Sulli’s death highlights cruelty of South Korean K-pop industry

By Xiao Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/15 16:33:40

South Korean singer Sulli Photo: VCG

South Korean K-pop star Sulli's death on Monday by suspected suicide highlights mental health pressures, a dark byproduct of an industry worth $4.7 billion. 

The sad demise of the 25-year-old K-pop singer and actress instantly made Sina Weibo's "hot search" list. The news has garnered billions of views on the platform. 

The huge amount of attention the piece of news has received also points to the clout of the K-pop industry which netted $4.7 billion in global revenues in 2016.

Known for its superiority in churning out pop stars, the industry is, however, something of a wealth-generating machine. K-pop stars grappling with tremendous pressures from exploitative management firms are merely tiny parts of the highly efficient machine. 

It could be said that Sulli's death, adding to previous similar cases, reveals the cruelty of the industry that South Korea has long taken pride in.

If the parts, however tiny they might be, are uncared for or poorly maintained, how good is the machine? 

Just as Sulli sang on her track titled "Goblin" in her first solo album of the same name released in June, "It's not a bad day; it's just okay. I'm pretty sick of it, it's true."

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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