Korean-Pop culture, or K-POP, has been ‘popping’ up all over the globe. When the rest of the world left the 90’s music style behind with the coming of the new millennium, K-POP stepped it up a notch. Again and again, until they became the carefully crafted, iconic culture it is today. K-POP is the 90’s music’s hot older cousin.
Producers have mastered the art of fabricating these popular hit songs. Their synchronized, and slightly robotic, choreography and catchy melodies are infectious. Now, K-POP has been around for about twenty years but it has recently exploded through social media sites, such as Twitter and YouTube, inciting global fascination.
The combination of dance, techno, hip-hop, and some western musical elements have created these “supergroups”, containing anywhere from five to twelve members. One of the most well known K-POP artists to Americans is Psy after his hit song Gangnam Style became a worldwide obsession. But, the real phenomenon includes EXO, Girls Generation, or TVXQ, which appeal to girls and boys alike.
K-POP groups don’t just start up in a garage and get famous from performing at local clubs. It’s a process that takes years. Starting at around nine to twelve years old, training lasts two to five years. It begins with a sort of boot camp that provides disciplinary training in singing, dancing, and languages such as Japanese, Chinese, and/or English. After that come multiple extensive auditions and, hopefully, long-term contracts.
In 2013, SM Entertainment, one of the biggest production companies in Korea, made more than 260 million USD. Mass production of merchandise and albums have followed the demand of one of the largest fan bases in the world. There is an estimate of 30 million hardcore fans, know as k-poppers. This industry has been a massive success. They are pretty well known but have not hit the media too hard in the States…yet. Expect to hear a lot more of them.