How Much Do K-POP Idols Earn Money In A Year?

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Highest Earning K-POP Idols

A Korean entertainment agency can have many idol groups and solo artist in their company, but there are always groups that stand out from the rest of the group, for example the idol groups from JYP, SM, and YG – the top three agencies give out the biggest salary to them. Groups 2PM, EXO and BIGBANG are the main assets for their agency.

Top 10 Highest Earning K-POP Male Groups

1. YMC Entertainment – Wanna One

wanna one

Wanna One will probably print history as the only new group not only popular immediately before debut, but also a group capable of earning 17 million US dollars (approximately Rp. 227.4 billion) in just 2 months. The boy group formed from Produce 101 Season 2 are indeed fans of attention. Wanna One formally formed last June, collect hundreds of billions from advertisements, albums, concerts, and the sale of merchandise. The income from eleven members of this group will probably outperform EXO and BTS income records.

2. BigHit Entertainment – BTS


The group debuted in 2013 and has earned a lot of money since then. BigHit was in a lot of debt to try to make BTS debut but it all paid off with the increasing popularity of BTS from year to year, 95% of BigHit’s revenue was contributed by BTS and even merchandise sales reaching 10 Million US dollars. BTS concerts held in Australia earned around 23,7 billion won.

3. YG Entertainment – BIGBANG

big bang

Bigbang is included in the Forbes list of 100 best paid celebrities. The US economic magazine reveals Bigbang’s earnings of up to US $ 44 million or about Rp 576 billion a year. This number beat Maroon 5 which earned US $ 33.5 million or Rp 438.5 billion in a year. T.O.P the leader did not even expect Bigbang’s income to beat Maroon 5’s. Throughout 2015 Bigbang stole public attention with the album [M] [A] [D] [E] whose total album sales reached 40 trillion won.

4. SM Entertainment – EXO


From twelve members until nine members, EXO is still a big asset of SM Entertainment who earned more than 13 million US Dollar from concerts, albums, advertisements, and merchandise. From their concerts EXO earned more than $64,5 million and showcases they held in 30 country earned $40 million. In a year they earnt more than $10 billion.

5. JYP Entertainment – 2PM


2PM a boy group from JYP that debuted in 2008, has earnt $27,3 million a year. 2PM’s most held concerts in Japan earnt $1,3 million, excluding sales of merchandise.

6. SM Entertainment – Super Junior

Super Junior
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Another legendary group from SM Entertainment has earnt $26,4 million a year. From Super Junior until Super Junior M they earn around more than $30 million from concert, albums, and much more. ELF is always excited when they heard Super Junior will comeback so they prepared the money to help Super Junior win the chart every week in music shows, it help SM Entertainment to collect lots money from Super Junior. No wonder they’re SM Entertainments biggest asset until now.

7. PLEDIS Entertainment – Seventeen


They became the main producers of money for PLEDIS since their 2015 debut, making up to 75% of the income for PLEDIS entertainment from SEVENTEEN before they debuted a new girl group PRISTIN. With concerts in many countries, albums, and merchandise they earned more than $30 million a year. SEVENTEEN has been criticized for calling fans a source of seventeen income, but PLEDIS quickly solved the problem.

8. Wollim Entertainment – INFINITE


INFINITE has always been a source of Wollim’s income, since debut until now INFINITE has earned around $10 million from concerts and albums and the members from individual schedules have earned $700.000. In 2012 37.8% (approximately USD 40 Billion) was obtained from the schedule abroad. Agencies, local events, and concerts held by INFINITE generated 24.2% (Rp 25 billion) of total earnings. And from album sales about 490 thousand dollars or Rp 4.9 billion. Meanwhile, the income from starring in ads is about 777 thousand dollars or about (Rp 7.7 billion). Since 2012 until now INFINITE is growing very rapidly, although INFINITE must continue the career with six members because Lee Howon (Hoya) left INFINITE in September.

9. SM Entertainment – TVXQ


Another legend boy group from SM Entertainment, TVXQ. Before Super Junior, Yunho and Changmin were the main asset for the agency. They have earnt $10,4 million a year from concerts, showcases, and albums. Concerts are the biggest income for them and for the agency. TVXQ were in the top three K-POP groups that had the biggest concert tours with the biggest audience. The biggest was held in Japan. TVXQ Japan concert, Time ( 2013 ) earnings were $92,4 million with an audience of 850.000 over 18 show, Three ( 2014 ) with a total audience of 600.000 over 29 shows and With ( 2015 ) with a total audience of 750.000 over 16 shows. TVXQ became the first non-Japanese artist (the fourth foreign artist) to hold 5 complete dome tours in Japan.

10. YG Entertainment – iKON

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iKON is an icon from YG Entertainment. The was group formed from the survival show “Who Is Next” as Team B, and have earns more than 7,9 billion won in a year since debut in 2015. Their biggest income is from concerts that they showed in Japan, involving a total audience of 140.000. They have a career like their senior Bigbang with concert tour in Japan.

Top 10 Highest Earning K-POP Female Groups

1. JYP Entertainment – TWICE


TWICE are on the rise since debut with Ohh-Ahh and have now comeback with Signal earning millions a year. J.Y Park, JYP Entertainment’s owner invested $420.000 dollar for their debut and the now TWICE is in the top 3 girl groups. TWICE earned $1,45 million a year and have been the main asset of the agency especially from their album and merchandise sales. With the cute packaging and cute merchandise a lot of their fans buy it although the price is almost 200.000 won for one item of merchandise.

2. SM Entertainment – Girl’s Generation


Legend girl group from SM Entertainment, Girl’s Generation or SNSD be the other main asset for the agency. From one concernt tour they earnt $22,3 million from their Phantasia concert and in Girl’s Peace –  Japan Tour where they earnt $21,5 million, The Japan Arena Tour they earnt $14,98 million, and Girls and Peace World Tour they earnt $14,97 million. Girl’s Generation contributed 80% of the income from SM Entertainment earning more than $44,4 billion in a year. Concert tours were the biggest income for them.

3. YG Entertainment – 2NE1


Since debut until they disbanded, 2NE1 is the one girl group from YG that have biggest income for the agency. They earnt more than $41 billion in a year from concerts, albums,and the other sales. Since Minzy left 2NE1 they have continued their career with only three members.

4. YG Entertainment – BLACKPINK


Netizens always said Blackpink is the new generation of 2NE1 and in fact since their debut with Boombayah until the new song As If It’s Your Last they have been YG’s newest girl group asset after 2NE1. In a year they can earn around $25,3 million.

5. YMC Entertainment – IOI


The girl group was formed through the survival show Produce 101 season 1, debuted with 11 members in 2016 and the title of the debut song is Dream Girls. Produce 101, a viral survival show, which is about 101 survival training, choose 11 members to debut and contract for 1 year. After 1 year I.O.I earnt around 100 billion won, 2,5 billion won from advertisements, 30 million won from photo shoots, and 1,2 billion won from digital charts and their individual schedules totaling 100 billion won.

6. STARSHIP Entertainment – SISTAR


Since their debut until before they disbanded SISTAR was the biggest income stream for STARSHIP. From concerts, albums, showcases, fanmeetings, and merchandise sales in a year they could earn around $23 billion. Now after SISTAR’s disbandment STARSHIP’s stock has gone down and their income is now from MONSTA X. Soyou and Dasom are still a part of STARSHIP meanwhile Bora moved to other agency and Hyolyn started to make new agency with her name.

7. SM Entertainment – F(x)


Before Sulli choose to leave F(x), F(x) was one of the biggest income streams for the agency with $4,4 million a year and with their individual schedules they earnt more than $5 million a year. But now SM Entertainment still focus on the individual schedule of F(x) and trying to find the the perfect timing for them to comeback. F(x)’s last comeback was with 4 Walls.

8. Core Contents Media – T-Ara


Starting with five members they debuted with Good Person as an OST of Korean Drama, two members – Jiwon and Jiae are no longer in the group, leaving four members Bora, Qri, Soyeon, Hwayoung in T-Ara. In a year they earn around $35 billion, but until now four members are still in the group T-Ara – Qri, Eunjung, Jiyeon, and Hyomin.

9. CUBE Entertainment – 4MINUTE


Before their disbandment from CUBE Entertainment, 4MINUTE earned $26 billion a year with albums, showcases, fan meetings, and individual schedules. But now after 4MINUTE’s disbandment the other members are focusing on their solo careers and some of them are still under CUBE Entertainment.

10. Daesung Entertainment ( DSP ) – KARA


The girl group that debuted in 2007 is the biggest income for DSP Entertainment, they can earn around $31 billion a year. Their success with concerts in Japan have seen more than 200.000 people attend.