K-pop, the South Korean music industry, this is name which has been ringing in the heads of music lovers from the recent years.
K-pop or should I say Korean Pop has taken Korea in top 10 in the music market. Not only Korea has achieved a successful acceptance from all over the world through their amazing dramas but also the music they produce has been making a chaos over the world.
BTS (internal screaming), yeah we all have heard this name, right? BTS is one of the K-POP groups who made Korean music more popular in the western countries. BTS is the only group which brings in nearly 5 billion dollars to the Korean’s economy.
Well, they didn’t have an easy life tho. Working from a very young age, being a trainee who trains day to night, dedicated solely to dance, rap and singing, all these things are not easy to master. But BTS and all other K-pop groups did that and the results of their hard work can be seen by the love of the fans from different corners of the world.
Even though people can not speak Korean but they surely do enjoy their music. It is proven that music has no language and barrier.
But How did it start?
How did K-POP become a billion dollar industry?
The beginning of K-POP was accelerated in 1990s. The music at that was not like the Korean music we hear today. Trot music used to be popular during that timeline of music. A group was formed and called to be Seo Taiji and boys.
Seo Taiji and boys were formed from the breakup of a metal band called Sinawe. While Sinawe was metal,
Seo Taiji and boys went in a totally different route and introduced Korea to hip-hop. While Seo Taiji and boys was heavily inspired by the American hip-hop.
They turned around and made it their own . But when Seo Taiji and boys debuted, they weren’t met with praise.
Actually, they were met with criticism.
The older and previous generation saw this music as deteriorating the minds of the youth. Yet Seo Taiji and boys were able to succeed by being the highest selling group of their generation with over 8 million albums sold and regarded as legends in Korean music history.
So the beginning of K-pop wasn’t all bright and cheerful as many of us know what it is today. But in order to break the chains of Conservative Korea. Seo Taiji had to be the to pave the way for the first K-pop idol group, which was H.O.T.
H.O.T. was the first look at the real vision of a K-pop group created by Lee Soo-man , the founder of SM Entertainment which is one of the three biggest K-pop companies in Korea. H.O.T. had a brighter image than their predecessors , producing a more pop sound,
choreography and catchy songs. Unlike Seo Taiji and boys, H.O.T. was beloved by the public when they
debuted. They went on to be quite successful and led to the creation of more first generation K-pop idol groups like G.O.D and S.E.S. .
While the first generation was inspired by American pop, the second generation had to create something new and which they did too.
This is where we see Big Bang, Girls Generation, 2ne1, SHINee, Wonder Girls, BoA. When someone would ask K-pop fans today what caught them into K-pop, most will respond with one of these groups. The second generation of K-pop became the most influential and known by many as the the GOLDEN ERA of K-pop.
BoA was a solo artist who was known to do it all dancing, singing and the looks.
She was a top Idol even at a young age. Wonder Girls would be the first to break ground in America coming from JYP entertainment which is the another company from the big three. Wonder Girls adapted and created an English version of their breakout hit “nobody”.
They were even performing on US television and going on tour with the Jonas Brothers.
YouTube is an undeniable reason K-pop made it to people’s ears. Groups like BIGBANG, 2ne1 and girls generation would have music videos that surpassed millions of views in a day.
Steam was building up and on the verge of bursting in the form of one song “GANGNAM STYLE”. Everyone has caught wind of a viral video by PSY a solo artist in Korea.
His new song Gangnam style found overnight success.
For some reason, people were intrigued by a comedic odd yet catchy song. Most people didn’t know PSY
was a singer in Korea for years before Gangnam style.
He was considered one of the top performers in the country, but no one knew who he was internationally.
Gangnam style was meant to just be a new song by PSY but it grew out of control becoming the most viewed video on YouTube at the time with 800 million views and out today with over 3 billion views, with this PSY was all over the world radio, TV even New Year’s Eve shows.
PSY without knowing it opened the first window for K-pop with times dying down a
A second wave was on the horizon in the form of groups NCT 127, Monsta X, Black pink and of course BTS .
While PSY opened a window, BTS kicked down the front door.
BTS origins were a humble one, coming from BIGHIT entertainment.
They were practically unknown at debut. Similarly debuting with a hip-hop style like Seo Taiji but BTS was able to explode in Korea with lyrics that spoke to the youth and music that spoke to everyone. BTS made the history as the first K-pop group to attend and be nominated at the Billboard Music Awards in 2019 and then made history the same night as they won social artists of the year.
BTS couldn’t be stopped, breaking music video views, record number of streams and a lot more first for a K-pop act including selling out stadiums.
BTS performed for over 1 million fans on the latest tour as people are, more importantly, companies saw the numbers and support BTS.
This led them finding interest in the next group that is BLACKPINK. BLACKPINK was the first K=pop group which performed in Coachella in 2019 when they perform.
Why is K-pop a billion-dollar industry?
Well, there are a number of factors.
One is Tourism.
K-pop is so beloved by fans that many of them dream of the day to make the pilgrimage to Korea.
It isn’t just to see if they can find their favourite idol on the streets, many fall in love with the music first.
Another thing is, if you sit with a person down and have them watch a music video.
The first thing they’ll say is “wow“.
This music video itself is amazing.
The color, dancing, outfits, the effects. One thing that many people admire is attention to detail.
It is something people are missing in other music videos. Likewise the physical album sales are in a decline across the world except Korea.
Well in K-pop, an album is much more than just a CD, a K-pop album will come with a CD, of course, but also random photo cards of a member from that group and a poster. K-pop is able to market and advertise everything to a max, they will sell anything from shirts, hats, cups, bag, stickers, pants, figures and even trash cans.
Groups have their own lightsticks.
Lightsticks are these devices that light up and sync to others at a concert and flashed with the rhythm of the music.
It is designed with the group’s colors which makes a fan to be more involved. It’s truly an amazing device.
There is just something special about K-pop . To put it simply , K-pop was able to utilize each and every technology and opportunity to grow.
K-pop is able to be more than a music.
It’s a niche community where people looking for something different and can learn a whole new culture a music where so much time effort and dedication are invested.
That’s why K-pop is a billion-dollar industry and will continue to expand to infinity in the upcoming future.