|Artists at the press conference for the MBC Korean Music Wave in Singapore concert. (Photo: MBC Korean Music Wave in Singapore)|
It was touted to be the biggest K-pop concert (ever?) in Singapore, with boasted acts such as a line-up of 13 Korean music acts, including Shinee, 2PM, 2AM, FT Island, Teen Top, Kara and 4Minute; even Girls' Generation's TaeTiSeo were said to be the colorful emcees for the supposedly three hour concert. Announcements were made, promotions on the way and tickets were sold (and at a hefty price of up to S$688!).
*This post is basically a rant. So for those of you who don't want to read about the grouses and the drama, you can skip this.* Although I did not buy the tickets (given the ridiculous pricing and too unique a venue), I did happen to win a pair of tickets to this concert (which are now deemed useless; DramaQueen was devastated) and was looking forward to it. So pardon me while I gripe about the poor ethics, lack of social responsibility, management and organization skills of a fish gone bad. I may not have spent any money on it, but the whole fiasco is one that still leaves a bad after-taste.
Before the concert even started, there were some tell-tale signs, but enthusiastic concert goers were oblivious of the drama that would soon ensue. The Singaporean promoter/organizer of the concert, FatFish Entertainment, actually asked for ‘donations’ from fans for the idols food and transport, fan-projects as they are called. After the criticism, FatFish went into damage control and apologized, even to the extent of cancelling these “projects” which were already half way through with some fans having invested quite a bit of effort and money. From FatFish’s statement (taken from ST):
“We have noted there are recent online news articles that criticized fans-support projects with regards to the StarHub Presents MBC Korean Music Wave in Singapore 2013.
This is entirely our fault and responsibility. We apologize to the fans that it was our earlier request to get donation of food and transport subsidy from fans. The request was inappropriate. It was never our intention to burden the fans with cost. We are sorry for the confusion that causes the fans to think negatively about our intention.”
See all those bold and underlined words? Fan projects are just what they are, fan projects - projects initiated and sustained by the fans. It should never be at the bequest of the promoter or organizer to blatantly request for such things (especially when the ticket pricing is exorbitant). The fact that FatFish chose to use the word subsidy together with donation should have indicated an issue with the company’s finances. Such fan projects should be used to enhance the concert not subsidize for it (for the fish). It was poorly handed and abruptly cancelled (I am sure there could have been alternatives around this valid “criticism”). And before anyone realized it, 10 days before the slated concert, it was officially canceled by FatFish “due to unforeseen circumstances, including contractual difficulties with our co-producer, MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation)”.
Within matter of days, FatFish soon became a flat fish as it winds up and closes business in a ‘bid’ to liquidate to refund those who purchased the tickets. What is even more upsetting would be those fans who had booked plane and hotel just to attend the concert. Even if they manage to get back their refund (which is highly unlikely that everyone would get refunded in time and appropriately, but who knows I could be wrong bleh), their intangible loss of time of money on getting here (and the disappointment) is impossible to refund.
It is evident through this fiasco that FatFish Entertainment, being a relatively young company toook a bite more than they could handle (or did they?), and it seems that they are not the only ones to have bad PR at managing fan expectations and being successful at the same time. They are just the latest one to close down (but who knows if they will just open another company under another name and commit the same ‘mistake’ again?)...
Business these days is all about statistics and figures, and we seem to have lost the 'heart' along the way as well. When something does happen, the easiest way seems to be to back out and save your own skin (as much as possible), leaving those that ‘believed’ in you stranded (in a way).. Concerts (regardless of genre) can be canceled (last minute), disputes can arise, fans can be disappointment and money can be absconded with (or not) – this is the volatile ’greedy’ world in which we live in today. Whether or not it is “packaged” and presented in an acceptable ‘convincing’ way (with believable 'sincerity') is a whole different ball game.