There are always good and bad aspects to the K-Pop industry. Recently, the darker side has been put into the spotlight regarding those who write the songs and the concept of “ghostwriters.”
A ghostwriter is a person who has the job to write material for another artist. Although they might write the track, they will not be credited, and the acknowledgments will go to another party.
Former K-Pop trainee Grace Kim, also known as GrazyGrace, recently released a new video looking at the controversy surrounding ghostwriters, including why artists and producers use them.
According to Grace, one of the main reasons ghostwriters are used is because a company wants to portray their artists or writers as very talented and maintain an image of perfection.
In this case, they will pay the writers to write the song for them, but they will not actually get the credit in front of the audience. Everyone behind the industry knows that ghostwriters do exist and who writes for who.
— Grace Kim
Grace added that it is very normal in K-Pop, and there isn’t anything wrong with the idea of ghostwriting until that power is abused.
Many ghostwriters are rookies who have trained in academies in the hope of being one of the top songwriters in the future. However, if one of their songs is picked, the producers will sometimes take the glory without giving the writer the proper credit or compensation.
Yet, even with this mistreatment, many producers still see no wrong in what they’re doing. Grace explained that they have this mentality of doing the writer a favor.
Their excuse is basically saying, ‘Because I gave the opportunity for you to write for one of the biggest artists in K-Pop, I deserve 50% of what you should get.’ On top of that, they usually give 20% to the academy for an introduction fee.
— Grace Kim
However, as always, the hierarchy in K-Pop means that it is hard for many writers to have their voices heard.
If you do speak up (about the issues), they will probably never even refer you to any other entertainment companies out there. You might never get called again. Your song might never get picked again because that producer is so high up, and he’s so famous that he has a big influence on all these big companies.
— Grace Kim
It is a challenging career being a ghostwriter, and there seems to be no end to the hardships, whether it is constant pressure to write hits or not being given the compensation for what they have written.
You can watch the whole video below.