#Let’sTalk: Is all the fuss and fanwars about MAMA 2017 worth it?

MAMA

It’s that time of the year again. The time of the year where award ceremonies are quickly approaching which means endless fanwars and lots of arguing about whose year 2017 belonged to.

Over the general course of the past few weeks since the announcement of the Mnet Asian Music Awards and the release of details plus nominations for the award ceremony, there has been a lot of discussion, fanwars, and hate going around. I kind of just wanted to talk about MAMA itself and how it has created such a toxic and painful environment for many folks all in the name of money and profit.

I’m going to try to make this short as possible, but seeing just how controversial MAMA is this year and every year it might not lol. But my first point would be that voting for MAMA will not make a big difference. I’ve been into K-Pop for the past decade and just from my observations of Mnet in general, I can almost say that Mnet has probably already determined and selected who the winners of the awards for MAMA are (I say probably because I don’t actually know but I’m just assuming based on my observations). Just like how they’ve done with their other shows such as Show Me the Money, Produce 101 Seasons 1 and 2, YG’s WIN: Who is Next, they’ve already selected who’s gonna win ahead of time, but to earn more money and profit, they emphasize on this culture of fanvoting and tricking fans into thinking that their votes actually matter when it doesn’t so that they can get more money that way. Do you really think that MAMA is going to let fans determine who the winners of the awards are when they could potentially have entertainment companies paying them money under the table and behind the scenes so that their artists and groups could win certain awards? Mnet is getting money in many different ways and fanvoting is just one of those many ways. They’re not going to let fans have so much influence and impact in determining who gets to win an award or not. I’ve watched plenty of shows and seasons from Mnet and they’re just super sketchy, corrupt, and shady. Whether that’s bringing back contestants who were already eliminated into the competition (coughSMTM4cough), purposely editing episodes to make people look bad and for the purpose of creating drama on the show, or removing votes that they found “illegal” without giving some kind of explanation or criteria as to what they meant by “illegal votes” to the public, Mnet does things on purpose that they know will bring in more views and therefore more money. They can care less about the people, about the audience, about the artists and groups themselves — all they care about is money and if that means making someone look bad or editing shows and episodes in certain ways to create drama then so be it. Out of all the awards ceremonies and broadcast channels, Mnet to me is the least credible. I don’t find the work that they do professional or worthy at all, but it’s unfortunate that they’re smart in the way that they promote and market their shows or in the different ways that they come up with to make money and views which fans buy into and feed off of. Mnet knows how to do business, but they do business in such a stupid way and unfortunately fans buy into it every single time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mnet has already selected who the winners of MAMA are, but are just promoting this fanvoting culture to get fans to vote because they know they’ll get more money out of it. And in fact, that’s what I think they are doing.

Additionally, I don’t think MAMA is dumb enough to let some groups and artists go home empty-handed. They’re obviously going to hand out awards to the groups with the biggest fandoms. So for popular groups like EXO and BTS, Mnet is probably going to give them some kind of award. It might or might not be the Daesang, but they will not let the bigger and more popular groups go home empty-handed because Mnet knows that doing so will lead to a lot of backlash and hate which they do not want because that means less money for them in the end. Let’s say that EXO and BTS do not win any awards at this year’s MAMA. That means fans will be mad and will boycott MAMA or not return the next year which means less money and revenue for Mnet which they do not want. Instead what they’re going to do is give different groups different awards so that everyone is satisfied in the end and therefore will return again the following year to vote for their favorites which means more money for Mnet. I can’t say for sure which award EXO or BTS or IU or TWICE is going to win, but I’m pretty sure they’re going to win some kind of award because they’re the bigger artists and groups right now in the K-Pop industry. To make them go home empty-handed is probably one of the worst and confusing decisions that Mnet can make at least from a business standpoint and perspective.

I know there’s been a lot of fanwars as to who’s going to win for MAMA and therefore a lot of hate and bashing for other groups going around. There’s always fanwars in general in K-Pop which I think is unfortunate, a waste of time, and super toxic. I think the concept that fans have to understand is that the K-Pop industry is always constantly changing, evolving, and growing — meaning that your favorites will not be at the top forever. There will eventually be a new group who will take over and come out on top. But that doesn’t discredit the achievements, successes, precedents, history, and trends that your favorite group might have set and accomplished when they were a top group during that certain moment. Your favorites might not be the most relevant now as they used to be back then, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t successful or that they didn’t set trends and precedents or that they didn’t help pave the way for future idols and groups of K-Pop. Hell, DBSK is not relevant now as they used to be back then, but they will always be remembered as legends because of the many doors they opened in both Korea and Japan to the idols and groups who debuted after them. The same can be said about other 2nd generation groups like SNSD, Big Bang, Wonder Girls, SISTAR, f(x), SHINee, BEAST/Highlight, etc etc. Many artists and groups from the 2nd generation are now either not as active as they used to be or have disbanded, but you can’t deny that they all left a mark in the K-Pop industry in their own ways and contributions. Currently, we’re now in the phase of K-Pop where those in the 3rd-generation are the most popular. Groups who debuted in 2012 and after are the ones who are the most trendy, most popular, and most relevant within the K-Pop industry. They’re the ones who you see the most often on variety shows, they’re the ones who are headlining different concerts and festivals, they’re the ones who are the most talked about. Groups like EXO, BTS, TWICE, Red Velvet, Black Pink, etc. are the groups who are the biggest right now and they’re all from the 3rd generation. This proves my point once again that new groups will eventually replace your favorites and that popularity doesn’t last forever. It’s useless to engage in fanwars about who’s the popular, about who’s the best group, who’s at the top because in a couple of years it’s not going to matter. No one thought that DBSK would break up and divide into two different groups, no one ever thought that Wonder Girls would disband since they were so successful with constants hits like ‘Tell Me’ and ‘Nobody’, people didn’t think Big Bang or f(x) would be as inactive back then because they were going so strong in their careers respectively. But fast forward a few years now and they’re each doing their own things and are pretty much inactive. Once again, your groups will not be popular forever. In the case of MAMA, it’s not going to matter who won which award at MAMA. And even if your bias group doesn’t win at MAMA, it’s not the end of the world. Your favorite group will still be alive. Your favorite group’s career will still thrive even after MAMA. MAMA isn’t even that credible of an award show in the first place so I don’t understand why so many fans get so caught up in all the fanwars, voting, and competition. It’s useless and it’s not worth your time. I used to be all about this life too. Trust me. I used to vote all the time for my favorites, watch all their shows, watch all their MV’s endlessly, and did whatever I could to support them. But after a while, when you’ve been a fan of the industry for so long and you slowly start to gain a better understanding of how everything works, you realize that you shouldn’t take K-Pop too seriously. You realize that there are other things to better invest your time in. You understand that fanwars are useless, that voting is useless, that K-Pop is not all rainbows and unicorns like how you originally thought it was. Maybe fanvoting does play a role to some extent in determining who the winners of the awards are, but it’s not everything and fanvoting is not the biggest factor that Mnet is going to let determine who wins the awards or not. Yeah, you can vote as much for your favorites, create a thousand accounts to vote for your favorites and whatnot, but at the end of the day the ones with the most power and influence here is Mnet themselves and they will get to decide who they want to win which award. And also, if there’s anything worth talking about when it comes to MAMA, it should be the fact that things were a lot better when MAMA was MKMF before switching itself to MAMA. People actually cared about the performances and music than the awards and competition at that time. MKMF > MAMA.

So don’t bash other groups, don’t put other groups down, don’t say or do anything hurtful just to prove that your group is the best and is the most popular because in a couple of years all of this will not matter and your group will not be the most popular forever. Just like everything else and all the other groups before, one’s popularity will not last and there will eventually be a downfall. Learn to appreciate what you have while you have it by supporting your favorites, listening to their music, buying their music and albums, going to their concerts if you can, and not engaging in fanwars and arguments with others. It’s unfortunate that nowadays fans don’t understand that though and that K-Pop has become more about competition, music charts, and popularity than the music itself because it shouldn’t be that way.

You have to remember that K-Pop is a business at the very end of the day and that this industry is all about making money and profit. Yes, it’s great to have a special relationship with your favorites and to be able to listen to their music, watch them on shows, and “get to know them” as a fan, but they are profiting off of you and so is their entertainment company. So once again, don’t take K-Pop too seriously and don’t devote all your effort, money, and time into it especially if it’s so toxic and negative for you. K-Pop can be fun, but it can also be stressful, demanding, and time-consuming. It’s ultimately up to you as to how you want to spend your time, energy, and money so if you wanna vote for your favorites for MAMA go ahead, but learn to be wise and smart in how you use these things because before you know it, that time that you spend on K-Pop arguing and engaging in fanwars is time that you are never going to get back. So use your time wisely while you have it and spend it on the things that actually matters and will be relevant 10 years from now.

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