Big Bang Blowup

Reinforcing the idea that broadcasters still have a very powerful influence over South Korea’s music industry, a Korean TV network has banned the appearance of one of K-pop’s most popular groups due to a perceived slight.

The Seoul Broadcasting System says that the boy band Big Bang will not be able to appear on its music program, “Inkigayo,” for the time being because two of the group’s members did not show up to receive a music award during a recent live broadcast.

The group’s management company, YG Entertainment, released a statement saying that the two absent members, G-Dragon and Top, were busy at the time shooting a music video. SBS, apparently, did not accept the reason as valid. A music industry representative quoted in the PopAsia music blog explained that “it has always been problematic when a first place group does not appear on the live broadcast unless they had an unavoidable reason. Big Bang … might have been filming a music video, but the staff must have seen it as unfair to the [other] groups.”

Since SBS gives out an award every week in accordance with the results of viewers voting on recently released singles, Big Bang has many opportunities to appear on the show. Some fans, in fact, suspect that SBS is gaming the voting system so as to avoid having Big Bang win. The group’s newest single, “Bang Bang Bang,” was added to the show’s voting list 40 hours after it was released, and though it quickly moved to number one on the charts, it came in second in the voting for that week.