hello. my name is nadia, and i executive produced teen top’s high kick north america tour.
a lot of people have asked how i came about doing this job and how exactly one lands a job like this. to be honest, i don’t know if there is a fun or glamorous answer to this, besides working your ass off and living off no sleep.
i guess since fans post fan accounts of the tour, i’m going to post a producer account. haha. it gets tl;dr, but if you’re interested, you can read about everything here.
everything i say here doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of my company, artist management or the artist. it’s just me, on my personal tumblr. trying to reach out to the world.
booking the act
we were deliberating launching krowdpop since december last year, after we did the VIXX show. VIXX was one of the hardest experiences i ever had, but for some reason, probably insanity, i decided to take up an even bigger project. teen top’s high kick tour.
we began negotiations for teen top to go on krowdpop in december, and i won’t go in to much detail, but we finally locked the contract down in february. in the negotiation period, you talk to management regarding the technical rider, hospitality rider and artist guarantee. basically everything you need to provide to the artist for their show. flights, hotels, how much they get paid for each show, etc. once the artist and their management are paid, it’s up to you to handle everything else. typically, the management doesn’t actually pay for the tour. the producer does.
once you figure out that number, which is usually close to half a million dollars, you go off to find money to make the show happen. pitching to sponsors, investors, selling tickets. determining the price of tickets based on how much it costs you to put on a tour. traditionally, promoters and producers fully assume the financial risks of a tour. this means, if you don’t sell enough tickets for a certain city, you lose a few hundred thousands of dollars. with krowdpop, we calculated basically how much each show would cost and the budget to produce each show, and let the fans decide if we could do it. we’re not a big corporation or a big company, we are a startup with less than twenty employees and cannot afford to lose that kind of money.
so yes, finding money. very important. unless you have half a million or so to start working with, your show isn’t going to happen. this kind of budget isn’t even for a huge group, where you will need a starting budget of a few million dollars. now, who would give you that kind of money? not many people, to be honest.
logistics are the biggest nightmare. finding flights for about 25 people and keeping to a budget, a hotel that meets the hospitality rider needs. locating a restaurant that can accommodate everyone and serves the right food at the right price point. a venue that is big enough for your show and won’t cost you more in rentals for production. coordinating cars and transportation in multiple cities, with multiple different companies, giving them the daily schedule in each city.
scheduling a tour is not on a day-by-day basis, but an hour-to-hour basis. and you know what? it changes in a heartbeat, so the schedule you started out with before, can just be thrown out the window and you just deal with the fire of reworking the entire schedule on the day of. can you say “no, i’m not gonna schedule since you’re gonna change it anyway”? nope. not unless you want to get fired. haha.
as an executive producer, dealing with fans is the hardest part of the job. i still struggle with this every damn day. as a kpop fan myself, i understand how important it is to treat the fans right, but at the same time, i’m learning to understand how you cannot please everyone, and if you try to please everyone, you will fail.
while i want to do right by every fan that comes my way, i am responsible for my company, the artist and their management, and i can’t make any move unless it’s agreed upon by everyone. basically it’s like playing a chess match where your opponent has flipped over the board and is screaming at you, but you cannot react until everyone on your team is in agreement. if it upsets your opponent more, you’re the human shield for everyone else. haha. your job is to make sure the fans divert their hate towards you and your company, not the artist and their management.
i get thousands of tweets and e-mails every single day from fans, a lot of them asking for help in terms of money, making a show happen even though they didn’t hit their target, telling me how much they hated krowdpop and our system was unfair. it was really hard for me to stomach because i came into this wanting to help, but at the same time, knowing that i disappointed people, it really killed me.
if you want to be a tour producer, you have to learn to deal with a lot of hate. think about it this way, every couple of minutes, you get an e-mail or a tweet telling you that you sucked, your team was horrible or that you should go to hell and that you should never do a concert again. it’s rough, but it’s part of the job. you read through all of this every day and just wake up the next day with a smile on your face. you don’t flinch, even when the meanest, nastiest things are said to you.
also, if you do kpop for the US, you work on two different timezones. weekends? no. you don’t have those. you spend all your time talking to fans so that they know you’re there to listen. if you disappear, they panic and come up with their own conclusions, and get upset. you can’t afford to leave them alone for too long or it will make your job harder.
fan bases are either your best friend or worst enemy. i’ve worked with some great fan bases who understand how hard it is, but also fan bases who had a lot of expectations and just thought everything you do is bullshit. you win some, you lose some, but try to do your best anyway.
to be honest, a lot of producers, or i can say, all other producers, don’t really spend time talking to fans. it gives them a direct line to voice their anger, and with everything else that’s going on during the tour, it’s not something they have time to deal with.
on tour, your best friends are coffee, red bull and if you’re over 21, tequila shots at the end of each tour. why? because that’s the only way you would be able to stay awake after working a 22 hour day. multiply that by however many tour stops you have.
my team saved my life. i could never do this without them. every single one of them from my tour staff, my production manager, my artist manager, mnet america’s team, to every single volunteer. they saved my ass. they saved me from breaking down. they did their jobs above and beyond excellence even if it’s just picking up coffee, or making sure i had everything i needed on my clipboard. as an EP, you have to understand, you are nothing without your team.
the artist and management
we lucked out with teen top. they are fantastic boys, and even today, i miss them. they were so easy to work with and didn’t make any demands. their management was very easygoing with them, and let them have their freedom this tour so they remained comfortable. minju, my artist manager, dealt with most of the artist and management requests. your artist manager is one of the most important persons on tour. he or she is the one who will tell you when the artist or management needs something, and finds out from you whether or not it is doable. if you say no, and it displeases the management, it’s the artist manager who has the lovely job of telling them that.
they spend the most time with the artist. depending on who it is, it’s either a pro or a con. this time it was a pro, since teen top was really great. i wish i could have spent more time with them.
at the end of the tour
don’t expect anyone to thank you for the work you’ve put in. you’ll be sorely disappointed. haha. this is where you start listening to feedback from fans, from staff, from everyone, and learn how you will do your next tour even better. but don’t leave any tour thinking you will get any recognition for it.
you leave the tour with a lot of new memories and new friends. and those who were your friends before, you are even closer now because you’ve basically gone through hell and back together. it’s ride or die, and when you walk through the fire and make it out alive, it’s the best feeling in the entire world.
i am now going to hibernate for a week, for the loss of sleep and sanity throughout this tour, but trust that in the moments that i’m not asleep, i’m on to planning the next tour for june/july this year. so watch out for it.
krowdpop is coming back for you!
Wow I had no idea it was this difficult!
Props to these companies making kpop concerts happen for us international fans