Bollywood has already hit the US with A.R. Rahman, J-Pop was big in the 1980s, and The Shanghai Lounge Divas and Ian Widgery’s remixes put a few blips on the music maps a few years back. But Korean Pop groups are finding big audiences not only in Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia and the Philippines……..K-Pop is maybe the first pan-asian music and is poised to get bigger.
There’s an article by John Seabrook in in the October 8th issue of The New Yorker called “Factory Girls” that tracks some of the more popular groups…it’s called “Factory Girls”, because K-Pop is manufactured and formulaic. It is aimed at young audiences. In some ways it follows the Japanese formula of years past: find beautiful young children or teenagers, make them supermodels by pasting them all over ads for popular products, give them some voice training and dance moves, then make a record and a video. The kids by now are famous celebrities and will already have a built-in audience who’ll buy their cd’s. What Japan didn’t have in the 1980s was viral marketing and social networking, which has helped make K-Pop such a huge phenomenon. It’s getting bigger here in the U.S., too.
But in most ways, K-Pop is different. Borrowing from punk, techno, hip hop, disco and other genres, it parades youthful sex appeal while celebrating innocent fun. The girls and boys in these groups go through a lot of dance practice to get their moves down. And the videos are probably expensive and use good production values. There have recently been big shows at the Honda Center in LA.
Here is a link to John Seabrook’s feature on K-POP. Some of these videos are way over the top. The most popular one is PSY’s Gangnam.
Here is the video of PSY’s Gangnam Style that at the time of this post, it’s had over 350 million hits. 350,000,000! beaucoup zeros…..