Korean Pop: Its Worldwide Impact

K-Pop is a music genre that has grown increasingly popular since 1992, when a group called Seo Tajii and Boys incorporated elements of American music, such as rap and techno, into their songs. It was soon dubbed the Korean Wave by Beijing journalists who were surprised by the ever rapid spread of the Korean culture and entertainment. K-Pop is a mixture of a variety of components, such as repeated hooks, rap, trendy Western music and aesthetic visuals.
The South Korean government views K-Pop as a great tool for gaining revenue. In 2011 alone, approximately $3.8 billion dollars of revenue was added to the South Korean economy. The Korean artists’ fan base has expanded from Asia to other parts of the world, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in South Korea, from broadcasting to publishing.
Through social media, more Korean artists were able to enter the American market. Ever since 2006, Korean artists began touring in America and Girl’s Generation became the first K-Pop group to make an appearance on talk shows like Late Show with David Letterman and Live! with Kelly. As a result, Korean artists’ popularity rose immensely in America. In 2009, the Wonder Girls became the first K-Pop group to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and also the first K-Pop group to have their own American TV show, MTV Wonder Girls. In 2012, Twinkle, the debut EP–extended play, by the first sub-unit formed by Girls’ Generation, peaked at No. 136 on the Billboard 200, the highest rating K-Pop album on the chart so far.
After the drama Winter Sonata was aired, the Korean Wave occurred in Japan. Following the success of the drama, other Korean groups then decided to make their debut in Japan. Numerous artists were able to make it to the top of the Oricon Weekly Singles chart and perform concerts at places, such as the Tokyo Dome.
Korean artists also had a great impact in Europe. When SHINee arrived for a concert, the airport was temporarily overwhelmed by enthusiastic fans. Furthermore, within the first minutes of ticket sales, the system crashed for the first time due to the unexpected large response.
In Turkey, the Korean culture is quickly catching on as more and more Turks use their electronic devices to explore this society. Turkish teens are now watching Korean movies online, downloading K-Pop songs and creating their own Korean culture clubs.
Nowadays, the use of the Internet and mobile devices make the globalization of K-Pop occur much more rapidly. As the world continues to grow and change, many find their culture’s and music tastes intermingling with others, causing a more connected and enriched society.
Deborah Chen Copy Editor