The Phenomenon of K-Pop


What is this thing called K-Pop and why do so many of the young adults listen to it? Well, it has its own history and development, before it reached what we today usually consider K-Pop. K-Pop is defined by the French IDA as a “fusion of synthesized music, sharp dance routines and fashionable, colorful outfits.” In practice, they use much more than synthesized music and while being fashionable and prone to dancing, it is much more than a definition could encompass.

The Early Days of K-Pop

K-Pop is short for Korean Pop, in this case, South Korean. The genre of music appeared in its modern form in the 90s. The first important band was Seo Taiji & Boys. They first appeared on the Korean talent show called MBC, with a song Nan Arayo. They god the lowest possible ratings by the judges, but, despite that, the song quickly became very popular, and so did the album the song was on. The song’s success was thought to be because of a memorable chorus, interesting lyrics which also tackled the problems of the Korean society of the time, as well as inspiring beats.

Their success prompted others to follow up on it, which also meant producers.

Lee Soo-man, a producer, founded the now huge entertainment company called S.M. Entertainment. A former member of Seo Taiji & Boys called Yang Hyun-suk formed his own company, YG entertainment, while star Park Jin-young formed JYP Entertainment. All three of these companies do a lot for the K-Pop scene, besides publishing.

The Korean Wave

The Korean Wave, also known as Hallyu, is when the K-Pop artists started expanding to other regions from Korea. During the start of the 21st century, things slowed down a bit, at least until the 2002 Korea Japan FIFA World Cup, where Baby V.O.X. performed, with their single, Coincidence. It is no coincidence that there was a revival of K-Pop after that, especially in Korea. There were many new artists at the time, like Girl’s Generation, AFter School, 4Minute and many more.

In 2012, the world found out what K-Pop is, after Psy’s Gangnam Style became very popular. It was the first K-Pop video to reach one billion views on YouTube. BTS, followed up in 2017, the first group to perform at the American Music Awards, the first K-Pop group, that is.

Today, many people know of K-Pop and whether they are avid fans or not, they are definitely aware of the genre. K-Pop artists are invited to perform everywhere, no matter the occasion. It is worth noting that it was estimated that the cost of training a K-Pop artist is around 3 million dollars, in one of the huge entertainment companies, like S.M entertainment.