< K-pop culture >
Reporter Ye-Rin Lee
As the name suggests, K-pop's K in the past used to mean the color of music, but it also contained regional limitations. But now, it has become a K-pop as a genre and a world pop enthusiastic around the world. What on earth has attracted people around the world?
K-pop is a word that has become the pride of Koreans now. In the past, K-pop was a style of music developed by Koreans and a genre that was enjoyed only in their own country. In fact, it is too far to dismiss K-pop as a genre of songs.
In fact, it is too far to dismiss K-pop as a genre of songs. When discussing K-pop, as an idol performance comes to mind, it can be seen as one of the styles that present songs of various genres that exist in the Korean style.
Since it also contains regional meaning, Korean indie music can be widely included in K-pop, but what we will discuss today is about idol music that we usually think of when we think of K-pop.
What was the beginning of K-pop, which is so famous now? Was it fascinating people around the world with its unique charm from the beginning? To talk about the beginning of idol music, it goes back 30 years.
It started with groups called first-generation idols, such as Seo Tae-ji and children, and H.O.T, a name quite familiar to Koreans. They made a big ripple effect in Korea with the exciting electronic sound and hip-hop that we usually think of when it comes to idol music now.
It seemed to be enjoying great popularity with several junior groups coming out, but in the early 2000s, the recession of the record market began and a period of stagnation came. However, when entering the mid-2000s, outstanding groups such as Big Bang, Wonder Girls, Girls' Generation even legendary to this day made their debut and opened the heyday of idol music.
Since then, idol groups have been pouring out to be mass-produced, and the market forms the red ocean. But This made idol groups to look toward a higher place. People searched for more talented groups among the numerous groups, and in order to respond to this, the level of idol music gradually increased, leading to the current sophisticated style.
The initial expansion of K-pop overseas was targeting East Asia. The so-called “Korean Wave” was blowing, and K-pop began to become popular. The current SM director Boa and TVXQ achieved success in Japan, and 2pm and Super Junior became popular in China.
However, we were not satisfied with this, and even tried to advance to the West. To begin with the conclusion, the first bold attempt was a failure. The first perception of K-pop by Westerners was that it was a very light and maniac culture of Asians, though if you think of the current K-pop craze, you can't even imagine it.
Girls' Generation also appeared on talk shows in the United States and actively tried to promote K-pop, but despite their great status in Korea, there was no progress in popularity. However, in this situation, a song that strongly imprinted K-pop on the world appeared. It was a song called Psy's Gangnam Style.
It was a feat achieved in early 2010, when K-pop had not yet had a strong influence. To mention a few record; ranked 1st in the Billboard Integrated Streaming Chart of the 2010s/1st in YouTube views for 4 years and 8 months/1st in 49 countries out of 70 countries that provide iTunes/the first video to exceed the limit of number of video views that YouTube can display etc.
It can be said that it has taken the first step toward globalization of K-Pop. Since then, there has not been a big event, but it has grown gradually with achievements such as being consumed like a fashion for certain age or charting in the Billboard 200.
And in the long-awaited 2018, BTS' title song DNA gained a great response from the US market and entered the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time as a boy group, signaling the beginning of the current K-pop craze. It ranked seventh on the Billboard 200, a new record for an Asian artist.
After that, they became the first asian singer to be ranked 1st in the Billboard 200 with the newly presented song Fake Love showing their popularity in the western world.
The fruits of overcoming failure were sweet. BTS is charting their songs on the top of the Billboard, and Dynamite, the newest song, has earned the honor of topping the Billboard Hot 100 for the second time in Asia's history/of topping Billboard Hot 100 the most times as an Asian singer.
In addition, it has records of being the first Billboard Hot 100/Artist 100/Billboard 200 first place at once in non-English speaking countries. There were no exceptions to their enormous record on YouTube, as recording the world's most 24 hours view/like right after the release with Dynamite.
Black Pink, which is considered one of the top contributors of K-pop globalization along with BTS, is also exerting influence overseas with tremendous momentum. They debuted on Billboard Hot 100 through Ddu-du-Ddu-du in 2018 and have steadily updated their rankings, and recently ranked 13th with a song called Ice Cream.
On YouTube, it earned the honor of being the 2nd in the world's artist channel subscribers and the 1st in the world's female singer channel subscribers. Also, Black Pink members all occupy the 1st-4th place in the number of domestic personal Instagram followers.
As they show such tremendous performance, many famous foreign artists send love calls suggesting collaboration. They already had successful collaboration with Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, and Cardibi, which are the big-name artists.
In addition, all members are active as muse and ambassadors of famous luxury brands (Jisu-Dior, Cartier/Jenny-Chanel/Rosé-Yves Saint Laurent, Tiffany & Co/Lisa-Celine, Bulgari, Prada, Mac) and books on Black Pink are bestsellers.
They show that Black Pink is actively showing their influence not only on music recrord but in other areas. BTS and Black Pink have a number of “most” and “first” titles other than the ones mentioned on this writing, and are expected to make even greater achievements in the future.
So, what has attracted people around the world this tremendously? In order to investigate this, it is necessary to pay attention to the differences from the existing music styles that have become mainstream.
When it comes to idols, what we often think of is not simply singing as a singer, but rather a wonderful performance and dance. The thinking of foreigners were not very different from ours.
In the United States and the United Kingdom, performance-type dance music artists showed a tendency to disappear from some point after the 1990s. Therefore, intense and well-organized group dances and dance performances would have come more fresh in the market where singing ability was more important than dances.
Due to this tendency to place importance on performance and dance, there are main dancers and professional choreographers in each k-pop group, and there is also a systematic training system and hard training that are conducted so that they can use perform perfect group dance.
Songs were lacking in the past, but after fierce competition and hard work, they made great progress and improved to a level that could appeal to the overseas market. Each group has a main vocal like dancing, maintaining the balance between singing and performance. With stylish clothes and good appearance combined to them. idol has become a literal idol to captivate young people.
As an extension of the dance and performance described earlier, another reason for their success is the creation of a culture called dance cover on Youtube.
Nowadays, when media such as YouTube exert a great influence on trends, sharing the culture through YouTube is an important factor in marketing.
Since K-pop has an interesting performance as one of the attractive points, many people uploaded dance cover videos to get the pleasure of participating in K-pop and sharing it. It spread quickly, allowing more people to come across and enjoy K-pop culture.
Lastly, the K-pop music video uploaded on YouTube makes it possible to enjoy not only with ears but also with eyes using great special effects and visual beauty. In some cases, more than hundreds of millions of won is spent on filming a music videos, and with the efforts to find great filming locations and fascinating props, enchanting music video that also appeals to foreigner is made.
In addition to the beauty of the video itself, the fact that it has one "story" unlike foreign music videos that focus on artists' songs and dances also contributes to the interest of foreign listeners. According to a survey in 2019, the export of cultural content products due to the Korean Wave was the largest with games of 4.7 billion dollars, followed by music with 500 million dollars.
There is also an analysis that the economic ripple effect of BTS' new song Dynamite alone reaches 1.7 trillion won. According to the results of the 2019 Korea National Image Survey, foreigners ranked K-POP first as the representative image of Korea.
As we can see, the impact of K-POP is enormous. Technological advancement is important, but it is the cultural contents that is surely imprinted in people's minds and stimulates interest and affection. Until now, Korea has been neglected in many fields because there they were weak.
Many cultural media such as movies, games, and cartoons showed interest in culture of East Asia and attempted to implement it, but most of them were related to China or Japan. There have even been incidents where ignorant behavior by confusion with Japanese or Chinese culture caused disrespect and displeasure to Koreans.
But now, thanks to the proud K-pop, many foreigners are trying to get to know our country with affection, and this interest may even reach out to Korea's cultures and history.
K-pop idol is contributing to Korea largely in many aspects. We will have to work harder to improve their welfare and bad customs. If they take advantage of a better environment and move to a higher place, there will be a day when the world's attention will eventually lead to a stepping to the truth.