When fans of Korean music come to visit Korea, one of the first things that they want to try and do is get into a taping of one of the four major music shows in South Korea. Those are M Countdown on MNet, Music Bank on KBS, Music Core on MBS, and Inkigayo on SBS. The procedures to get into these shows can change depending on countless factors, such as weather, location, other television events, and the groups taking part in the filming. However, there are a few things that any savvy fan should know before heading out to the studio.
1. Know your location.
This means more than simply knowing the station and where to go to get to the studio. Knowing what you will be surrounded by while you wait makes a huge difference.
M Countdown: There is a small cafe and a Coldstone Creamery inside the building. Across the street is a convenience store. However, this location has very little in terms of getting proper food without straying down the road a little.
Music Bank: Located in Yeouido, Music Bank is in the centre of one of the main business districts in Seoul. Across the road from Yeouido park and the National Assembly buildings, there is no shortage of restaurants and cafes to go to while waiting.
Music Core: Located in Ilsan, Music Core is very well located in terms of keeping well fed and sheltered. There are countless restaurants and cafes around the studio, and even a Daiso so people can pick up anything they might need while waiting.
Inkigayo: Inkigayo’s strongest asset is the Homeplus across the street. Housing a Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins on the first floor, a few restaurants on the first level of the basement, and an entire grocery store as well as a food court in the second level of the basement, the Homeplus is an easy place to get food, drinks, and last minute gifts. However, recent laws have forced Homeplus to close every second and fourth Sunday in the month. On the weekends when Homeplus is closed, Inkigayo is a very difficult show to go to, since the closest reliable bathroom is a couple hundred metres down the road, in the far end of the sybway station.
2.Make your claim.
There are many ways fan clubs ask fans to prove they were there. It used to be a list system. However, these are proving to be difficult to be fair with larger fan clubs, so depending on photos with a time stamp is key. Be sure to check with your group’s fan cafe before heading out for the specific rules. However, if your group has no requirements other than to just be there, the first thing you should do is take a photo of yourself with a timestamp attached. The iPhone camera does not have a time stamp, so you will either need an application that can read the Exif information, or an alternative camera application that can time stamp. This way, you have proof that you were in line at 6am, even if you can’t speak Korean and accidentally end up at the back of the line.
3. Always be prepared
None of the studios offer much in terms of shelter while waiting to line up. You will be outside for hours, so knowing what is in store is very important. Check the weather, and know what you’re up against. While going in the rain might be off-putting, the lines can be shorter so there’s a better chance of getting in, depending on the group. The sun can be incredibly dangerous during these long hours, so keeping in shade and keeping hydrated is important. Through the winter, the cold can be intense while standing around, so keeping hot packs and dressing warmly can help ward off any problems.
This article can be found in the Fall 2012 issue of K-Soul Magazine, which can be downloaded completely here.

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