Korean rapper Grazy Grace, who was previously a contestant on Unpretty Rapstar 3, took to her YouTube channel to share why she thought managers in Korea are so mean, as well as the harsh working conditions the managers experience.
Larger agencies have multiple managers for different things, while smaller companies tend to have all-in-one managers. The different managers you might come across are road managers, schedule managers, and talent managers, just to name a few, with road managers being one of the lower-ranking managers.
Managers are usually younger males who are in their 20s. If they can tough it out after around seven years, they rise up the hierarchy. Grace shares that how managers treat you is generally a combination of their personality and your status in the company.
Assuming all the managers are different people (rather than one person doing everything), they’re all kept very busy with their respective tasks, whether that means driving idols from one place to another, picking up food, or making sure idols are on schedule. They also have to have a good relationship with broadcasting companies to help get promotional opportunities and air time for their artists.
Managers also spend time arranging meetings with producers in which they hustle to talk up how great their artists are and why the broadcasting company would benefit from promoting them. Grace said that managers must be tough like lions and that she’s never seen a manager that didn’t smoke. Aside from the stress that comes with the job, they also don’t have a lot of opportunities to sleep!
All managers that I’ve seen in my life, they all smoke because it’s so stressful.
Aside from shuttling artists back-and-forth, they also have to wait for the artists to finish and complete other tasks set by the company during that time frame. Filming, Grace says, can take up to 14-hours! So, as you can imagine, there isn’t a lot of downtime in the life of a manager. At the end of their day, they might get two hours of sleep before continuing the cycle.
I’ve seen so many managers get yelled at by the CEO or higher staff, and even when things aren’t their fault they get sh*t on because they’re the lower ranking…
Because managers are at the bottom of the hierarchy and are directly responsible for the artists, if the artist doesn’t follow their diet (and lose weight) or show up on time for events, it is ultimately the manager’s fault.
Unfortunately, the treatment of the managers by the higher-ups in the company has a trickle-down effect. Because managers are directly responsible for artists, they are often mean, perhaps unreasonably so, in order to get artists to listen to them to avoid getting in trouble. There are also situations in which managers take their anger out on artists after being yelled at by upper management, and in turn, take their frustrations out on the artists and yell at them.
Lower-level managers don’t get paid very much, and don’t receive overtime pay, so regardless of what time they left the office the previous night (or morning), they are still expected to be at work at 9:00 am sharp.
As if that wasn’t harsh enough, Grace suspects that there is a limited amount of company cards to go around, and even then, that there is a limit to how much can be spent on it each month. So, managers often pay for things for their artists out of their own pockets and are expected to hold onto the receipts for reimbursement, however, it might take months before they see their money back.
Going back to discussing meetings for a second, managers also pay out of pocket for every round of drinks for the clients they take out to wine-and-dine.
If a manager was drinking all night till morning, they need to still get one or two hours of sleep, go into the work office by 9:00 am, take care of the artist for whatever their schedule is, and then, you know, the rotation just goes round and round.
There are also times when managers get rough with fans. While Grace doesn’t condone violence, she concedes that managers are put in the difficult situation of being the “tough guy” to protect the artist when there are thousands of fans swarming them.
Not all managers are bad. Grace shares that if you have a good relationship with your manager, they might not tattle to the company if you go out to drink at night or have a boyfriend, and will opt to be on your side and protect you. On the flip side of the coin though, there are managers who are just bad.
For example, Grace shares two anecdotes in which friends of a friend were hit on by their managers, with one manager even proposing marriage after the artist left the industry!
Those situations are awkward and put artists in a bad position because they have to report that behavior to the agency despite the fear of retaliation.
As for why managers are such crazy drivers? They’re taught to do that. Artists are put on tight schedules and the destinations are rarely near each other, to say nothing of traffic. Managers have to drive crazy to get to the destination on time or face the wrath of the company.
Ever wonder why the managers aren’t caught speeding? It’s because GPS in Korea tell the drivers when there’s a traffic light or traffic camera coming up, so they know when to slow down!
All of these scenarios are things Grace has seen, experienced, or heard of through other friends. With that, she says, “Imagine what goes on behind closed doors.”
From about 11:00 in her video, Gracy shares her personal experiences with a terrible manager.