Today many K-Pop groups are being mentioned in western news tabloids and are gaining popularity around the world, it seems like more and more people are getting into Korean music! This is a major increase from when the ‘Idol Wave’ first began in 1996…
K-Pop started out with groups like Seo Taiji and Boys (서태지와 아이들), H.O.T, Diva, and Shinhwa (신화), then after gaining popularity around Asia (in places such as Japan, China, Taiwan, India and Thailand) in the early 2000’s, the K-Pop bug had begun to spread over North and Latin America.
Before 2010, Europe fell victim to its clutches, followed by the Middle East, Africa and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand).
Two years ago it was estimated that there were close to 35 million fans of Korean culture around the world* and today more and more people see that K-Pop isn’t merely catchy songs with pretty, strangely dressed singers.
They see its a tough, intense, industry that prides itself on both producing high quality music and visually stunning videos, as well training extremely talented and hard working artists (who often have to struggle a lot before they get to see success).
Over the past decade, groups and artists such as BIGBANG, 2NE1, SHINee, Crayon Pop, Wonder Girls, BTOB, Girls Generation, Sistar, Rain, Jay Park, HYUNA and PSY have been showcased in Western interviewing shows, music charts, award stages, TV/reality shows and films – all of which has given other, younger artists a chance to make their mark internationally – which, overall, has increased the popularity of ‘Hallyu’ (한류) around the world.
This year has been a real wakeup call for anyone who hasn’t listened to Korean music or who slams it for no reason. A big step for K-Pop occurred back in May when BTS won the award for ‘Best Social Artist’ at the BBMA’s – even against popular artists such as Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber they still won by a landslide!
In November BTS was also invited to perform at this years AMA’s (hosted in America) and appeared on a handful of popular interviewing shows such as Ellen and The Late Late Show with James Corden. But it’s not only BTS that have been making an impact internationally in recent months, artists like CL, G-Dragon, GOT7, TWICE, BlackPink, and SHINee have been causing people from all over the world to turn their heads towards the Korean Music industry.
The REAL impact of K-Pop
Nowadays, if a person likes something that is outside of what is considered ‘normal’ they are instantly judged. Either by family or friends, we’ve all experienced some form of hostility because of what we listen to, watch and like.
This is especially true to international K-Music fans, who have to explain on a daily basis why they listen to it. It can be tough sometimes. But as the number listeners have grown so has a real sense of unity and friendship between K-Pop fans.
Whether it’s because you stan the same group or just enjoy K-Pop in general, meeting in real life or (more commonly) online, when you realise that many other people share your interests it lifts your burden. You don’t feel alone.
Yes there are ‘fanwars’ and unnecessary hate, as well as judgement from other people. But there is something amazing about being a fan of K-Pop, something not many other industries could compare to;
That is the unbreakable unity that has been formed by people from all over the world. Somehow we’ve all come together to support our hard-working artists and to celebrate their music as a family.
And that is K-Pop’s impact on the world.
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*Statistics from kpopstarz.com
Feature Image Source: ©The EℓyXiOn, 28.11.2017, facebook.com