How did Kpop Turn Into A Global Phenomenon?

Kpop. It’s a term that’s commonly used worldwide to identify singers from South Korea. From a South Korean favorite into a worldwide favorite in just a couple of years, Kpop has risen to fame in a short period of time. But how has Kpop risen to fame in a matter of a short period of time? Vocals, Choreography, and Style.

Back in the Early 1990s, South Korean music was just starting to evolve with a popular boy band called Seo Taiji and the Boys. The group was credited with changing the South Korean music industry by pioneering the use of highly coordinated choreography with exceptional rapping skills. The genre of Korean pop was beginning to take shape as Koreans found it quite catchy. Nowadays, a typical iconic Kpop song consists of a group of males or females dancing in unison that’s unseen in the western world. Kpop groups like BTS, WINNER, GOT7, Red Velvet and TWICE consist of music that has jaw-dropping dance moves that are not only cool but also happen to be all in sync with one another. Like the king of pop, Michael Jackson, Kpop consists of music that has a mixture of dance and vocals (or both at the same time). 

In South Korea, there are 3 big agencies that pretty much run the whole Kpop industry = YG Group, SMTown, and JYP Entertainment. These 3 agencies are credited for their artists like Big Bang, GOT7, BLACKPINK, TWICE, Red Velvet, and NCT 127. But currently, there is a small agency that’s starting to rise to fame due to a popular boy band right now, Big Hit Entertainment, who are highly credited right now for their success on their boy band, BTS. Also, fun fact, nearly all Kpop songs are non-explicit (meaning that anyone can listen to it without age restrictions). That makes Kpop appeal to a much wider audience (from young to old) where they can listen to music without hesitation (only if you get over the fact that it’s sung in Korean and not in English). Recently, the most popular boy band, BTS, has turned from a small group of singers from a little-known entertainment company called Big Hit Entertainment into a global phenomenon with fans calling themselves = Army. Unlike other Kpop singers, BTS is considered the driving forces of current Kpop fanfare due to their success in the west. But what people don’t know about Kpop are the controversies surrounding Kpop singers in maintaining their contracts and their images as well as trying to hide it from fans.

Not long ago, an article from CNN mentions a well-known artist, Hyuna, that sparked criticism to her company as dating is against the rule. It’s not just her agency that has that rule, other Kpop agencies also have the rule of forbidding their personal details as well as having a “No dating” rule. According to previous Kpop trainees and celebrities, they mention that looks are extremely important when becoming a Kpop star which sometimes leads them to do plastic surgery. Also many, if not all of them, must follow a strict diet program which consists of limiting their calorie intake in order to sustain a certain weight. Some Kpop companies also take extreme measures by recording your weight and body fat percentage to keep track of your diet progress. Most, if not all Kpop trainees are rumored to train for at least 12 hours a day and some of them are students in middle school, high school, and university. Even though they get intense practice training for around 2 years before they are able to show themselves on the big stage, some don’t even get to perform and produce an album. This shows us the dark side of Kpop, where artists have to give up some personal parts of their lives in order to become a Kpop star as well as having deep consequences that could, later on, have an effect on who they are as an actual human being. Sure, Kpop has inspired millions of people around the world due to their talented music, but it also sparked criticism among many fans due to their unfair treatment as human beings.

With all the criticism aside, who knew that in just a short period of time, a new genre from another country using another language other than English could be a massive hit overseas? From my point of view, Kpop has turned into a global phenomenon due to its uniqueness in pop culture when compared to the western society thanks to their high energy dance moves and catchy beats that provide listeners new listening experiences like never before. Kpop’s goal has always been to entertain the citizens of South Korea, but with new artists (like BTS and BLACKPINK) becoming die-hard favorites in places like the US, Europe, and Asia, who knows what Kpop will do next?

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