Top 1% singers earn $3 mn income, richest among Korean entertainers

2020.10.26 14:10:40 | 2020.10.26 14:11:01

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The 1-percent richest Korean singers earn an annual average of 3.4 billion won ($3.01 million) a year, or more than half of total income made by singers in Korea and double than the best-earners in acting.

According to data submitted by National Tax Service (NTS) upon request from Rep. Yang Kyung-sook of the ruling Democratic Party on Monday, 6,372 Korean singers that reported their 2018 annual income earned a total 409.5 billion won in income. The average income of each individual singer was 64.28 million won.

According to the data, the number of singers surged significantly over the past five years after aspiring singers flooded into the market and broadcasting stations held survival contests which enlarged overall industry.

In 2014, there were 4,855 singers that earned 286.4 billion won in combined income. Four years later, the number of singers jumped 31.3 percent to 6,300 in 2018 and income also surged 43 percent.

The wealth gap among singers has widened over the years.

Data showed that the top 1 percent earners – 63 of them – earned a combined 217.1 billion won in 2018, which is more than half of total earned income (53 percent). In 2014, the top 1 percent earners took 48.1 percent of total income.

A singer in the highest 1 percent income bracket earned an average of 3.4 billion won, which is 113 times more than the average income of the remaining 99 percent at 30.5 million won.

In 2018, there were 18,072 actors and actresses that include comedians and voice actors, data showed, who earned 36.14 million won each on an annual average. The top 1 percent income earners – 180 of them – earned 306.4 billion won annually, accounting for 46.9 percent of total income. Each of the high income earners earned an average of 1.7 billion won every year.

In the entertainment sector, models made modest income. In 2018, 8,179 models earned 86.6 billion won or 10.59 million won each. Top 1 percent models earned 39.8 billion won all together or 500 million won each.

By Kim Jung-hwan and Lee Eun-joo

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