Perfectly timed choreographies, catchy songs with a diverse mix of genres and indescribably attractive idols are some of the elements that have catapulted K-pop to international fame, becoming a phenomenon that earns South Korea around 12 billion dollars. dollars a year, according to Forbes magazine.
Not even the time of the coronavirus pandemic could cloud the panorama of this industry, because during that harsh crisis the main entertainment agencies (Hybe Labels, SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment) continued to report profits of millions of dollars.
Such is the impact of K-pop that even the South Korean government knows that the hallyu wave (the “Korean wave”) is a fundamental piece for its economy, since the music and entertainment industry alone generates 114.7 million quarterly dollars in the trade balance.
Likewise, another of the sectors favored by the recent popularity of this Asian country is tourism, since Hyundai Research Institute (HRI) reports that at least 796 thousand foreigners travel to South Korea every year influenced by K-pop, of which one in 13 did so for the BTS group, which shows that K-pop is a 100% profitable business.
In social networks, the matter is not far behind either, since Twitter has become one of the main weapons through which artist fandoms can talk about the most recent musical releases, the most shocking news, talk about various celebrities, etc.
Regarding its impact in the West, there are music platforms such as iTunes that have given space to K-pop, even creating their own daily rankings of the most popular songs in at least 39 countries, including Mexico.
Here is a list of the 10 most listened to songs of this day:
Artist: SUPER JUNIOR
Artist: Apink CHOBOM
Artist: SUPER JUNIOR
Song: Don’t Wait
Song: That That (prod. & feat. SUGA of BTS)
Song: For Youth
Song: Gangnam Style
Song: Yet To Come
history of k pop
Group EXO (Photo: SM Entertainment)
Modern K-pop (from the English “Korean pop”) has its origins in the 1990s with the debut of the popular group Seo Taiji and Boys in 1992, known for incorporating Western music genres such as rap, hip-hop, and western music into their songs. hop, rock, jazz, electronics and techno.
This trio, consisting of Seo Taiji, Yang Hyun-suk and Lee Juno, made their debut on an MBC talent show with the song Nan Arayo, leaving the jury surprised, which gave them the lowest ratings. However, the success of this single on radio and television was resounding, which led to the release of more songs of that style and more artists who bet on it.
It wasn’t until 1995 when producer Lee Soo Man founded one of the firms that to date are still a “heavyweight” in the music industry, SMEntertainment; while former Seo Taiji & Boys member Yang Hyun Suk created YG Entertainment (1996); followed by JYP Entertainment (1997), established by singer Park Jin Young.
These three companies were long dubbed the “Big 3” – until the success BTS achieved under BigHit Entertainment (now known as Hybe Labels) – and were dedicated to teaching the first generations of idolsin order to meet the demand of the Korean public to want to see younger artists.
Along this path, the group HOT was one of the first to debut in the industry, followed by others who made up the well-known “first generation of K-pop” such as Sechs Kies, SES, Fin.KL, NRG, Baby VOX, Diva, Shinhwa and god
At the beginning of the new millennium, some of the groups of idols that had debuted were without activities while others like Baby Vox triumphed in various regions of Asia, an example of this their song song Coincidence which was promoted in the 2003 Soccer World Cup and ranked first on the Chinese music charts.
Along with others idols that were released as soloists also marked a milestone: BoA, the first Korean singer to top the Oricon chart in Japan, a chart equivalent Billboard but Asian and in which artists from other countries rarely manage to enter and Rain, an actor and singer who gave a concert for 40 thousand people in Beijing.
Later, the so-called “second generation of K-pop” would begin, again in the hands of groups that were made up of young figures such as TVXQ (debuting in 2003), SS501 (2005), Super Junior (2005), BIGBANG (2006), as well as girl groups like Wonder Girls (2007), Girls Generation (2007), and KARA (2007).
A brief tour of the history of K-pop. (Illustration: Anayeli Tapia)
By 2008, South Korea was already leading the entertainment market in Asia with an annual growth rate of over 10% in exports of its music and television products with K-dramas even accounting for 68% of the music market. in Japan, ahead of China (11.2%) and the United States (2.1%).
Later, more groups like SHINee or INFINITE would emerge, the latter who managed to secure the record of being the first to head the list of emerging artists of Billboard in 2014 with his song Last Romeo; 2PM, EXO, 2IN1, until reaching the third generation of K-pop, which includes new groups such as BTS, Seventeen, GOT7, Twice, Red Velvet, BLACKPINK, MAMAMOO, among others, until the current fourth generation, which is all those who debuted between 2017 and 2018 like Stray Kids, ITZY, Ateez, Astro and more.
It is worth mentioning that a watershed that should be considered is Gangnam Style by rapper PSY, a song that not only managed to break unimaginable records on music platforms like YouTube, but also went around the world and showed that language was not a barrier to success in highly competitive countries such as the American industry. .
To date, the baton as the greatest exponents of K-pop is held by the group BTS ‒composed of Suga, RM, Jin, Jimin, J-Hope, V and Jungkook‒, who in addition to dominating the music industry in Korea of the South and establish their fame in the rest of the world, they have been named as “Trend Leader of Asia” by The Economist and “Artists of the Year” by the magazine TIMEgoing through his nominations for the Grammy awards and his 10 awards Billboard.
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