Of all the music shows in South Korea, Arirang’s Simply K-Pop is the hidden gem for foreign fans. It doesn’t attempt to sugar coat their preferential treatment of foreign fans, because it is the English language channel in South Korea. The entire program is run in English, the hosts speak fluent English, and so the audience is made up of foreign fans mostly.
Due to the fact that Simply K-Pop doesn’t have a countdown or awards, and is from a smaller, niche cable network, it is by and far the smallest of all the music shows. The studio fits no more than 100 comfortably (though they probably cram more in if they are able to) and the audience is able to get very up close with idols, able to say things to them and get replies, and sometimes hold full conversations in between takes. Despite the small audience, getting into Simply K-Pop isn’t as difficult as other shows, because of the timing, and because many Korean fans can be put off by the lack of Korean in the show.
Simply K-Pop is also the only music show that allows an audience that doesn’t claim to be live at all. They tape every other Monday, and will tape two weeks worth of shows in one day. So, in one sitting, you will see each artist perform two different performances of their song.
There are two ways to get into a Simply K-Pop taping.
Way One: Apply For Tickets
Check out the Arirang TV website. On the Simply K-Pop page, there is a message board for tickets. At the top of the page, there should be one or two posts at least marked with notice. Usually, there is one about pre-recordings, and one for the main recording. The post will detail who will be performing at what time, so there is no confusion about who you are applying to see, and when. These posts are updated the Friday before the show will be taped. (For example, for the taping on November 26th, the website was updated on the 22nd) If you’re not sure if you’ll remember, you can follow @_SimplyKPop on twitter and get updates whenever they’re taking audience applications.
Once they have announced they’re taking applications, head over to the message boards. Make sure that you have an account on the Arirang website, and then make a post on the boards. Do NOT reply to the notice!!! You MUST make a new post! Click the little “Write” button in the bottom right of the page. In the subject, you’re going to say which show it is you’re applying for, and if it’s the main recording or pre-recording. You may also need to say which part of the pre-recording you want. Usually, there is an example within the post of what the title should say, but if there isn’t, just have a look at the other subjects being post and copy them. If you want to apply for multiple sections, you’ll need to make multiple posts, one for each application.
When you post, you need to include four things:
Number of tickets you need:
You must include those four things otherwise you won’t be considered. Make sure that you mark your application as “close” because you are posting your email address and phone number, so you don’t want those to be listed publicly! Applications have to be in by Sunday, and staff will email people on Monday to let you know if you have made the list. The email will have instructions on where to go and when.
Way Two: Fan Club
Getting in with your fan club is a lot less certain than the application, but depending on who you’re going to see, you still have a pretty good chance of getting in.
First off, check your official fan club cafe. The fan staff will have information about line ups usually for Simply K-Pop, what time they will be allowed in, and what will be required. People who come in with fan clubs often don’t get to sit through all the artists like the people who applied did, so their lineup times can be different to the times Arirang posted.
If you have no idea how to use the official fan cafe, I would suggest looking at a fan run community that translates schedules. They may see something in the cafe about Simply K-Pop and could tell you the time you need to be there.
If you still have NO idea what time to be there at, your best chance is to show up at Arirang with the CD of the group you want to see (do NOT come with multiple CDs for multiple artists. It’s really upsetting to the fan clubs) and try be there before the time that Arirang is suggesting people enter. There will be security guards setting up fan lines, and they should be able to point you in the right direction. If the security can’t, there are enough foreign fans in the area who actually can be very helpful.
Of all the music shows out there, Arirang’s Simply K-Pop is perhaps the most enjoyable to go to, as an English speaker. The host (Eli from U-Kiss) is incredibly friendly and makes time to speak to many of the fans. Many of the idols seem to enjoy the small, intimate atmosphere as well. So long as you can keep your cool and not get overwhelmed, it is quite easy to speak to people you never thought you might (and definitely never would at other music shows.) The staff at Simply K-Pop are incredibly friendly as well. Let us know if you’re able to get in, and your experiences at Simply K-Pop!