A series of confirmed cases of the new corona virus infection (COVID 19) have put the music industry on alert. As the confirmation of the singer himself and his staff was announced on the 3rd, anxiety is growing. It seems inevitable that the broadcast schedule will also be disrupted. Against this backdrop, self-rescue measures to keep social distance from the music industry, such as online fan meetings and performances, are drawing attention.
◆ 3 K-pop artists were confirmed to be COVID19 in just one day. People are getting anxious.
Yoon Hak (real name Jeong Yoon-hak, 36, photo), a former boy band “Choshinsung,” was the first Korean celebrity to be confirmed as COVID 19. Earlier on Thursday, the group Super Nova, the successor to “Choshinsung,” said in a notice on Japan’s official website that Yoon Hak was in poor physical condition and was tested by a South Korean medical institution on April 31 and found to be COVID 19. Yoon Hak, who worked on his schedule in Japan last month, returned home on the 24th of the same month.
Super Nova said Yoon Hak was hospitalized at a hospital in Seoul on the same day and is currently committed to treatment, adding that he is “sorry for the concern and inconvenience.” All the staff members who worked with Yoon Hak were tested negative.
Yoon Hak has become more popular in Japan than in Korea, serving as the leader of the group “Choshinsung,” which debuted in 2007. Choshinsung resumed its activities in Japan under the new group name of “Super Nova” in 2018, and Yoon Hak also appeared in dramas and musicals.
Girl group Everglow’s agency Yue Hua Entertainment also said Thursday that two of its staff members have been confirmed to be COVID 19. All members of Everglow have been tested negative, but they have canceled all scheduled schedules according to the government’s and related agencies’ quarantine guidelines and have been at their own prices for two weeks. In particular, the first confirmed case of the COVID 19 by Yue Hua was reported to have attended the recording of SBS MTV’s music show “The Show,” which took place on April 24, further raising anxiety among music industry insiders.
The broadcast schedule has also been disrupted. That’s why Juyeon, members of THE BOYZ and Kim Min-kyu, who are hosting “The Show” with Everglow members Si-hyeon, have been tested for COVID 19 and are self-purchased. She did not contact the confirmed person directly, but was voluntarily examined for safety. The production team has also been at a price point for two weeks. As a precaution, The Show decided to cancel the broadcast on July 7.
◆ The K-pop world that campaigns for ‘social distance’
As a result, tension is rising again in the K-pop scene, where singer and actor Kim Jae-joong complained about April Fool’s lie that he was infected with COVID19 on his social media on the 1st.
Two staff members of singer Chungha, who attended Milan Fashion Week last month, were confirmed early this month, and issues related to COVID19 have been dormant in the music industry for some time after the tested negative Chung Ha ended her own price.
Concerns, however, are mounting as the three confirmed cases were announced on Thursday in a single day. The “social distance” guideline is expected to be strengthened in the K-pop industry, which has been responding well to COVID19 in a relatively non-face-to-face manner. In fact, singers who release their latest new album have rarely done promotional activities offline.
Instead, for fans who don’t have a chance to meet their favorite singers in person through concerts, fan meetings and music shows, they are trying a fan service that allows them to face the singer’s face without the risk of infection of COVID19.
Boy group EXO Suho, who recently released a solo album, held two fan signing events on the 2nd and 4th using video calls. Dubbed the “Video Call Event,” the fan signing event was held by Suho making a video call to the winner of the Suho album, having a two-minute conversation, and sending a signed CD to their home. In addition to Suho, girl group Gugudan’s Sejeong and rookie boy band MCND recently held video fan signing events.
An official from SM Entertainment, Suho’s agency, explained on the 6th, “With no fan signing event due to COVID19, fans have a chance to talk to the singer one-on-one.”
The so-called “Home Live,” which shows performances at home through real-time streaming of social media, is also active. Unlike concerts held at large concert halls, fans will respond to comments posted on the chat room and receive song requests. For fans, they can feel the cozy atmosphere where the singer quietly sings in his home.
Kwon Jung-yeol of the group 10cm held a “Phonecert” (a combination of mobile phones and concerts) live on Instagram on the 20th of last month. Kwon Jung-yeol also pointed to Ko Young-bae, the vocalist of the band Soran, as the next performer, saying, “It’s a small cheer I can give as a gift, but I hope I can cheer up a little bit.”
Henry also performed live on Instagram for a performance titled “Henry Live Show” on April 27. He said, “I know how much I want to go see good performances and go out to play. So I decided to send a gift to Henry’s house,” he explained.
Boy groups NU’EST and SEVENTEEN are transforming their team logos and encouraging “social distance.” On the 2nd, they released a modified image that dropped shapes in the existing logo on their official social networking service (SNS) accounts and fan cafes.