Dispatch has revealed the severe income polarization that is occurring in Korea’s acting and music industry.
It was revealed on January 16 by the National Tax Service that 15,423 actors had filed for tax returns in 2015; however, their annual average income only amounted to 68 million KRW (approximately $57,622 USD).
Of these actors, 9 out of 10 did not even earn 10 million KRW (approximately $8,475 USD) per year.
Statistics also showed 154 of these actors were in the top 1% of earners, in which they earned, on average, 1.95 billion KRW (approximately 1.65 million USD) every year, meaning they amounted for 45.7% of the annual average income reported in 2015.
When the top 10% of earners was examined, their annual average income came to 367 million won (approximately $310,853 USD), which amounted for 86% of the total average income of actors in 2015.
As for the remaining 90% of actors (13,881) who reported their income in 2015, the average income came out to be 7 million KRW (approximately $5,930 USD), meaning they only earned as little as 580,000 KRW ($491 USD) per month.
In short, the top 1% of actors earned 280 times more than 90% of other actors.
Similar numbers could be seen in the music industry, where the top 1% of artists (only 45 artists) earned, on average, 3.18 billion KRW (approximately 2.63 billion USD), amounting for 45% of the annual average income.
The top 10% of artists were reported to earn on average 640 million KRW (approximately $542,537 USD) per year, amounting for 88.9% of the annual average income, while the rest only earned on average 8 million KRW (approximately $6,783 USD) per year.
Also, male actors, on average, earned 9 million KRW (approximately $7,633 USD) more than female actors; but in the top 1%, female actors outnumbered male actors (59:95), yet earned 8 million KRW (approximately $6,786 USD) more than male actors.
It was drastically different in the music industry, where male artists earned 2.4 times more than that of female artists. Also, there were 38 male artists in the top 1% of annual income earners, compared to only 7 female artists, and male artists earned slightly more than double the amount of female artists.