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Are Kpop Idols Rich?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Yes, Kpop idols that have decent popularity are rich. However, not every kpop idol is rich. In fact, they are very poor and have no income because of the company. The idols that just debut have to pay large amounts of money back to the company before they’re allowed to keep it themselves.

Most Kpop idols that have been in the industry for a long time are quite rich. The average Kpop idol makes about USD 100,000 the first year. After the idols gain more popularity, income will also increase.

However, there are also idols that never blow up and won’t even get to debut. Those idols often build up thousands of debt because of the company. The company pays all the expenses upfront for the idols.

Think about food, living, and entertainment expenses while the idols train. 

The company lets them go after they accumulate debt from living for such a long time without being able to become an idol.

How Much Do Kpop Idols Make?

Some idols earn up to a million per year. However, there are too many factors that come into play to just make a blanket statement like that.

On average, they make about USD 100,000 the first year after debuting. Of course, this varies based on their popularity and success.

Their salary also increases significantly once they become popular because companies will want them to be more active with CFs (commercials) and other activities.

Most idols invest or save the majority of their money. once they get too old and won’t be able to perform there income will drastically decrease. This is why idols make such a big amount in the early years of their debut.

Other idols that don’t have a 2nd income source often go into acting or producing their own music. Idols like G-dragon became a fashion icon, and everything he attaches his name to gets sold out.

Who Is The Richest Kpop Idol?

The richest kpop idol is G-Dragon. He comes from an entertainment family and has been in the industry since he was young.

He is also a producer, so he can make money by producing songs for other idols, and they pay him a large amount as well.

G-dragon has made at least $700,000 each year in royalties alone. This is not including any other type of income he has made.

There are many other kpop idols that have a decent bag, but those idols are mainly the older ones. You don’t see very young idols with millions unless they have another source of income.

The Big 4 Entertainment Companies

Here below are the big 4 entertainment companies. These are the ones that produce the most popular idols. Once an idol debuts under one of these companies, their popularity skyrockets to instant fame.

However, it often takes 10+ years of extremely harsh training and dieting before they get to debut.

How Rich Is YG Entertainment

YG Entertainment is one of the most famous entertainment companies that produce some of the hottest idols. They have produced idols, including Big Bang, 2NE1, Psy, and more.

The company is founded by Yang Hyun-suk, who is a famous music producer and was the former CEO of YG Entertainment.

It also has debuted many groups like treasure, winner, and iKon. These groups are quite popular in Korea and have gained the attention of international fans.

Estimated: $510 Million

How Rich Is SM Entertainment

SM Entertainment is one of the biggest entertainment companies in South Korea. It is one of the “Big 4” which are the most famous and well known. The company produces many popular idols, including Super Junior, TVXQ (DBSK), SNSD (Girl’s Generation), Shinee, f(x), and EXO.

The company is founded by Lee Soo-man, who is an extremely famous music producer. He has been in the industry since he was young and founded SM Entertainment.

Estimated: $950 Million

How Rich Is JYP Entertainment

JYP Entertainment is also one of the biggest entertainment companies. It has produced many successful idol groups like Twice, ITZY, Got7, and more.

The company is founded by Park Jin-Young, who is a famous singer, songwriter, and record producer.

Estimated: $740 Million

How Rich Is BigHit Entertainment

BigHit Entertainment is one of the newer entertainment companies that has produced one of the biggest boy groups worldwide. BTS is taking over the world and has been doing that for many years in a row.

Every comeback, they break new records or get at least 50 million views in the first 24 hours. You don’t really see this anywhere else, so it’s really rare that they stay relevant for so long.

Some people are quite skeptical because of the enlistment, and they won’t be actively promoting their music while they’re serving the army.

Estimated: $3.2 billion

Is It Worth Becoming A Kpop Idol?

Yes, becoming an idol is definitely worth it if you have the dedication and the ability to work hard. However, it comes with sacrifices, so you must be aware of everything that comes along with being an idol.

Here are some things that you probably have to give up:

  • Going out with friends
  • Having free time
  • Eating out whenever you want
  • Having your own privacy
  • Getting a normal sleep schedule
  • Enjoying a fun college life or a carefree high school life
  • Being able to have an intimate relationship (or relationships in general, for that matter)

There are more things to consider, however, for most people, and it’s worth giving it a try because becoming an idol is all they want. Idols often work for more than 10+ years before even making it into the final debut group.

Even then, you’re not guaranteed a spot because the competition is very fierce. There are thousands of trainees that are working their way up in order to get into the debut group.

So you must also be very talented, and sadly a thing that you need to be is “attractive” or whatever that means. You need to fit into the Korean beauty standards that the kpop industry has.

Keep in mind that everything will pay off in the end, but you really need to give up a lot of things, and there’s no guarantee to even make it. So think of this as a gamble, and you’ll either win big or lose all that you have invested for the past 10+ years.


At the end of the day, it’s really up to you. Becoming an idol isn’t easy, and there are thousands of other people that want to become a trainee too.

If you do it well and make it into the big 4, you’ll probably get very rich. It might take many years, but in the end, it will all be worth it once you’ve made lots of money and achieved want you wanted to.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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