K-pop has been growing in popularity and notoriety, with K-pop videos getting millions of hits on YouTube and K-pop artists possessing very loud and proud fanbases globally. So naturally, it’d attract media attention. Arabic news organization Al Jazeera recently created a short documentary on K-pop. Though it’s not very long, I found this documentary to be very spot-on.

Usually when Western media outlets shed light on K-pop, they provide general information, like its popularity thoughout Asia, YouTube hits, or about how it’s going to dominate the West, but this documentary did more than that. It goes to explain why K-pop is becoming so popular, why people like it, and its positive and negative aspects.

For us at Seoulbeats (readers and writers alike), this documentary didn’t provide a lot of new information. Most of us are already aware of the intense schedules, the sketchy contracts, the spread of Korean culture, the complete company control, the lack of creativity and individuality, and plastic surgery that comes with K-pop. Still, it’s great to see such an accurate documentary about K-pop. It’s also great to hear from an insider’s perspective. Members of RaNia and their company’s president, Yoon Deung-ryong, give their takes on certain issues. I find it a little amusing how Yoon Deung-ryong called out other, bigger companies (I’m assuming JYP, SM, and YG) for being more concerned about profits than creativity and originality (18:00), partly because it sounds a little hypocritical. Hasn’t RaNia been producing earworm-y pop songs like “Pop Pop Pop” as of late?

Not everything about this documentary is commonly known to K-pop fans. I was personally surprised by how people called out their dissatisfaction with K-pop, whether it be about creativity or its chances for success in the US. Maybe this is because I’m not used to hearing anything but praise for Hallyu come from South Korea. Another surprise came at the end, when the documentary commented on the growing popularity of Indie bands in South Korea. As someone that loves Indie music, no matter where it’s from, I hope this is true. From what I’ve gathered about South Korea, you need to be really, really famous, like SNSD, to make any impact at all. I don’t see a whole lot of variety in the music scene, but maybe that’s because I’m a foreigner. I hope that Indie groups do become more famous, so that South Korea’s music scene becomes more diversified.

I’m impressed by this documentary. Are you?

(YouTube)