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K-Pop (short for Korean pop music) is a music genre that encompasses various styles such as electronic dance music, hip-hop, rap, rock or R&B and is specifically related to the popular music of South Korea, since North Korea has no pop music industry with Western influence.

Dr. Timothy Laurie of the School of Communication at Sydney University of Technology comments: “Since the late 1990s, the success of K-Pop artists has brought unprecedented global attention to East Asian music cultures. The most modern form of the genre emerged with one of the first K-Pop groups, Seo Taiji and Boys, which was founded in 1992. Their experimentation with different styles of music “transformed the Korean music scene. As a result, the integration of foreign music genres has become a common practice among K-pop artists.

It was introduced to the Japanese market at the end of the 19th century and quickly developed into a subculture among teenagers and young adults in East and Southeast Asia. With the advent of social networking services, the current global spread of K-Pop and Korean entertainment known as the Korean wave can be observed in Latin America, India, North Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the West.

Features

Audiovisual content

“K-Pop” is an abbreviation for Korean popular music, in English or Korean popular music in Spanish. It is a music genre that encompasses various styles such as electronic dance music, hip hop, rap, rock, R&B, etc., and is specifically related to the popular music of South Korea, as there is virtually no western-influenced popular music industry in North Korea. In this country, North Korea, musical activity is strictly controlled by the government, which promotes music with patriotic undertones, often performed by large workers’ orchestras.

Although K-Pop generally refers to the popular music of South Korea, it is considered by some to be a genre that includes a wide range of musical and visual elements. The French National Institute for Audiovisual Media defines K-Pop as:

“a fusion of synthetic music, dance routines and colorful, fashionable clothing“.

Systematic training of artists

Entertainment agencies in South Korea offer contracts to potential artists, sometimes at a young age. Apprentices live together in a regulated environment and spend many hours a day learning music, dance, foreign languages and other skills in preparation for their debut. This “robot-like” education system is often criticized by the western media. In 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that the cost of training a Korean pop idol under the S.M. Entertainment company averaged $3 million.

Hybrid genre and transnational values

K-Pop is a cultural product that “characterizes values, identities and meanings that go beyond their purely commercial value. It is characterized by a mixture of Western sounds and the Asian vision of performance. It has been observed that a “vision of modernization” is inherent in Korean pop culture. For some, the values of transnational K-Pop are responsible for its success.

This was said by a commentator from the University of California:

“Korean contemporary pop culture is based on […] transnational flows […] that cross national and institutional boundaries, beyond and beyond these boundaries.

Some examples of the transnational values inherent in Pure KPop that can attract people from different ethnic, national, and religious backgrounds are the commitment to high-quality production and presentation of idols, and the work ethic and polite social behavior made possible by the period of education.