• dede aryan

    Kpop is dull after 2008, theres no new generation of DBSK, Big Bang and Wonder Girls..IMO
    yes SNSD and Super Junior still reign but theres always something missing from both group, theres no tingeling or woaaa thing when you watch them unlike the pre 2009, where you can still see diversity and the wow factor of Kpop, now its just too manufactured, to robotic, added YG 7 girl group (i consider this as an end of era).

    *just my rant…

  • Anonymous

    Well done! I always enjoy reading your articles, Ree :) . You brought up a lot of relevent topics in this article. I’ll randomly touch on the ones that interest me in no specific order.

    I’ve given this subject a lot of thought (too much) and I’ve also come to conclusion that Kpop is a fad. I have several reasons to believe this. One, my own personal experience. I got swept up in Kpop in late July of this year, and now a few months later, my interest has dwindled considerably. Mind, I’ve never been as invested in Kpop as other fans, having always prefered rock and indie music, but I still had a healthy interest in Kpop that baffled everyone I knew. But after being exposed to Kpop and all that it comes with, I’ve grown tired of it. I still like Kpop to the point that I check SeoulBeats and AllKpop (yuck) for news, but I’ve largely become discommunicated with Kpop as of late. I used to follow like ten Kpop blogs on Tumblr and now I follow about two. Another reason is that, from my standpoint, most international Kpop fans are teenagers between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. Teenagers can be described in a lot of different ways, and one way is fickle. They’ll love something passionately for a short time period before losing interest and becoming enamored with something else. I’m sure this has happened to everyone at some point in their lives. My last good reason for why Kpop is a fad is because Kpop is pop. Pop music isn’t like other genres of music. It’s surprisingly evanescent, when you think about it. Rarely ever is it substanial enough to stand the test of time. A decade ago, Aaron Carter and Jesse McCartney were today’s Justin Bieber. Those boys had lovestruck fan girls everywhere. Nowadays, it’s like, “Who are they?” Same with other former pop stars. They’ve been replaced by today’s current stars, and today’s current stars will be replaced in five or so years.

    “… I don’t think South Korea is aiming for that. Their obsession with expanding it’s presence is so overbearing, it’s as if what they want to achieve is world wide domination. And there are many ways in which they can go about doing so — but relying on the Pop industry is almost pitiful.”

    ^ BLESS YOU. This aspect of Kpop is the most annoying aspect of Kpop, how obsessively Korean entertainment companies are trying to take over the world through pop music. This idea in itself is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I’m tired of seeing superiority and indoctrination in Kpop. There’s nothing superior or enlightening about Kpop and Korean culture in contrast to other cultures and music. And Korean entertainment companies are crazy if they think people are just going to lie down and take this sort of stuff. If Kpop were to gain more popularity in the coming years, you know there’s going to be a backlash as a result of this.

    So in conclusion, I do see Kpop as a fad. People are interested in it at the moment, but not forever. I doubt I’ll be hearing about the Hallyu Wave in two or three years, maybe less. I think there will always be a niche group interested in Kpop but as for complete world domination, I doubt it. I think many Kpop groups are at their peak now and are soon to decline in popularity as other, newer groups take power, and as these groups go away, so will fans.

  • ME

    I have no worries. I attracted to KPop & KDrama because I became bored with USPop / US-Serial (Body of Proof is OK & still waiting for the new season of Sherlock). So, the cycle is always repeating itself. I open to new possibilities… as long as I can enjoy them – that’s what matter the most ;P

  • Kpopboi

    *Strictly my opinion from years of observing Kpop on and off * – – – Very insightful and honest stuff I must say… Supplementary to your article Ree, I have concluded 3 key reasons why Kpop won’t reach international mainstream success any time soon: 
    …..1. “Music is a natural evolution that crosses socio-cultural boundaries over unpredictable time”
    *Quite simple really. As the Hallyu wave took off in mid 2000’s, it was a natural process where Asian countries started picking up Korean dramas and pop music through self interest that spread via word of mouth and the interwebs. As soon as the Korean companies realised this potential market, they all swarmed on mass and spent billions of won trying to outdo each other. Enter 2011, and the result is an oversaturation of everything. They immaturely jumped at an opportunity; exploited the crap out of it .. and although it will pay some dividends in the short term, it may not have any sustainability. And on the flip side, no one likes music to be shoved down their throat – you like it or you don’t.
    2. “Kpop’s costs far outweigh the profits”
    *Not as simple but very true and often understated. Kpop costs a shitload to create, promote and maintain. In Korea as it is, sales are borderline successful, considering how much investment goes into each idol, manager, director and agent. Enter 2011 – An oversaturated market leads to a competitive field that is good for local economy but unsustainable internationally. The big 3 entered the KOSDAQ not primarily because they made a profit but because in order to expand overseas, they need an immense amount of  Korean investment. Its all risk… and so far, very little return (see Wondergirls). On the flip side, until Kpop can achieve point 1 above, then it will always be a chase. So far, South East Asia appears to be on par, but the west, is still miles in front. p.s. Japan is exactly the same but social-culturally, has been an easier ride……3. “Kpop struggles to achieve the crossover of ‘interest’ into ‘buying”*Major point. Its all feel good and smiles when you have people everywhere that know about Kpop but that’s not gonna bring home the bacon. This Korean Wave has a lot of shine but very little substance. Sales are still low as ever and that’s bad enough in an industry already on the verge of capitulating due to piracy, the internet and the rise of indie labels. Once they bring home the bacon, then you can invest in better marketing, better producers, better training, better everything – But the stagnation of the industry back home presents a dull.. perhaps kinda bleak outlook. On the flipside, that’s why Lady Gaga is so damn successful – she’s marketed well, is musically ‘current’, has a legion of fans that ACTUALLY buy her stuff and Universal Music are willing to risk 20 million USD everytime she promotes – with full confidence that they will make quadriple that in return. Kpop just doesn’t have that until that have points 1 and 2 firmly secured.

    .. the end. :)

    • Kpopboi

      Just reflecting on this post, I guess some Seoulbeaters might think I come across as quite negative and pessimistic. BUT that’s far from my intentions. I think everyone should be able to enjoy Kpop and explore a completely different music sub-sulture. If anything, I want more exposure for it, its really brought Korea to the map for many kids – something as a Korean myself, I’m proud about.

      But I sort of feel like Kpop’s conscience and want to keep its feet on the ground in the reality of it all.  I believe Kpop has a perfect medium right now in Asia and that it’s a natural yet successful process – this should be appreciated more by the Kpop companies, which they clearly have looked past recently. Case in point – the music sales in Asia are decent, hence the ability to cross over much more easily. Not the same anywhere else.

      You could say, I want people to find Kpop, not Kpop find people. And I hate to say it, but the whole reason why we all liked Kpop was for its unique Korean-ness .. which is dying in the face of globalising. (This is even evident in the mass push into the Japanese market of late).. With time, Kpop will grow and develop.. and you can see it – there are countries in the middle east, europe and south america with large fan groups. Now.. its a niche market, but who knows with time and long-term investment. A prime example is Hip Hop – it started as a small movement in NYC.. and look where it is now. ‘Global’.

      So yeah, it would be better to see my analysis as ‘what we can do better’ not ‘what we did wrong’.

  • Anonymous

    I have to agree with his article..I only hardcore fan for one group and if the group disband or not in the industry anymore.I think I will not follow K-Pop music like I use to be..

  • frou-frou

    I guess it depends on what you’re looking for in K-pop. To me, it all boils down to the music. Even as the groups I love implode one by one, I’ll still be here as long as there’s good music being made. 2011 was pretty underwhelming music-wise, but the Beast and Wonder Girls albums were a good reminder that there’s still some good stuff here.

    And I firmly believe that good pop music (like, really good pop music) can stand the test of time, no matter who sings it. I watched Elton John perform last night, and he was phenomenal – can you believe that Rocket Man was written 40 years ago?

    • cutiepie88

      “And I firmly believe that good pop music (like, really good pop music) can stand the test of time, no matter who sings it.”

      Thank you for saying (typing) that call me a dreamer or delusional because really I believe if an artist sincerely wants to keep making music and keep their longevity than they will stop at NOTHING to get it. But I am not that dense to realize that Kpop as a whole is slowly regressing but certain groups I will continue to follow because I genuinely do love their music and the group. Really when the DB5K thing happen I think that was one the biggest hit to Kpop which sucks because whether you hate them or love they had that chemistry mixed with charisma and be sincere that is very hard to find in a group except Big Bang (LOL XD) whatever I love this group! 

    • ME

      @9e40e7808869f00c04c222cda8a2764b:disqus, couldn’t agree with you more. B2ST ‘Fact & Fiction’ are really good to hear even though I don’t understand the meaning of it (unless I google and seek for lyrics and translation). Miss A ‘Good Bye Baby’ also one I love to hear and watch. 
      Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ is re-written over and over again for the theme of ‘Sport Aid’, ‘Moulin Rouge’, and maybe others… And I never get tired hearing that song… 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

      I don’t really think it’s fair to compare any K-pop song with Rocket Man. Elton John was always a brilliant songwriter that succeeded despite (maybe because of) his unwillingness to become what most people considered you had to be to become a “rock star.” Anyone else might have lost cool points doing a live concert dressed like Donald Duck, but that was Elton being Elton — his fame isn’t based on a slick image, purely on his abilities as a musician and songwriter. Contrast that with K-pop. Is there one K-pop song that really stands up, musically, without any cute guys or girls dancing to it, that was written by the artists through sheer musical artistry and talent? 

      I agree that good pop music does stand the test of time. But all the pop songs that have endured had one thing in common: they were created by extremely talented musicians whose musical compositions showed a lot of intricacy and brilliance (Rocket Man’s piano textures), or by songwriters that had something truly meaningful to say (Imagine by John Lennon). Sometimes both, but always one or the other. 

      K-pop songs are catchy, but simple. The lyrics are almost always shallow. The magic of K-pop is getting you hooked on the hot singers, dancing or the snappy chorus, not the musicianship. 

      The pop music that endures has substance to it. As much as I love K-pop, I am not going to pump rainbows up my own backside and pretend K-pop is truly on par with songs like Rocket Man, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Hey Jude, Imagine, God Only Knows, or any of the pop classics.  

  • Yeah…

    For some reason this bit: “When your favourite band ends however… well, it’s not the same. These are people. People who can’t be easily replaced by other people.” got to me and I started tearing up. I’ve fallen in love (not really) with these people and I cannot just turn it off and move on when the time comes. I cannot even imagine what will happen to me if my bias group disbands. In all seriousness, I really don’t know what I’ll become. I’m much too emotionally invested in k-pop for it to be remotely healthy.

    But yes. The fad will come to an end very soon. Once the big groups go and disappear off the face of the planet most kpop fans will move on. Because the truth is that no new groups will really reach the peak that the older groups have. Nor will they ever probably. SHINee will never be as big as TVXQ or even SJ. Miss A, Sistar, 4minute and Co. will never be as huge SNSD. This is just reality. Big Bang, SNSD, SJ and TVXQ are the peak of the hallyu wave. Scratch that, they ARE the hallyu wave. The kpop fad will die with the group names do.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you..new group will never be as big as the above group you mention. I think for the big concert overseas..majority of the fans who come are fans of these few group. If all the big group dissapear..I predict the concert will not sell much..Actually kpop is not that big..it will slow down..just wait and see..

      • Yeah…

        Most definitely. The younger groups aren’t getting enough attention from the public, and I guess the blame can go to the big groups hogging all the attention. It’s a weird vicious cycle. The general public is not paying enough attention to younger groups with great material/concepts/songs because of the big groups, and once the big groups are gone the general public STILL won’t care about them saying that they haven’t “grabbed their attention/weren’t good enough/will never measure up.” HOW DID THE TOP GROUPS GET SO POPULAR IN THE FIRST PLACE? Attention. That was it. And people are not giving them that. :(

  • http://profiles.google.com/melapots23 mela roldan

    In all honesty i still don’t understand what makes kpop so special,  it was sensationalized here in my country as the current “it” thing. I never understood the devotion hordes of fans have for their idol going as far as cyber bullying, I used to tell my kpop loving friends how can they love a genre of music which they don’t even understand what they are saying. I remember myself saying to them that its just a fad, a break away from the mediocre music local artists have been producing and promoting 

    I found it a refreshing change and fan girling was actually fun to a certain point however my view of Kpop never really did change i still see it as a fad, a break or a change from the usual stuff. but the music i found refreshing before is now turning to mediocre and generic. the saturation of idols does not help so as the mismanagement of entertainment companies with their talents. they never actually let them grow, and overwork them to the point of exhaustion. Unless the companies work their brains out and bring something new and refreshing back to the table this phenomenon or fad will die sooner than expected. if only they spent their time more on the content rather than the packaging and use their brains on creativity rather than marketing strategies

  • Shawol52911

    The way I see it, if kpop dies, the music it left will live on forever

  • ggoma

    I think it’s just the new Japan. After that, I’m sure some other Asian countries with have people foaming at their mouths.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2QHQR2YLQSPOBDFGTQGLUTPY2A Pas

      You are absolutely right. I wasn’t into the the whole anime/manga thing that was really popular in the early 2000s but I knew about it because the boys at my school were so invested into it. So what ended up happening, well they grew up and grew out of it. This is going to eventually happen to Kpop and then it’s Cpop’s turn.

      • Anonymous

        Do you mean that people will grow out of Cpop, or that Cpop will become popular? I feel like China is a little different from other Asian countries. Korea and Japan, for example, have a much smaller domestic population. They probably depend/get more benefit out of being successful overseas and in other Asian countries. Chinese artists, on the other hand, can probably get by/be considered successes if they achieve fame just in their own country (and to an extent Taiwan). 

        On another note, I am SO in denial about BigBang “imploding”. 

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  • anon

    The reason why DBSK, Big Bang, Wonder Girls, SNSD, & Super Junior pretty much are Hallyu is because they were the first perfect “products” of the K-Pop portion of Hallyu. Say what you will about how amazing H.O.T, SES, G.O.D, etc. were, they were still virtually the Big 3’s experiments. After seeing how their first batch of groups went, the companies then went about and tinkered with promotion strategies, images, groups’ chemistry, until they found the perfect ones in what is now known as the the 2nd generation of K-Pop. 

    And it’s because those groups were the first of their kind, that most K-Pop fans migrated towards them. I think the beginning mentality was oooh, a k-pop group? what’s that? let’s check it out!, and that mentality eventually became a solid emotional attachment to the group they liked the best. It’s also because of that solid emotional attachment that when those groups die out, so will those K-Pop fans’ attachment to K-Pop. In my experience, most of the longest running fans of K-Pop are still attracted to K-Pop solely because their favorite group is still going strong. Others who didn’t find a favorite group? They’ve already moved on.

    However, now there’s too many groups in the industry for new fans to form that emotional attachment. That’s why the K-Pop fad will eventually die out, and that’s also why none of the new groups will rise to the heights of the 2nd generation groups. 

    • Yeah…

      Whoa. I agree with every word you said (typed). Especially the whole emotional attachment bit. Because that is exactly what keeps the kpop industry running. Emotional attachment and investment. I have known so many Cassies who have just left kpop behind after the SM lawsuit. Some have stayed of course, but as they have told me, no group will ever fill the space left over from pre-lawsuit DBSK.

      • Anon

        Yup, I know a lot of those Cassies as well.

        And that is exactly why DBSK is arguably the most popular Kpop group in recent history (some will even say most popular in Kpop history ever). Because they were the first group to debut, the first group to get enough attention to become popular. Now, I’m not saying DBSK didn’t deserve that popularity (lol Cassie here), but I do think a lot of fans were hooked in by simply how much hype DBSK got. It was pretty much a circle — more hype equals more fans and more fans equal more hype — until the DBSK name became what it was, and still is, today.

        Look at DGNA — just as much talent as DBSK when they debuted, and they have just as much of looks. But their concept has already been done before, there are more flashy groups out there, and so no one really cares about them beyond a select niche of fans. The result? An underrated, “nugu” group.

        • http://colourmesplendid.wordpress.com Ree

          Going to elaborate on DGNA — they are one of the saddest things I have seen. And no matter when people say talent trumps over all else, DGNA is proof that it doesn’t. They’re so amazing and talented, the standard at which they are debuted is honestly one you don’t see often. But here they are, stuck in a lame agency, getting mediocre songs, and getting squashed by other flashy groups.

          • nana

            KPOP is about luck right now. 2ne1 debut with crazy outfits electro song, few months later 4minutE come out with the same style fast forward to now. 4minute isn’t as popular as 2ne1. Its the groups that debut first with fresh concept that gains the most fans in the long run. Most of the others groups are seen as followers. They gain fans but not respect. Secret is more talented then kara. But kara was here first so they get the most fans.

  • ayejayem

    I have to agree this article too. After MBLAQ and B2ST debuted, the only other boy band I could name that had actually sparked my attention was Block B, and after their first single I couldn’t tell you what songs they’ve released…
    I mean I got into K-pop in late-summer 2008, so I was around for the Wondergirls explosion and the debut of 2PM, but yeah…once that generation of boy bands and girl groups go away, idk if i’ll have an incentive to all of the sudden start stanning Infinite, or AA, or whatever band debuts afterwards….

  • Anonymous

    I went to K-Pop (after J-pop) because US music wasn’t appealing to my taste. Is it a fad for me? It wasn’t at first, it did become that when I found a favorite group and started stanning them hardcore; I guess it happens to those who get swept in the hype (for example, I loved Twilight, BEFORE the books became famous and the movies were even created; but I avoided the crazed hype that followed [having to camp out a week before the premiere? No, thank you.].). It’s harder with K-Pop because of the way fandoms are and the wars started — physical and verbal; and then there’s how the management companies try to appeal to consumers and advertise and in the process, hopefully globalize.
    As of now, I have only stuck to paying attention to certain groups; I admit that real life — with work and family responsibilities — is the reason why I don’t try to listen to new debut groups’ songs and albums and music. But I don’t think I’ll ever quit the people of the groups I have learned to follow and care about. Yes, I worry about what will happen while members are serving their military service (I just got my first shock when I heard about Jaejoong’s impending enlistment late 2012; when I thought I already had my mind prepared).
    Just because K-Pop is in the status of “fad” right now doesn’t exactly mean it’ll die out; I guess those who will stay after the general interest is shifted kinds of determines who is really into K-Pop as a fad or as music or inspiration and etc.

  • Anonymous

    Big applause. Once again your article awed me, Ree.

    I was starting to get into Kpop at the beginning of this year. It was fun at first, and it’s a refreshing change from what I usually listened to. But life moves on, and we can’t fangirl forever. I guess that’s when kpop effect started to disappear for me. And not to mention the quality of kpop itself which is keep declining. 

    I have 1-2 groups that I am fond of. But like you said, probably I will not be their fan forever.

    • Pimptress95

      @itsmysunshine I am just like you. I became I fan this year around August, and it is refreshing. I have to say, Part of the reason why I like kpop is because of the idols personalities. Like you don’t really see American artist doing goofy stupid things on tv. You don’t reAlly see there personality, they are always professional. (except for Will Smith) just like many others, even though I am new, I only care about my groups. (BIGBANG, DBSK,Rain, Se7en,jay park+2pm)

      • Anonymous

        Oh yes :) That’s one of my reasons too. Although while I watched those variety shows, there was always a small voice in my head telling me to not being fooled because how manufactured idols these days and perhaps their personalities that we saw on TV is also part of that manufacturing. 

        But it’s fun while it lasts. For now, I will just ignore that small voice until real life completely takes over my fangirl life. Haha. Sad, but it’s true.

  • kc

    I remember back in the Shinhwa days during their last album, I hadn’t really been a fan of Kpop then but my good friends were and they were all… depressing and annoying really, it was all “omg, Shinhwa’s on hiatus, I don’t care about Kpop anymore” and that was that. in these days they check in and listen, mostly to Bigbang and such, but it’s just not the same I guess…
    to me, I am more interested in the people, well… mostly my bias’ in each of their groups, I’m the type who’ll chose one (or two or three… all of them in Shinee and Bigbang’s case…) and that person will be the person I watch in that group- in After school that was Bekah and well, the moment she left the group I gave their songs after that a listen but I didn’t care for them as much as I had when they’d first started out…
    when it comes down to it, music is evolution, it’s always changing for the best and for the worst- that’s just how music is…
    do I think Kpop will die?
    nah, even if it dies in America it’ll still be going on in Korea, and while our generations fans will be moving on the next generation’s fans will be there to step in our place- really that’s with music in general though, I mean as you grow up how often do you fan girl over someone new? to us in our twenties I’m sure you’ve noticed a steady decline in your interest in todays music, it’s slowly starting to sound annoying and you start to question “are kids really listening to this, back in my day we had great music” I mean there will always be good music that catches your interest but we always tend to think that the music we grew up with and loved is a million times better then the future generation’s music.

    Kpop might not last forever in the USA, but with it’s fad status it could be sparking the interest of those who’ve never even considered another style of music other then American pop, in a way Kpop was what opened my eyes to the world so in a way Kpop could be growing interest in the world, making people think “oh, this isn’t to bad, I wonder what the rest of the world’s music sounds like” it’s almost exciting, and I probably sound like a naive optimistic fangirl but I genuinely think that^^

    and I mean, just think, five years ago most people would have scoffed at the thought that an Asian singer could become big in America, and while we’re still far off from crowning an “Asian Lady Gaga” it’s a bigger step, we just gotta try to evolve our music industry one step at a time^-^ 

    • http://colourmesplendid.wordpress.com Ree

      haha, no your optimism is welcomed.

      “in a way Kpop was what opened my eyes to the world so in a way Kpop could be growing interest in the world, making people think “oh, this isn’t to bad, I wonder what the rest of the world’s music sounds like” it’s almost exciting”

      That… I will not argue with ;) K-Pop definitely does have it’s benefit, and that is one of them. 

      Of course K-Pop won’t ever die in Korea (though I would be willing to argue that the attention on idol groups are on the decline), because that’s it’s home base. When I say fad, I generally mean international fans. You’re definitely right, music does always evolve — but you said it yourself, you’re more interested in the people. I’d say I’m half and half with both people and music (which is why I won’t completely fall out when my fav bands do disband). There are a lot of people out there who are interested for the people more than anything. These fans who are so devoted and invested — most are not devoted and invested in the music — but the people. 

      As for next generation’s fans coming in to replace us, in Korea that may happen (though honestly, I’d also be willing to counter that argument), but internationally? What was it that attracts people to the big groups in the first place? Apart from the refinement and the top-notch material they received (or were receiving), it was the attention they already had.

      As @a44b83d08bedb3cb7ac1a5727318fe2a:disqus  mentioned, the things that really brought those groups up there in the first place was attention. Most of them had attention from the get-go (most, not all). Because they were new and quirky and different. All these new idol groups, none of them will get the same amount of attention lavished on them the way DBSK, Big Bang, ect did. Because the hype and attention is still on the older bands. It’s a vicious cycle, yes. I don’t think K-Pop will end — but I do think the recent popularity surrounding it will end. And it will lose hype. 

      And a disclaimer: sorry if I come off as a negative Nancy. I love my K-Pop, and although I’m not exactly a veteran, I did join the niche fandom late 2008, so just before the ‘boom’. And I’ve always been an over-analytical person, and that probably comes off as overly critical sometimes. So basically, I’ve watched K-Pop grow at such an exponential rate, and don’t get me wrong, I do want it to be successful. But I want it to be success that will benefit not only South Korea, but the world. I want it to be a success whilst still maintaining it’s individuality and ‘specialness’, for lack of a better term. I want it to be a success the same way I want to bridge gaps of superiority and xenophobia. But that isn’t the kind of success South Korea wants.

      And as I said, I think K-Pop has reached a point of success, but honestly, foreign things will only ever become so popular, but will never achieve complete favouritism. Once again, with anime, huge popularity, but it will always somewhat remain a niche. There’s a lot of reasons behind this; western superiority, distribution of world powers and influence, just general ‘what we’re used to will remain most comfortable’ mentality, and inherent intolerance and racial inequality — but all those things are for another OP-ED for another day. First, in order for K-Pop to be where it wants to be, it needs to do two things in my opinion

      1) Become humble 
      2) Break down those barriers

      And the globalisation of Asian culture is definitely a small step towards it. But K-Pop itself is not enough to break those barriers — that’s something a country and people as a whole need to get together to do. Not the pop industry.

      I think I went on a bit of a tangent near the end, and I’m not sure if my comment even conveyed what I wanted it to convey at first. But I hope you can decipher my verbose reply :)

      • kc

        you in no way sound like a negative Nancy, if anything you’re one of the most optimistic writers on here^-^

        IDK, I mean British music boomed in the late sixties early seventies and you can still find people today who are all about it… but then again those groups were also white and spoke English…

        Korea has always had a tendency of over hyping, I mean Rain makes a movie “oh, he’s a Hollywood star now!” WG promote in the states “oh, they’re big stars now” it sort of feels at times that they care more about the title then the actual success… I mean, I’m not saying that Korea’s stuck up but Korean’s have alot of pride, they love their country and when they want something they want it bad…

        ah, I’m not sure what I’m trying to say… 

        anyways, yeah, the fad’s gonna burn out within a couple of months, possibly a year, and well, if Korea’s hoping it can solve it’s economical problems on Hallyu their gonna be learning a hard lesson… 

        the one thing I don’t get though is why they don’t try taking Europe, they seem to have an even bigger fandome there then in the states and I mean, Britain still likes Boy bands, Kpop would mesh really well there.

  • San

    I think everyone here would agree that Kpop has already reached its peaked and now is on the decline. I got into Kpop because it was different from the norm. And most of my friends do so as well. Biggest difference from the usual is the high attention given to the performance. Groups like Spice Girls, BSB and Nsync has never been known for that. DBSK, Big Bang, SHINee and yes at the time WG surprised foreign fans in 2008.

    With the recent and debut and success of the not so good bands (sorry to say but b1a4, apink, and 4minute) you can actually see the lack of interest of the companies in the quality of the members. There are good rookie groups out there (INFINITE and Teen Top to name a few) but there’s not so much of them. Not so much to overcome the bad ones.

    I’m from the Philippines and I would say that Kpop has already reached its peaked here. When Nobody was introduced to the Filipinos in 2009 (I know, a year after it was release in Korea), everyone and I mean EVERYONE knows the song. From the politician to the farmers, from the young to the old, men and women, gays and lesbians are doing the shooting love thing. But do not necessarily know who the Wonder Girls are. It was used in shows and gets played in radios like everyday. And up to now is the most popular kpop song in the country. After which is I Don’t Care of 2ne1 (well mostly because of Dara) and then Sorry Sorry of Suju. All three songs gain so much attention in tv and radios.

    But as of now, no other songs has reached that popularity. Even SNSD. Kpop songs might be charting in a so-called MYX chart here, but that chart doesn’t really tell how the song is received overall. MYX is based purely on voting. Not even a little on research. And we all know how crazy fans are when it comes to voting.

    Yes, there is a kpop community here, but not as strong as it was as in 2009-2010. And I have a feeling it would be even  weaker in 2012. People have and will move on and there’s only a few younger people that’s getting into Kpop that replaces those who have left.

  • Anonymous

    i see kpop getting bigger and bigger. it may even become the source for american tweens for that all important non-threatening sexual focus that the likes of bieber fill so poorly.  if that happens then kpop will sup from that market that only usa can provide, something the management companies would be insanely happy about.  You said that Korea over imagines that kpop helps their global standing..i disagree with your analysis because I know that it has been a large positive influence in terms of bringing the Korea discussion about outside of “they are still at war with the North”.  Seriously, you may be growing out of it…but kpop is on the swell and can and is easily replacing you with new fans as fanatical as fans were for the Beatles.  Also, you mention DBSK as the gold standard.  DBSK is/was great but the next level is here and the next level after that is coming.  kpop doesn’t need DBSK or the older acts..the new acts are awesome. There is so much good new stuff that when choosing what to play on the radio (if you operate kpop radio) is such that we are forced to suck the air out of the older acts to give air to the new acts and this is accelerating.  KPOP has just begun..nowhere near coming to its end.  Besides, it seems you really miss something very important:  the music is really good.  Bubblegum pop, dance pop, the french disco fusion, it’s filling a huge void in the music scene.  We used to get 1 good piece a month or 2 in the 80s now we get new albums of it every week.  This is awesome we are having a great time..and it isn’t going to end because you are stuck back in the DBSK era.  Seriously, the speed of progress is amazing. kpop has a huge amount of space to grow in and it looks like it is well more than able of continuing to fill and finding ever more fans..there are many more reasons to expect it to expand than to imagine that it is over.

    • Anon

      Kpop will never be American tweens’ focus. Despite the US being known as a “melting pot” of cultures, the majority of the population is still very white. And unfortunately, despite how advanced America may seem in terms of racial issues, the stereotype of Asians being nerdy and just plain “dorky” is still perpetuated very strongly in America, especially to a lot of whites living in central America.

      I don’t know if you’re a new fan (I’m just guessing due to your avatar), but to a lot of older fans, the music hasn’t been good for years. Most of us agree that the last good year for Kpop was 2009; anything after that just sounds very repetitive.

      • Anonymous

        well i came in at the super junior debut.. never say never. i didn’t see
        asians at all before i found kpop then i found that i didn’t know
        anything at all. now i see them because my eyes have been opened. if my
        eyes can be opened it can happen to these other potential fans.  just
        because you don’t like the music since ’08 ..i promise you it doesn’t
        mean that the rest of us have stopped liking the music.

      • http://profiles.google.com/melapots23 mela roldan

        i agree with you about the stereotypes..my cousins in cali always say asians are stereotyped as smart, nerds or over achieving dorks, heck there is even a whole glee episode about it (Asian F) 

      • Anonymous

        I agree and disagree with you. I agree that many people stereotype Asians are nerdy but I also see a large amount of respect for Asian culture, primarily coming from anime lovers and the like. I see people growing away from the Asian stereotype of uptight and nerdy bit by bit, or at least coming to accept Asians as cooler than once believed. But I agree that Kpop isn’t likely to appeal to tweens, simply because tweens aren’t as open to other types of music. An older, more mature person won’t mind listening to music in a different language, but I can’t picture most tweens doing the same, or listening to anything that’s not mainstream or cool.

        Ethnic diversity isn’t everywhere in the States. In central USA, I believe, it’s very white, but in other parts, such as Cali, it’s incredibly diverse. The most populous and urban states are the most diversified. My hometown has been growing in diversity over the past few years, and I don’t even live in a large town or city.

    • Anon

      It’s because there’s so many albums released in such a short amount of time that the quality has been going downhill. Companies are just churning out songs that sound the same over and over and over again, just to cash in on what they see as an easy profit.

      • Anonymous

        well i came in at the super junior debut.. never say never. i didn’t see asians at all before i found kpop then i found that i didn’t know anything at all. now i see them because my eyes have been opened. if my eyes can be opened it can happen to these other potential fans.  just because you don’t like the music since ’08 ..i promise you it doesn’t mean that the rest of us have stopped liking the music.

      • Anonymous

        ze:a is a new band and they have quality music.  teen top is a new band and they have quality music..2 new bands that will have quality music are coming from yg next year..and others will do the same…i don’t understand why you are all so pessimistic it really is a mistaken point of view

        • rose

          Teen top give quality music?? I can’t take a group who have what 6-7 member yet only one gets all the lines. It gives the impression that the rest a fillers.

    • Anonymous

      become the source for american tweens…..  and it will snow in middle of july in Caribbeans…. u are way over ur head. kpop taking over american music in america….. yea i do not think so. i agree that its a niche in the market but not mainstream in america… honestly i really doubt it will ever be.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

      I think one day there may be a Korean artist who will penetrate the US market, but I do not expect it to be a K-pop group or singer. America is already over-saturated with pop stars, with new ones popping (no pun intended) up everyday. Pop doesn’t guarantee lasting fame in America, and it is an even rougher road for pop groups coming from other regions and continents. K-pop is about precision dancing, attractive idols and catchy, but shallow, lyrics. None of those things will differentiate a K-pop artist — not enough, anyway — from the hundreds of bubblegum/”hip pop” artists that come through the American music scene every day, month and year.  

      There is a reason that only foreign pop artists that have something unique to bring to the table ever make it onto the US music charts. Americans usually only look outside our borders for something unique. Otherwise, most Americans make do with the groups that come from our own backyard. That goes doubly for the tweens. K-pop is not going to dominate the tween market in the US unless they suck at the teet of Disney — and Disney already has their own stable of contract teen stars to pimp for the US tween market.

  • Hate Or Aide?

    it will end when another asian country decides to go all out training idols that will be accepted in the asian world.

    it was mandopop for years, then cantopop…then jpop….now kpop….who knows which country will have the next big asian music?

    • kh

      i dont think canto-pop ever had a moment tbh, it was Hong Kong’s noir movies in the 80s that was popular. i think canto-pop will be after kpop. but it’ll still take a while since hk is still developing it’s music scene.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed. It’s just the time. Taiwanese dramas were so big  hit in my country, Thailand, then J dramas took the position for 3-4 years. Now not only K dramas but Kpop songs entered the market too. But I can see the decline. We’re getting bored by Kdrama. We have seen the same pattern whether it’s romantic, sad or historical dramas. It’s just too much. So, I wonder what it will be the next one.

      Anyway, I used to watch Hong Kong’s movies and tv series when I was so young. The storyline was superb. I wish I could find videos online again to recall my adolescence. 

  • http://weeatlemon.blogspot.com conanblue

    Ah, K-pop. It’s like fatty foods and candies. You know it’s bad for you, but you can’t help wanting more. I can’t believe it’s been well over three years and I’m still browsing through akp to see new MVs coming out. I’m a lot more relieved when I found Seoulbeats. At least all the bad mouthing I did to a few *ehem*SM*ehem* idols has a home of some sorts. And I do feel like I’m slowly backing out from K-pop. Not completely, but definitely slowly and perhaps surely.

    Anyways, I do think it’s a fad. Something like anime, you know Pokemon, Yugi-oh. I think they became a little (or a lot) more popular than K-pop, but like the waves in the ocean, they just crashed back into the waters. A person can only take in so much bad stuff and unless K-pop can produce more quality, which I think is less likely, then it’s going to die out very soon. I say two, three years tops. And the lack of huge bands is definitely a cripple. Potential bands like Infinite or miss A can only do so much to the industry. I haven’t seen any well off band beyond 2010. If the 5 year curse is true, 2015 will be the death of K-pop in the new millennium.

    But remember the K-pop coma of early 2000s? Well it came back even stronger a few years later. Maybe, just maybe, K-pop might go through the same cycle to only come back a little stronger. Once human rights and true artistry is more prioritized, only then K-pop can truly take over the world or what have you. But who am I kidding. I know that kind of stuff won’t happen.

  • http://twitter.com/no1Salope Riley Davis

    I have been a fan of K-pop since 2002, so basically I’ve seen countless bands come and go, the same way I watched Nsync and BSB dominate (and disband). I agree with this article in the respect that I do feel that K-pop has become a fad. Most people looked to K-pop because they wanted something different; the language is beautiful, the videos are generally colourful, as are the artists-and that is the main problem. The shallowness that Ree pointed out is something that I always encounter these days, I hardly hear young fans talk about the vocals or the lyrics, (most cant understand and do they even care?). All the newer Kpoppers can talk about is how pretty their biases are and (if u look on tumblr) how many sordid things they want to do to them, and that is fine-its all part of a fandom. But does it make for longevity? No, of course not because once those fans grow up, so will their tastes in men/women. Their Oppas would have gone to the military and their Noonas would have either been married off or be in a different line of work altogether. I’ve said this countless times to people but I really feel that the Big agencies sense a change (both positive and negative) hence putting on these big shows in NY, Paris and other parts of the world. I think its a great move, they need to capitalize on what the kids are willing to pay for now because in a year or so I feel like K-pop won’t be this big.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know..I think I’m on the fence with respect to this one. Kpop is hugely popular in its niche market but I don’t really come across people (in my age group early to late twenties) who listen to it. So yeah, in a way I agree that it is just a fad like anime- not to mention they also share a similar market.

    The thing with kpop that bothers me are the variety show/personal/emotional aspect. Entertainments companies carefully craft idol images to fit the dream of teenage girls. Remove that, and you’re just left with dancing kids…which really anyone could do. And America is just not big on reality shows, well, unless you want to become the resident joke. Still, $$$ value is plenty and I could just be a pessimist.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with practically everything in this article to be honest…except some minor details that I am to sleepy to point out lol but you are very right…once Joejang leaves to the army..goodbye kpop .-.

     I like music though and will probably keep listening to k-indie or w/e non-idol groups korea has to offer…I cant say where I will be in my life once JJ gets released out of the army so idk if I’ll still be a fan..probably still be tbh as long as JYJ keep producing decent music but anyways i digress.

  • http://twitter.com/chiwawa__ Chiwawa

    I agree fully with most of the article however I feel like kpop could survive in the future.

    Currently the biggest problem is that there are too many groups that are debuting that aren’t really talented enough or has the proper backing. What Kpop needs is new ambitious projects like when this generations groups got put together. I’m going to wait until SM debuts their new boy group until I draw the conclusion Kpop will die out, this also applies to YG’s new girl group.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anngelica-Aguilar/100000185514336 Anngelica Aguilar

    I feel so horrible!! I follow MBLAQ mainly because of the members (especially Mir) instead of their music T-T I feel like some obsessive fangirl…

  • khai vu

    Good article here. Man, haha, a lot of the things talked about apply to me. I’m only a big fan of INFINITE and I can’t really get into other groups. Man, after watching them on variety shows they seemed like best friends to me. But when I stand back and think about it a bit it’s a little odd how much I’m emotionally invested in them. Yeah, maybe this is just a fad but I do think that high quality groups will do well in the future. 

  • mija

    I agree with the points in this article and I think kpop will mostly die down when the hardcore fans grow up. I mean the kids who actually look up to SNSD or whoever and want to be like them, when these kids finally get to be 18yo+ and they actuallystart becoming their own person and stop wishing to look like these idols and dress like them kpop will die down. I feel like the groups that debuted in 2009 were the last round of group that were actaully original and brought something exciting to kpop and since then no group’s debut has really surprised me except maybe Rania.

    You can even tell that alot of idols know that the kpop craze isnt going to last forever because so many of them are chosing to go to college and not trying to pretend that they will make a living off of their fame forever. 

    Another thing, It really bothered me when that girl in the video said kpop is a lifestyle? How can you say that when you don’t even speak the language that the songs are in and most people around you don’t even know what kpop is? How is it your lifestyle?

  • Anonymous

    I already feel the 2nd generation dying on the vine. It had a good run, but the next generation will never live up to the standards that Big Bang, Wonder Girls, DB5K, and the successful artists of the 1st generation cemented into Kpop culture and music. It’s not on life support by any means, but there has been a decline. Any group that’s been around for 3 or more years isn’t getting paid attention to as much. The Big 3 are already preparing themselves for the next generation. SHINee, SUJU, DB2K, CSJH, SNSD, BoA, f(x) all of those acts in SM (except SNSD) have been rather non-existent (at least musically) throughout this and last year. Big Bang’s had a tumultuous year and 2ne1’s not doing too well in Japan, so they’re getting ready for the new groups next year to make up for this year’s loss. I hope Big Bang doesn’t get like JinuSean or 1TYM where they’re behind the scenes and only come out to play in the YG Family concert (and are considered active but never release their material as a group), at least not for a while yet. On the upside, the decrease in idol-dom, will weed out those who were never artists (in the traditional sense) in the first place. The real artists will move on after the idol phase has passed and will either go solo or continue the group (or sub unit) and will become independent of their company (or they may choose to stay and the company can give them free reign). They’ll start becoming more responsible of their music and image. Thankfully, even though YG’s just as mainstream as JYP and SM, he does allow his veteran artists (in house or the ones who just moved in like Psy and Tablo) to go that route though it’s under his name brand.

    As for Kpop being a fad, well… with the exception of the few acts that make timeless music that is high standard in quality and hold up no matter how old it is, isn’t all music just a fad until they decrease in sales and revenue?

    As for Kpop coming and going, it was never here (in the US) to become a fad long enough for the rest of the world (outside of those who were already fans) to notice. Yeah, Wonder Girls performed with the Jonas Brothers, BoA made an album and released the crappy version of Eat U Up’s video before the Chinese one, but by then it was too late. Se7en made a song with Lil’ Kim that not even I – a fan of near anything YG – knew about until forever later. JYJ, well… to non fans, they looked all kinds of gay (sorry JaeYooSu u_u) and the album was nothing to write home about with the fob Engrish and I refuse to acknowledge that shitty MV. If SM think they’re going anywhere with SNSD in America… not gonna happen. They’re too manufactured, they’re not vocally gifted beyond Taeyeon’s robotic vocals, Tiffany’s alright vocals, Sunny’s okay vocals, and Jessica’s so-so vocals.There are too many that Americans are gonna say something along the lines of ‘They all look the same.’ because to the average American, unless you live in a pan Asian community, are Asian yourself, or a fan, you don’t notice the difference between them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

      Your post is the most intelligent post under this article, imo. Bravo.
      I agree that K-pop in the US, no matter how optimistic you want to be when slicing this cake, is nearly non-existent. Wonder Girls have made efforts to penetrate the US market and have had extremely mixed results (that is putting it nicely). Other K-pop artists have all made attempts and barely caused a ripple. SNSD performed on Letterman and Kelly Ripa? Great. Awesome. But The Boys did not crack the Hot 100, and only appeared on a few charts that most probably aren’t aware even exist in the US. SMtown Live in New York was a great success for K-pop as a whole — but would any of those acts, individually, be able to fill Madison Square Garden the way the company did by putting together all their most popular acts? Most K-pop acts who play solo concerts sell out mid-size concert venues, not massive arenas. More often than not they play even smaller venues, but still tout sales figures like they booked Glastonbury.

      I just think SM, and numerous other companies, are doing themselves a disservice pouring money into trying the break into the US market. It is not going to happen. America is already too over-saturated with its own brand of Disney-fied teen pop stars to really look seriously at what is coming from overseas. Beyond the tween market, America is already filled to the brim with wannabe Chris Brown-type R&B stars. Someone like Se7en just doesn’t stand out enough (not a knock on him, just stating facts). The only foreign artists that crack the US market are ones that bring something that the US doesn’t already have in abundance. I could see a Korean virtuoso who blends trot with western style pop and folk music making it in America WAY before I could ever picture a Korean pop star making it. We already have our own manufactured pop stars here — piling more on top of them isn’t a viable means of creating lasting success. 

      There are only a few people I’ve seen in the Korean pop scene that I think could make it in the US in a meaningful way. Most of them are singers that are fluent in English (like Yoochun from JYJ, or Tiffany and Jessica from SNSD). However, even those singers would have to break away from their contracts and focus on doing something unique to get themselves noticed in America. Trying to forge lasting success on the back of homogenized pop music isn’t going to cut it. They would probably have to focus on building up credibility as feature singers at the start, collaborating with Asian artists that already have a name in America (like Far East Movement or Bruno Mars). Even then their talent would have to stand out enough that those guest appearances would gain them some visibility, which isn’t a given. Also, I’m not confident K-pop stars would be able to go from big time celebrities in the Asian market to little known feature singers building up their artistic resume in the US. But gaining traction in the US market has a lot to do with building up rep with smaller appearances, then later testing the waters by releasing a solo album. At least in the pop scene.

      I just don’t see a K-pop artist ever doing it. K-pop doesn’t differentiate itself enough from the kind of R&B-tinged “hip pop” US listeners hear everytime they turn on the radio. 

  • Capri08

    Ugh…it was hard watching whose girls talk about k-pop. It reminded me of the N*SYNC, BackStreet Boys, and Spice Girls days. Everyone though they would stay forever. But in reality nothing last forever. This craze will soon come to an end. 
    One thing I can’t understand though about these interviews is that when they interview these fans why do they always compare it with American music, rather than their own country’s music? Or all world music? And sometimes I don’t think these fans actually realize what is being said in these k-pop songs. Just because it has a nice beat doesn’t always mean that the lyrics are great or has deep meanings about love. *Sorry but that part in the interview cracked me up.* Some do and some don’t, but don’t generalize it as Korean pop good and American music bad.

  • Pg13247

    K-pop is a fad. I actually feel old because I just can’t keep up with all of the new releases anymore. Forget about American music, it’s even harder to keep up. I can only really support my Top 3 now: SNSD, SISTAR and Secret.

    What I’m grateful for about getting into K-pop (Started in 2003) was that I tried to look up things that the idols discuss and talk about on the shows and dramas. I wanted to see what Seoul looked like, I wanted to learn about what the different kinds of foods that Korea offered. It introduced me to more of the Korean culture once I bothered to start looking things up.

    I loved this quote from another SB commenter: “Korea is not one massive SNSD MV on replay”. A lot of the newbie fans seem to have a very delusional and idealistic view of korea and they will be able to go to Seoul and marry their oppa.

  • mania

    Blame the smaller companies. They are like cockroaches coming out with girl groups and boy groups hoping to be the next suju, big bang, snsd, 2ne1. But guess what people are not stupid, most people is SK see right through them.

  • ana

    kpop is like what anime and jpop was a few years ago. Remember when everyone was watching gundam wing, seed, inuyasha??? Yeah. Than everyone was listen to jpop and everything. Yeah. Jpop and anime still have a niche but its not as strong as IT was back isn’t 2002-2004.

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaRenee480 Amanda Evans

      Japan-related media (be it Japanese music, anime/movies, or video games) have always had a bigger following than anything coming out of Korea. Even with a smaller group following it actively now, most people in general here in the US know what you’re talking about when you talk about something Japan-related.

      K-Pop or Korean entertainment = blank stares or “What?”

  • Anonymous

    I think in terms of ‘global domination’ – it will never happen the way they going about it now due to 3 main reasons:
    – Language barrier. Sorry, the mainstream isn’t going accept you if they can’t understand you
    – Cultural barrier. We don’t even share the same humor. (Cue Rain’s MTV Badass Awards speech)
    – Racism/Discrimination. The West is still not quite ready yet ready to accept Asians as anything but outsiders.

    … but this topic has already been beaten like a dead horse over and over again on this site :P

    I also feel that the golden age of K-pop has already begun to decline (since 2009). There have been good groups (along with bad groups) put out since then, but none of them have achieved the same powerful affect that say, DBSK achieved. Don’t get me wrong, I still think there is forward momentum, and that new fans are still being created every day. And K-pop certainly won’t end… as long as they keep producing new things. But I feel like these days everyone’s just trying to rehash the past, and trying to recreate what was already a successful formula. When everything is based on trends, there is no real substance.

    But you know, maybe some of these new groups (like Infinite) may become to new fans what DBSK and Big Bang were to us older-generation fans. And to them, what these newer groups are doing is new and not rehashed because they were never around to experience the glory days of DBSK, just as most of us weren’t around to experience the glory days of H.O.T. And so there is a new population there to carry on the movement even after we and our favorite older groups disperse into the wind. The thing is, though, that once THEIR favorite groups disband, they will do the same. In this manner, K-pop will be able to maintain the same level of popularity among a certain age group demographic (with a medium to high turnover rate) but won’t necessarily be able to grow and expand that demographic because we ‘graduate’ from being obsessive with K-pop (even if we may casually check up on it every now and then) along with our favorite groups.

    • http://twitter.com/clazzigirl BoBGirl

      “older-generation fans” I feel like an old fan reading this lol… But the main difference is that “hallyu” waves (idol acts popping out everywhere) are occurring much faster and shorter now so at some point, there won’t be any distinct major acts. What I mean is that when one talks about the main kpop idol acts of 2008, you immediately think about DBSK, WG and BB but what about now (SNSD and 2NE1 but I think they are in-betweens?) ? There are too many of them and so the list gets longer and longer because none of these acts can reach the level of impact compared to the previous main acts. 
      I agree about the new generation of fans though because the main targets of pop music obviously are teens and young adults.

      • Pg13247

        DBSK and BB are definitely 2nd generation groups, like SS501
        SHINee and 2PM/2AM are 2008

        BEG was 2006 I think.
        WG, SNSD, KARA all debuted in the same year: 2007
        2NE1, Secret, T-ara, f(x), 4Minute, After School: 2009
        SISTAR, Girl’s Day: 2010

        Obviously there are more groups that debuted but are not really well known.

        • http://twitter.com/clazzigirl BoBGirl

          I know. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough but actually I was talking about who were the active idol acts  in 2008, not who debuted at this time.

  • Anonymous

    People are always interested in new things. There´s wave after wave and it´s in everything. Fashion, music, architecture, even politics :-)) And it´s the truth that even the biggest passion fades away after some time (except my love for One Piece – I grew up with it and I have been reading and watching it for I don´t know, 10 years? – even my kids will be infected :-)) – Ok, it´s sentimental at the same time)

  • thunderandsmoke

    I think that Big Bang is really K-pop’s only hope of appealing to the overseas masses and making something of themselves in the future. They have so much respect in the industry, much like DBSK did before they broke up, that I think, if Big Bang were to dispand, I’d probably give up Kpop and I think the industry would take a major hit as well. SUJU is already kind of breaking up bit by bit. All that’s really left is SNSD, and I don’t think their music is quality enough to keep them sustained for the long haul. Just like the pop bands in the US in the 90s, all fun things come to an end at some time or another, and with how Kpop is structured, mostly quantity and less quality, It’ll probably be sooner than later. None of the newer groups are really getting a strong foothold like the older groups did, except maybe 2NE1. But another thing to think about is that there will always be younger generations, who like what’s popular and perhaps they are what will keep kpop alive. This type of stuff is really for the young, and I think as fans mature, if their groups don’t mature with them, they start to lose interest. Its also funny how groups of musicians in any other genre (say rock) can have longevity, but pop groups often disband in shorter amounts of time.

  • http://twitter.com/AmandaRenee480 Amanda Evans

    [About SNSD] They’re K-Pop royalty, worth tens of millions of dollars, with fans all over the world. But the thing is… you’ve probably never heard of them.”
    This is true. Nobody really knows what K-Pop is outside of the circle of people that already obsess over it/talk about it constantly. What’s really funny is all the K-Pop fans getting mad over that comment on Youtube, when it’s the truth. Even on the internet it’s the same. Unless I put in a search for K-Pop-related things specifically, I hardly ever see anything about it. 

    I don’t think K-Pop will last too much longer. It really is a fad and one I think is slowly dying out. The newness of K-Pop wore off for me quite a while ago. That’s not to say I don’t still enjoy a few artists once and a while, but there’s been nothing really great for a long time.

    • Corry Gao

      +1. It’s good that you can enjoy some of the acts. But I just can’t with their over duplicated electro-pop-auto-tuned craptastic that the machines of K-Pop made. Haven’t they learned from the doomed pop music in US market? They satisfied demand, but not desire.

      As for SNSD, they need to do different things if they want to stay relevant in the future (if they have the balls to do it ofc). Gain the street cred, get the respect you can get from industry ppl (worldwide). Try to win music critics like Pitchfork, since Billboard & other mainstream media is on the way to hell right now.

      To be honest, I discovered K-Pop after I watched a video in youtube from Wonder Girls visit to Billboard office for the Mash-up Monday session. I think they’re pretty good, I was very impressed. They did acoustic performance of 2 songs (their original song & a cover of Bruno Mars’), they actually played the instruments & sang. They showed their full potential. They won me over. I’ve been keeping an eye on them to this day. You can’t imagine how shocked I was when found out how crappy K-Pop actually was (is?).

      The US market is currently changing, the market is moving from the manufactured-superstars-made-by-labels to the ones with the real talent. I really hope Wonder Girls stay to this set (gaining street cred left & right), and maybe in few years we’ll see them topping charts again. As for SNSD, change your plan, step up your game if you want to win. The major labels are going to go through the apocalypse. Save yourselves, girls. I really do care about y’all, SNSD.

  • http://twitter.com/PhanTheHotness Jenny

    i’m with dbsk <3
    they introduced me to kpop and they are definitely the best
    i still love them, but then i also found b2st and liked them too

    but i find myself slowly not listening to kpop anymore
    i still do, but not as much. i find that there's really not a lot of variety

  • http://twitter.com/Oreleona Lǐwù (礼物)

    i think this whole conquer the world view is quite narrow minded because they have not reached…or attempted to reach..Africa..

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=585541978 Taryn Blake

      Clearly you didn’t see the episode of “K-pop Road Show” that featured a male Nigerian dance team…

  • xian1989

    I started with kpop when i first listen to u-kiss music… they are the main reason why i dig deeper to kpop then 2ne1 came along with great music and swag… i thought that time that im not going to love other bands but i learned to love some momentarily… but i don’t consider myself being in a fan clubs coz they are just making noise and irritating wars that i don’t wanna get involved… anyways, i just wanna commend all my favorite groups that i think made kpop entertaining… aside from i previously mentioned i also learned to love the music of Bigbang, Gummy, Se7en, SS501, Miss A, 2pm, Beast, 4 minute, brown eyed girls, FT Island and just recent Tablo, Sistar and Seo In Guk… i think they really make kpop lovely and swagerrific!!!

  • Guest

    very well-thought out and interesting article but i have a slight issue with the bit where you equate kpop and hallyu. hallyu does not begin and end with kpop. hallyu is and will always be centred around dramas and to a lesser extent film. these are the two genres that genuinely offer something different, unlike kpop which is really just plain ole pop sung in korean, and not surprisingly it’s these genres that make the cash, that do cross over and have longevity.

    do you think any one of the kpop groups that debuted this year in japan will ever be able to have the same hold over japan that yonsama does. he’s still milking success of that one drama from 10 years ago. jang geun suk is an even better example. his single sold more than most kpop groups this year, including some of the biggies like 2ne1 and 2pm. and he’d never stepped foot in japan before he released that. his dramas had and one of them was remade in japanese with great success.

    similarly, korean movies are the only ones that have crossed over, not just as an excellent brand of “world cinema” but a cinema that makes money in the west even with subtitles (the host), that hollywood tries to remake consistently and fails consistently (the lake house and countless other films), that has an internationally respected showcase (the busan film festival), and that has critical appreciation and awards (jeon do hyun’s win at cannes, kim ki duk’s importance as an auteur).

    kpop is the smallest section of a very large pie. it’s the one with the most glitz and glamour but it’s also the one with least amount of inventiveness, crossover appeal, and critical appreciation and the one that makes the least amount of money. it’s overhype and the hype will die down soon because if japan is any indication, kpop companies don’t have a clue about how to plot world domination, let alone achieve it. the korean government can sink all the money they want into promoting it, kpop’s primary and most successful market will always be korea.

    • Guest

      * that should be jeon do yeon, sorry.

  • yuka5470

    i love you dear..I really-really love you for saying it out loud.

    and i wish you could make an op-ed about DBSK. since their lawsuit (where i think it’s a bad timing, since since they split, K-wave was start booming) there’re not many people who knew about these fabulous men.

    and thinking that they’re just 5 justin bieber?? u got to be kidding me.
    people need to know about the GOD, there’s reason why they’re still hailed in korea, the biggest fandom who top DAUM for more half decade. true talent in there, full stop. no lipsync, full singing, which i still found rare in KPOP.
    u can find a group that can sing well, but singing and dancing WELL??

    • Guest

      “and thinking that they’re just 5 justin bieber?? u got to be kidding me.”

      There are several groups that are on Bieber level, again this is a time of quantity not quality in K-pop. But I don’t think I have ever seen or heard DBSK being compared to him (as a quintet, duo or JYJ). Image wise: Whether the person is familiar with mainstream Korean & Japanese music or not, upon looking at them they either think they are very handsome or bizarrely dressed. lol Bieber is seen as a typical kid, thought to be much younger than he is.

      As far as music style/performance goes I’ve heard them called the Backstreet Boys of Asia (and those Latino-Caucasian boys stood out amongst the other white bread pop groups for their talent).  I also hear Asian Chris Brown and Usher, or “oh those Asian boys are trying to be like Michael Jackson. They’re good but they’re no MJ.” But really who ever will be MJ?

      My point is even when somebody is trying to disregard DBSK because they aren’t western artists or singing graphically about sex and drugs, “mature” musical themes now-a-day, they site their superiors or original copies as the above mentioned hard-working artists with acclaimed certifiable talent and not just mindless popularity.

      Another group that I’ve never read compared to Bieber…Big Bang. My brother refers to them as the Korean B2K. B2K: early 2000s look ’em up.

  • http://twitter.com/PheonixiaJJ Echo

    I like Kpop for the music!
    I’ll still be waiting for good music after Jaejoong goes to the military…..and here to greet him whenhe comes back!

    • Corry Gao

      You like electro music? Try listen to Europe’s Dance Music, you will only get the best. Or general electro-pop? Try M83, Crystal Castles. Don’t be up too high to K-Pop Machine’s ass. Or you try listen to the older music, like Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, hell you need to try to listen to Billie Holiday & Ella Fitzgerald (’40s Soul music divas). Go listen to the good music too I guess, to balance things out.

  • gyu

    um, I’m the girl wearing that red playsuit dancing to ring ding dong in the video. /cries/

  • Bstar5

    It’s funny because the only reason I got into KPop was because of the little Inkigayo clips that used to come on before and after the KDramas I was watching. So with the KDramas, KPop Music Shows, and all the variety shows it was like discovering something fresh and fun. I agree with KPop being a fad as far as international fans are concerned. It is fresh and new for a lot of people in the begining but outside of supporting your bias and a few favs, the rest is getting old. I think the problem is there are only a few stand out groups and the rest just seem like they’re being churned out of some assembly line. I think the companies that think KPop as a whole could be popular in the U.S. are in for a rude awakening. In my opinion it’s the newness of the combination of the day to day music show competitons as well as the variety shows in which idols appear that gives KPop it’s popularity. None of this will be at there disposal when they come to the U.S. to promote. All they’ll have is some brief appearances here and there so they will definitely be riding on the strength of their song, MV, and image. One of the reasons Kara is so big in Japan is because they had all that plus the abilty to make the most of their appearances by connecting with their new audience in Japanese. The other issue is outside of these acts being Korean they really aren’t doing anyting new. The U.S. already had it’s synchronized dancing bubblegum electropop era. To a lot of people it will just be a rehash. There will be lots of criticism. This will especially be the case if their vocal talent is limited. No need for MR removed videos because there will be no pre-recorded vocal tracks for them to sing over; they will have to sing totally and completely live. At best, people might like a few KPop acts for a little while, but once the novelty wears off people will be done because that’s also the case with U.S. Pop acts. So with the list of truly stand out KPop acts being few and far between, it’s a wonder they even think there could be a Hallyu wave in the U.S. outside of a niche market that can only fill stadiums in just a handful of U.S. cities. It’s interesting to see their desire to break into the U.S. market when you rarely even see non-English speaking acts from western nations trying to do so. As it stands, I think the only acts in KPop that have a fighting chance are 2NE1 because they’re edgy and they can pull off singing in English quite well and G.NA because she can sing and dance, she has a sexy look, and English obviously wouldn’t be a problem.

  • Mitsuki

    My favorite line from the video is when one of the fan girls said, “I don’t understand their songs, but they have a lot of meaning.”

    • http://twitter.com/TheBlockB TheBlockB

      Maybe she meant passion

  • http://twitter.com/purplepuzzle19 Tina Lu

    can not say it better myself “This emotional investment that agencies and idols alike are so insistent on forging — may prove the be the downfall of K-Pop’s strong fandom as we know it.”!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i used to think that the kpop fad was ending in 2009/2010 when DB5K broke!!!! but now at the end of 2011, kpop is still going strong so I am not sure anyways. In my opinion, it’s definitely the end of an era but not the end of kpop yet!! and when DBSK/JYJ and SJ exit the kpop scene, then for sure i will take my exit as well. I don’t think i have too much longer.  

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  • Jason Statham


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  • Anonymous

    When will Seoulbeats go out of business? 

    Care to make an article about that Ree?

    • http://colourmesplendid.wordpress.com Ree

      I’m not sure what ignited your passive aggression. But I can assure you, not any time soon ;)

      • http://twitter.com/TheBlockB TheBlockB

        So we could basically say the same about kpop then

        • http://colourmesplendid.wordpress.com Ree

          You could say the same about K-Pop. But I’m not sure you could say the same about the K-Pop fad, which is essentially what the article is about. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus


            K-pop, as a style of music, will probably never die. Bubblegum pop in the US is not dead. There are still groups out there doing the same thing boy and girl groups were doing ten years ago. But it is far from the popular music of this time; K-pop will be no different in years to come.

            One day a mom might look back and say “Hey, I remember that song!” She might even dance to it. But she’ll never follow it as devotedly as she once did. It had its time and place, and that time has passed (for her). That will be (the current incarnation of) K-pop in 15 years.

    • Corry Gao

      She said the truth, Ree wants those acts to stay relevant for the next 2 or 3 decades at least. It’s all for their own good. Don’t forget before you have K-Pop boom, there were J-Pop boom, and all those boy/girl bands from US-EU.

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  • http://twitter.com/shawolxinyiMVP Xinyi Ong

    Actually, it’s kind of expected to be a fad, at least to me it is. Even in the craziest high time of kpop, people can leave the kpop fandom. Besides, the entertainments are pushing out more and more groups to ride on the kpop boom now, without confirming their talent is solidified, focusing more of quantity rather quality. At this rate, of course kpop will die out sooner or later. Butfor example, for alot of cassies who didn’t leave the kpop scene when DBSK broke up, they’ll wait for them, probably not like some crazy fangirling but still support them, simply cause they’re one the bands who came out on quality, not quantity. Kpop might die out, but there’d be still this small group of people still supporting their quality groups.

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  • Proud_piinay_chiic510

    To be honest, Kpop is really just like American Pop but in a different language. To me, it’s nothing but a guilty pleasure and I enjoy it from time to time. I don’t think people like Kpop solely for the talent but rather because it’s popular. I’m not saying all of Korean artists are untalented. There are talented ones just like there are untalented ones as well. I don’t think Kpop is any better than American pop or even JPop.

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  • Corry Gao

    Very well thought article. Just as much as I hate Pop music in general, I feel bad for those acts. Sure they win now, but in the future? Doubt it. From the boy/girl-band train in US & Europe music scene in ’90s & early ’00s, only Take That who survived the teen-idol curse. And it involved A LOT of dramas. Pop music should take note from Country (Americana/Roots/Folk/Bluegrass), Rock, & Alternative music. Look at the fans of these genres’ acts. They never leave, very devoted. Just for an example, next year, both The Rolling Stones & The Beach Boys will put new albums & tours as their 50 years (!!!) anniversary. Metallica just held one of their biggest shows ever as their 30 years celebratory. See? They survived through decades and considered as legends with big influence to today’s music (Mainstream & Alternative). Their fans have grown with them. This is what pop, esp. K-Pop here, need to learn. Don’t think about the money only, think about longevity and how you will survive through the ever-changing music scene.

  • Corry Gao

    If only the ones that make good music were highly publicized like these K-Pop acts. Go search Pony – Disturbance on youtube. They are a Korea indie-rock band, put out a debut album in ’09. Heavily influenced by The Strokes, and Morrisey. The most important, they make good music.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001437340522 Candice Lian Dela Cruz

    I’m not really a kpop fan and i think i’m the same type as ur friend who said kpop is a fad..but, i really like ur article >u< I don't even like kpop..but ur article is very well-written!
    To be honest! (pls don't hurt me kpop fans i'm about to express my opinion) I wish Kpop ends..and give all the other asian countries like China,Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, or whatever..a chance to have their part to get recognized..not to mention rock in Korea is dying and a lot of these artists are complaining that they are not getting the same ratio of attention compared to kpop artists get..
    I just think it's unfair and sad… because music isn't pop..it's art.
    :( forgive me if I hurt someone's feelings..

    • Comet

      I am new to K-pop.  A few months ago, I stumbled into a Korean drama called ” Your’re beautiful” and heard about FT Island, one of the few Koreans bands who plays musical instruments and can sing.    The drama was OK but it got me started to listen to FT Island songs.  I am wondering why K-pop is very popular in Asia.  I’ve never heard about K-pop before.   What about other Asian countries?  Fad or not.  I think it is a good think that Korean bands are popular in Asia.  I would love to see more bands or groups coming out of other Asian countries.  Will help understand each other and promote more cooperation.   Western culture mostly Christianity and European white  is different than Asian culture.  Diversity is good.  I love to hear more world music.

      • Ponkana Ace

        Yeah!! I super agree! Diversity is really Goood! :)
        I only feel bad whenever a good non-korean asian group or artist releases a really good single or mv..some k-fans would insult them and stuff..
        You should listen to Cpop! Thai-pop! Mongolian Pop! and JPOP(but it’s already popular but still good :))
        C-POP = M.I.C, HIT-5, TOP COMBINE, JPM, LOllipop F, Da Mouth, S.P.Y, Up Girls, iMe, SD5, J-ONE, JJ Lin, L. VOICE, and moreeeeee <3
        T-Pop = K-OTIC, C-Quint, G20, Candy Mafia, Swee:D, X-I-S, MIN, P.O.I, FFK, Rookie BB, 3,2,1, Waii, etc :)
        JPOP = D-Date, Yuya Matsushita, Kis-my-ft2, W-inds, Daichi Miura, Flower, Happiness, Dream, E-girls, Akanishi Jin, Perfume, Polysics, Sakanaction, Shota Shimizu, Jasmine!
        Mongolian Pop I only like Crush Bash and this other girl band..I think it's Extacy!
        lol (sorry for trolling xP) I was bored

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507824553 ICassie Gaemgyu

    I agree with you. I tried liking other bands but nothing comes close to my bias, and I suspect once they leave the scene, that will be the end of my liking kpop.
    Its sad but you are right. Its almost as if there is no sincerity in promoting the kpop idols’ talents for the long run. Everything is revolving around profits and nothing else. What is sad is that most of these kpop artistes are taken away (and it seems almost cheated) from an otherwise solid academic education. They are removed at a young age from studying and getting degrees and diplomas that will ensure that they will earn a stable income for the rest of their lives.
    What will happen to them once this fad dies, would they be able to support themselves when the lights are gone.
    Just how many MCs, DJs and actors can there be?
    The kpop industry needs to take care of them and be more responsible. Instead of just taking them when they are young, pretty and sexy, only to discard them once they reach their late 20s. This isn’t right. The industry has to acknowledge that they gained millions of dollars from these exploited youth.

  • http://twitter.com/Seah0 liping

    Why do people think that Korean Wave is a Fad?
    A lot of people who are Not into Kpop, K-films or Kdrama are all wishing that the K-wave will come to an end soon. They simply do not understand that K-wave is going strong for some of the most crucial reasons that they deliberately ignore, choosing to focus on the so-called fact that “because of their plastic beauty and handsome appearance”
    Here are the reasons that why K-wave is going strong:
    1. They are well-trained.
    Kpop idol 2AM Jokwon is well-known for being a trainee for 8 years and recognised for his vocal. Most kpop groups earnestly trained for two to five years to prepare for a debut. Try telling that to justin bieber or for the fact, any Artistes from other countries. These Kpop idols are determined to succeed and they used time and effort to pay for it.

    2. Wide variety of genres in dramas and films. Not too long ago, Kdramas are known as typical melodramas: male lead meet female lead- quarrel- fall in love- one of them died. But it wasnt the case now, some examples that i could list here include (supernatural- historical), ( revenge-modern), (investigation), (romance-historical) and (retro-romance comedy).

    3. The rise of Korean variety shows
    You will be surprised at how well-planned and creative these variety shows were. Names to drop included the internationally popular , and. Juz try watching one ep of any of these shows, its easy to get hooked. Plus the fact that they include guests who go all out in the games and quick-wit hosts who are humorous; its a winning combination.

    4. Korean Films
    Korean films are considered a different category from TV productions in South Korea. This meant the limitations and restrictions in dramas imposed by regulator are not applied on films. Therefore, you would find that the plots and the acting are very different. Some films to note here: , , , and . If you have watched these films before, you would agree that Hollywood is producing alot of trash these days and the Chinese film industry still has some way to go.

    5. Support from the government.
    Frankly speaking, i have never seen such a huge number of so called “film site” for the tourists to visit. I have personally visited the garden of morning calm for and the english village for . These are areas that the country can generate income and interest in the Kwave. Now tell me, which government support the entertainment industry in such a measure and involving the tourism board to list all of them out?!

    Therefore, please give credit when its due. K- wave has its place in the international entertainment industry and rightly so. Just stop trying to brush them off, you wont succeed.

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  • zante

    I come from the future relative to these posts. It’s like a time capsule:
    4-5 years later, and Kpop is more popular than it has ever been.
    The third generation has entered the market, and many first generation groups still thrive (Wondergirls reestablished themselves as a ‘band,’ and BB is expected to release a movie).
    And yet, I feel that your article is as relevant as ever.
    To address the use of ‘fad,’ I think I have to define ‘kpop’ in the world today.
    International pop and foreign musical artists are extremely popular in the US, with the exception of asia-based artists. The K-wave, as referred to by liping below, is branded media (with a rather ethnocentric-K) for the purpose of promoting and individualizing South Korea culture. Because of the Kpop industry’s convoluted formula of project development (investing in untrained children for increased control of both production and revenue), there is an emphasis on outcome, as opposed to ingenuity and experimentation.

    Kpop is a cookie cutter system. Which is why, as you said, the music is not its appeal: It’s the connection that the fans feel when an idol-character acts outside the prescribed mold (attractive AND quirky?). The industry is finally realizing this, and giving the fans personal videos now en mass. But this is why Kpop isn’t categorized as international pop. It’s not about music, it’s about branded-social-interaction [without the fuss].

    This use of virtual-connection to get revenue is nothing new. Youtube channels are fueled by this. But how do you get from the appeal of your favorite youtuber (*bonus: the appeal of them making a video with a friend of the same gender) to Lisztomania ft. The Beatles/One Direction/00’s Hits?
    This is up for discussion, but I would say evident passion (at least for the relationship between male performers and female fans). 19thc Franz Liszt (Considered the first sex symbol in the West), had girls bottling his sweat (with love) because he reportedly played the piano with such passion and sensitivity on stage. He was exposing himself for the sake of his art.

    These Kpop idols kill themselves over the course of an approx.20 year career for the sake of their art (money can be an art too). In companies that create, edit and produce everything, these idols are cogs that are used to exhaustion and then replaced.
    Their passion for success is clear as day.

    But Lisztomania eventually settled down. And the Beatles had a pretty short run.
    Even popular Kpop groups are vulnerable —
    Time marches ever on, and with it new ideas and points of popular interest.

    The music may be a fad on its own, but the true fad-nature of Kpop is due to the inevitable recycling of idol characters and group personas that sustain the industry as a whole. No matter how many groups are disbanded or created, Kpop is just copy-after-copy.
    SM’s pride-and-joy, the NCT initiative, to spread Kpop globally through the creation of culturally-significant subgroups, only further illustrates the industry’s constant ideology and refusal to change.
    “The system works, so don’t change it.”
    But it’s this reasoning that will be Kpop’s final note.