Brazil With a K: Raising the Stakes
Artists from all over the world always have high expectations when visiting Brazil. The country is supposed to have one of the most passionate crowds an artist will ever experience, a choir singing along to every song, piles of gifts, and agglomerates waiting outside hotel doors and airports. That seems to have always been the norm for Brazilian fans of any music genre, any artist even, musician or not. However, after BTS’s last visit with two sold out dates in São Paulo and a massive search and appeal for more tickets, music specialists and event promoters seem to have fallen under the belief that fans of K-Pop groups like every single other K-Pop group. Under that false belief, there has been a mass assumption that every K-Pop concert in Brazil is set to be a massive success.
K-Pop concerts in Brazil haven’t not been a huge success. MONSTA X just ended their The Connect tour with a packed date at the same venue BTS performed at in 2015, Espaço das Américas, with an 8,000 capacity. Nonetheless, just a few days before the concert, a few professionals working with entertainment in Brazil took it to Twitter to express their disbelief at the fact that MONSTA X still had not sold out their concert and other K-Pop groups had been having low interest. The problem with their argument was that they brought BTS and ARMY into the conversation. The claims lied heavily on the fact that BTS is always asked for by fans. If a K-Pop group had such a massive crowd wanting to see them live, why wouldn’t others, right?
Well, that logic is at fault and lacks greater comprehension of what K-Pop truly is. K-Pop has long been seen as a single music genre instead of the industry it has become. Ignorance still leads people to believe that a fan likes K-Pop as a whole, with every group and artist falling into their interest. This isn’t a matter of being multifandom, or a solo stan, as Twitter calls it. While no one expects Ariana Grande, a pop singer, to sell out a venue or tour just because Katy Perry, another pop singer, did or for The Strokes, an indie rock band, to have a chart-topping single just because Arctic Monkeys, yet another indie rock band, did, many seem to believe that every K-Pop group will have the same high level of demand just because another one did.
In a very short time, Brazil saw BP Rania, D.I.P, and black6six at the World POP Festival, MONSTA X’s The Connect, The Rose’s Paint It Rose, MONT present at the Korean Culture Festival, VAV’s meet and greet, BLANC7 at Anime Friends, A.C.E's Adventure Calling, and MVP's South American tour. Other K-Pop concerts still set to happen this year include KARD, MAMAMOO, Bastarz, MOMOLAND, 24K, IMFACT, Dabit, and SF9. LOONA has also announced Brazil as the winner of their Cinema Theory pre-debut fansigning event and will possibly soon be seeing dates for the newest hot girl group. Aside from all of the confirmed dates, BTS also has every fan on the edge of their seats hoping their country will be the next to be added to the world tour list. Please note that these were the concerts and appearances my friends could remember and that I could find while researching—there’s a great possibility we missed a few names.
It’s pretty clear that 2018 has been the year for K-Pop in Brazil. And fans have been loving it, don’t get me wrong. But due to high demand of some events, especially BTS’s, there’s an incomprehensible belief that every K-Pop event will be just as big of a hit. While the discussion surrounding fan engagement in K-Pop events has always existed, this time around those working behind the scenes took it upon themselves to call upon all K-Pop fans to take action regarding K-Pop events that weren’t doing so well. Their claim was that if these confirmed events don’t amount a good crowd, future events might not happen. As a disclaimer, they said that fans, of course, shouldn’t go to every concert, but should take it as a responsibility to advertise concerts so that they could have high demand and interest for K-Pop acts in Brazil would then keep rising.
Fans, rightfully, weren’t too happy about that. Mostly politely, fans explained that liking a K-Pop group, or even a variety, does not mean that you like all of them, or even that you know all of them meaning that interests for K-Pop concerts vary, and so does the amount of fans who choose to advertise them. While many are always willing to help the context growth of K-Pop’s popularity in Brazil, they didn’t like being held accountable for selling out concerts while so many acts are packed in a short amount of time during the same year. Fans do want to see K-Pop in Brazil and are excited with all of the announcements, but perhaps promoters and representatives should listen to their interests prior to confirming so many concerts and appearances for the same year.