Ever wondered how much Korea’s A-list celebrities are really pulling in? According to data disclosed by the National Assembly’s Strategy And Finance Committee on September 30th, which sourced information from the National Tax Service, the numbers are quite the eye-opener.
In 2021, 7,729 singers reported a combined income of 515.6 billion KRW ($431 million USD). This averages out to about 66.8 million KRW ($56,000 USD) per person. However, 77 of those singers, representing the top 1%, took home an astounding 355.5 billion KRW ($297 million USD), making up a whopping 68.9% of the total income for singers. This means each averaged a cool 4.6 billion KRW ($3.8 million USD).
And the earnings have been evolving. The average income for the top 1% of singers was 3.1 billion KRW in 2017, 3.4 billion KRW in 2018, 2.2 billion KRW in 2019, and 1.7 billion KRW in 2020. While the income did see a dip in 2019 and 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 affecting concerts and overseas activities, the likes of BTS, BLACKPINK, SEVENTEEN, Stray Kids, and NCT have been ramping up their game and boosting the overall income levels.
As for the actors category, In 2021, the top 1% of 160 actors raked in 382.9 billion KRW ($320 million USD), accounting for 48.6% of the total income in their field. They each averaged about 2.2 billion KRW ($1.8 million USD). Over the years, their earnings have been fairly consistent, recording 1.5 billion KRW in 2017, 1.7 billion KRW in 2018, 1.8 billion KRW in 2019, and 1.7 billion KRW in 2020.
And let’s not forget the models. The creme de la creme, making up the top 1% of 95 individuals, hauled in 43 billion KRW ($36 million USD). They each cashed in around 453 million KRW ($380,000 USD) on average.
So it seems the top 1% of Korea’s entertainers are living the high life, and their pockets are as full as their schedules.