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K-Pop Genre Presentation - AS Media Studies

  1. K-Pop is an abbreviation for Korean Pop. Traditionally, it stood for Korean Popular Music but now shortened to Korean Pop. This genre consists of hiphop, electronic, rock and R‟n‟B, pop and ballads originating from South Korea. Throughout Asia, expanding onto USA and Europe, K-Pop subculture has grown exponentially between teenagers and young adults. People all over the world enjoy listening to K-Pop even though many of them don‟t necessarily understand the language.
  2. The history of K-Pop is very short, yet quite exciting. It‟s profoundly influenced by Western pop music hence why it‟s quite popular. It can be traced back to 1885 when an American missionary, Henry Appenzeller began teaching American and British folk songs at a school in Korean. These songs were called changga in Korean and they were typically based on Western melodies that were sung with Korean lyrics. The 1990s was the great turning point of K-Pop. Korean pop musicians incorporated various styles of American pop music such as rap, rock and techno in their own music. In 1992, the emergence of a boy band called Seo Taji & Boys brought this turning point to K-Pop, enable KPop to become more well known. Their debut song “I Know” (Nan Arayo, in Korean) was extrememly successful. MTV Iggy stated, “K-Pop music world would never be same again. It‟s New Jack Swing-inspired beats, catchy rap lyrics and memorable choruses took Korean audience by storm”. The lyrics of I know dealt with the issues and problems of the Korean society, which other artists of the decade had failed to address. Seo Taji & Boys‟ footsteps were followed by surge of extremely successful hip hop and R&B artists such as Jinusean and 1TYM.
  3. In 1995, entrepreneur Lee Soo-Man founded Korea‟s largest talent agency and record label, SM Entertainment, which account world-wide famous artists including TVXQ, Super Junior and Girl‟s Generation. The immense success of Seo Taji & Boys brought in a new audience to K-Pop – teenagers; which lead to the emergence of the terms “idol bands”. H.O.T (now a legendary boy band) were considered as the first K-Pop idol boy bands, debuting in 1995. They were followed by many more renowned bands such as Sechs Kies, S.E.S, Shinhwa, Fin.K.L and G.O.D. Towards the beginning of the 21st Century, K-Pop began spreading out other reigons of the world, contributing to the Korean Wave. In 2002, BoA became the first K-Pop singer to reach No.1 on the Japanese Oricon Music Chart (equivalent to the Billboard Music Chart). Since the mid 2000‟s a large proportion of East Asian music market is dominated by the K-Pop idol groups. For example, TVXQ‟s concert Tohoshinki Live Tour in Japan sold well above 850,000 tickets, with an average cost of $109 each, generating a total revenue of $92.6 million. In October 2009, girl group Wonder Girls entered the US Billboard Hot 100 with a single called Nobody which became famous due to the viral spread of the music video for this song after it had surpassed 50 million views on YouTube.
  4. • • • • • • • In October 2009, girl group Wonder Girls entered the US Billboard Hot 100 with a single called Nobody which became famous due to the viral spread of the music video for this song after it had surpassed 50 million views on YouTube. In November 2011, Big Bang won the MTV Best Worldwide Act against Britney Spears and the German singer Lena Meyer-Landrut. Girl‟s Generation appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and Live! With Kelly in January and February 2012. September 2012 – B.A.P has topped and ranked within the top 10 in the German K-Pop Music Chart for 17 months straight. Psy‟s Gangnam Style because the most viewed video on YouTube in November 2012. After topping the record charts of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canda, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mexic o, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and UK, it was awarded the Best Video Award in the MTV EMAs. It also became the first video to hit a billion views on YouTube. 2NE1‟s performance in New Jersey in December 2012 was selected as one of the “Best Concerts of 2012” by The New York Times. Girl‟s Generation won the “Video of the year” award for their music video “I got a boy” on the first YouTube awards in November 2013.
  5. Wonder Girls topping the Billboard Chart B.A.P’s mini album One Shot in the top-10 iTunes Hip Hop albums. Bi Rain – MTV Movie Awards - Biggest Badass Star for his hollywood film Ninja Assassin Big Bang – MTV EMA Best Worldwide Act
  6. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Shinhwa TVXQ JYJ Big Bang Se7en Rain 2NE1 Super Junior SHINee Lee Hyori F(x) Girl‟s Generation B.A.P BoA
  7. The main audience of K-Pop consists of teenagers, mainly females, aged 15 – 20; although there are also few women in their 30s. However, due the widespread of K-Pop all over world, the number of fans in each age category is growing regardless of religion or nationality. This is due to fact that many artists are having overseas concerts in regions such as Germany, LA, Peru and Singapore. The increase in popularity of K-Pop has led fans to also take interest in Korean Dramas and the Korean Culture and food.
  8. There are quite a few sub-genres within the main genre of K-Pop. Those are: • K-Hip Hop (e.g. Supreme Team, Dynamic Duo, Outsider) • K-Indie (e.g. Urban Zakpa, Nell, Busker Busker) • K-Rock (generally pop rock; e.g. Toxic, Trax, Ft Island, CN Blue) • K-R&B (e.g. Taeyang, Se7en, Wheesung) • K-Jazz (e.g. Younha) • K-Ballad (e.g. K.Will, Lyn, Sung Shi Kyung, 4Men)
  9. Public perception of the genre, is it a popular genre with mainstream appeal or more niche? K-Pop genre is popular with mainstream appeal because it consists of many different sub-genres which makes it a very diverse genre of music. It subverts the general stereotype of being „overly sweet and cute‟. Fans across the world are able to upload and access updates on popular Korean music artists and the latest K-Pop charts. This signifies the fact that fans across the world, despite their demographic are able to enjoy listening to K-Pop.
  10. These three entertainment companies are the largest talent agencies and record labels in South Korea. The largest record label – S.M. Entertainment Revenue 2012 – US$217 Million The second largest record label – YG Entertainment Revenue 2012 – US$96.6 Million The third largest record label – JYP Entertainment Revenue 2012 – US$13.5 Million
  11. Other small companies but with world wide famous artists TS Entertainment was founded in October 2008 so it’s a fairly new record label. However, despite being new in the industry, they have debuted worldwide famous groups such as the duo Untouchable, Secret and B.A.P. B.A.P now, despite having been in the music industry for only 1 year and 11 months, they have achieved a great amount of success – wining almost every best rookie award in 2012 and having a world tour in 2013.
  12. There are quite a few other magazine that also cover the K-Pop genre: • Sparking • K-Wave • K-POP • Hallyu Sparkling magazine is the first English K-Pop magazine in Philippines. It‟s a seasonal magazine and costs 150 pesos (£2 - £2.10). The magazine features key artists, exclusive interviews, fanmeeting fan-accounts, Korean events, Horoscopes and Fashion news and advice. The K-Wave magazine is a bilingual (English-Korean) magazine that is sold in Korea. It‟s very similar to Sparkling magazine but it also features articles on Korean drama and actors and actresses.
  13. K-Pop is covered by many other types of media. For example online radio; there are two most common and famous online radios – BigB Radio and Seoul FM. Both radios are regularly updated with new songs releases and as these radios are free to listen to, anyone is able to access them through the websites ( ( This enables K-Pop to become more famous amongst a wide range of different demographics. The Internet also plays a vital role. There are many websites that updated regularly with news of Korean artists such as Soompi (, Allkpop (, K-Pop Starz ( and Daily K-Pop News ( This once again allows fans to have easy access to get the latest updates and news, adding to the increasing popularity of K-Pop.