Does “K-Pop” ring a bell? For those who are not familiar with this term, K-Pop or Korean Popular Music is a mixture of trendy Western music and high-energy Japanese Popular Music (J-Pop). It preys on listeners’ heads with repeated hooks, sometimes in English. It embraces genre fusion with both singing and rap, and highlights acts and strong visuals. But have you ever thought how these Korean songs are able to invade the music charts of other countries? Here are their secret formulas:
Versatile Music and Artists
Even from the start, the Korean record labels aim for the global market. They hire foreign composers, choreographers, and stylists and require their trainees to learn foreign languages. Most of the songs also include English lyrics and is translated into various languages like Japanese to capture the attention of other countries.
In order to invade foreign markets, the bands often include multi-language members like CL (fluent in English, French, and Japanese) and Dara (fluent in Filipino) of 2ne1. They also include non-Korean members who are accustomed to the local language and culture. One of the most famous examples is Nichkhun of 2PM. He is born in Southern California to a Thai-Chinese family and is fluent in English, Thai, and Mandarin.
Social networking services (SNS) such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have proven to be very effective for idols to gain fame overseas. They use SNS to promote their songs, connect with their fans, and appear more approachable by sharing pictures and footage from their private lives. One great example is the Gangnam Style of PSY. Garnering more than 2 Billion views in YouTube, he effortlessly invaded foreign music charts.
Collaboration with Foreign Artists
With the goal to penetrate foreign music charts, Korea’s Big 3 (YG, SM, and JYP) have made their artist collaborate with the big names in the music industry. Like will.i.am’s collaboration with 2NE1, Akon to Wonder Girls, Diplo to BigBang, and Teddy Riley to SNSD.
K-Pop is also considered a visual industry. Aside from promoting in radio shows, idols prefer to make their debuts in TV and live shows highlighting their star value. This includes the face value, dance routine, fashion sense, and singing talent.
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