jong-gill, the secretary-general of LIAK, said the amount is likely to be bigger in reality.

"(The figure) includes gigs that were called off after ticket sales began," he said at a music policy forum. "The number of performances would have been bigger if not for the virus."

"Companies are in a state of surrender as they repeatedly go through the process of planning and canceling shows as the pandemic continues," Shin said.

Lee Yong-hwa, the head of the Korea Live Hall Association, said state support is needed for small-sized performance venues hit hard by COVID-19, stressing their role in supporting new and lesser-known musicians.

nyway@yna.co.kr
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