The news that Madonna will hold her first concert in Seoul next May made headlines in the Korean media over the weekend.
But some Korean entertainment insiders are doubtful about whether she will really be able to add her name to the list of pop superstars that have come to Korea in recent years – names that include Beyonce, Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder.
On Spot E Korea, which claims to be the Korean branch of the U.S.-based firm On-Spot Enterprises, said on Sunday it has “finalized talks with Madonna to proceed with her concert in Seoul in May,” but that “details related to the concert date, schedule and security policies are still under discussion.”
It added that it had formed a partnership with Korean company Again Don Quixote in early October to prepare for the event.
But industry insiders say that On Spot E Korea’s announcement – which, at six months in advance of the actual dates, is much earlier than most concerts involving major-label pop stars – is a stunt to beat out local competitors, rather than being based on fact.
Koreans fans have waited a long time for a concert by the “Queen of Pop.” She has toured neighboring countrie Japan but has yet to come to Korea.
Given the revenue such a concert would bring, concert promoters have long fought to bring her here.
One possibility, according to a source well acquainted with the situation, is that On Spot E Korea has not actually finalized a concert deal but is buying time so that rival bidders will give up.
“The new firm has few funds and not much experience,” the source said. “The only way it could sign her would be to take advantage of the time vacuum to round up investors.”
On Spot E Korea has a history of cancelling heavily publicized events. It was scheduled to hold an event called the “On Spot Hip Hop Festival” on Oct. 30, but it was cancelled less than two weeks before the festival. The company promoted the event by advertising the appearance of U.S. hip-hop stars such as T-Pain.
On Oct. 28, the company claimed that actor Kevin Bacon would show up at a press conference in Seoul the following day to announce he would be filming the movie “My Life, My Secret” in Korea. But only 30 minutes before the event was scheduled to begin, the company sent out a notice saying that it could not verify whether Bacon had gotten on a plane to Korea.
On Spot E Korea could not be reached for comment.