K-Pop: The Global Phenomenon

Part 1

How did Koreaboo get its start?

When I was thirteen or fourteen, I started listening to K-pop singer, BoA, because I grew up in Vancouver, and J-Pop was popular back then. A friend of mine originally introduced me to BoA, and a couple of years later I started expanding and began listening to more popular groups. I couldn’t find any fast or reliable resources on the Internet for K-Pop music, so I started Koreaboo, which was launched in 2010.

Given the sudden surge of interest in Korean pop music, you must have experienced some strong growth on your site.

Yes. When we first started we had a launch event in Los Angeles. As K-pop expanded internationally our traffic grew with it.

Korean pop music’s popularity is pretty established in Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. In your opinion what does this music offer that its predecessors did not?

I think K-Pop is super-catchy and the production quality is super-high. That’s really important. The music videos are high budget, nicely done, polished, and it’s just super-catchy pop music! This music has its own trends, and its own style. Even beyond that, there’s different styles within the genre, and it’s not done in a 90s style of music. They actually keep up with trends and what’s new.

What’s a general age range for K-Pop fans?

They’re very young! I think our demographic is 14-26. We’re holding an event called KCON, and I see postings by 11-year-olds! However, there are older fans in their early to mid-twenties.

Your blog is a great resource. How do you keep it updated?

Most of the writing is done by editors and staff managers. In terms of hits, controversy always gets a lot of views. We try not to report on controversy too much unless it’s fully researched. We make sure it’s 100 percent accurate before pushing out the information. Regardless, if it’s an SM artist, we get tons of visits. When we first released news of SHINee’s comeback, we got an enormous amount of traffic. It’s still one of our most read articles.

How would you differentiate your blog from similar K-Pop websites?

We differentiate ourselves by working heavily with the community. We work with all the communities. We put together two of the first K-Pop conventions with our SM town event. The KCON event is our first North American convention. So we’re not just online, we do a lot of community activities as well.

Let’s talk about the unprecedented popularity of Gangnam Style. The singer, PSY, has made more stateside television appearances than any other Korean artist to-date. What’s your take on the Gangnam Style phenomenon?

When I first saw it I thought it was kind of cool, but it wasn’t really my style of music or what I like. In the US it got started because it was a funny video. That’s how it spread – like most viral videos. In terms of trends, I don’t think it’s possible to sustain Gangnam Style’s popularity. I don’t think most people who like Gangnam Style will listen to other K-Pop.

For K-Pop fans who don’t speak or understand Korean, what do you think is the appeal of the music?

I like certain kinds of K-Pop because it’s pleasant to listen to. I listen to mostly ballads and hip-hop. We don’t need to understand exactly what they’re saying, but through music videos you can tell what’s going on. If it’s catchy it doesn’t matter what language it’s in.

Lastly, what kind of translation do you do for the blog?

We get entertainment news directly from Korea. We check with our partner website to see whether our translations differ. We often conduct peer reviews as well. So, senior writers will check up on other writers before we publish, and we try to minimize error as much as possible.

Part 2

What ignited your interest in K-Pop?

Wendi: It all started with Rain. I was amazed by his talent and also by who he was as a person and his struggles and rise to fame. So yes, I’m a big Rain fan. Through him, I learned about MBLAQ, a boy group he was training. It was just a natural progression into the world of K-pop from there.

Kris: For me, it started with the hit Korean drama, ‚Boys over Flowers.‘ I took an interest in Kim Hyun Joong, I later found out was the leader of SS501, a K-Pop group. He gave rise to my interest in Korean pop music.

You’re both working on an exciting site for K-Pop fans right now. Tell us a bit about kPOPfix.com.

Wendi: kPOPfix is a collaboration between Kristina and I. We both love K-pop and we know how diehard K-pop fans can be. So Kristina came up with this idea to take a citizen journalism approach to K-pop. We’ve learned from our own experience that K-Pop fans have a lot to say and contribute, and there wasn’t really an outlet for them. So we thought a site where K-Drama and K-Pop fans could put their thoughts directly out there would be a cool thing. That’s kPOPfix!

What does K-Pop offer that other music genres do not?

Kris: It offers fun, fashion, and excitement. It’s the only genre of music that I know that really teases the fans before the release of a new music video. Also, it offers an inside look into the idols‘ lives. It creates a more intimate level of entertainment. Not to mention, it provides hot guys and girls!

Wendi: I have never seen so much time and money invested into visual appeal as I have with K-Pop entertainment companies. Everything is cute and adorable. Aegyo is a very important skill K-Pop idols must have to woo their fans. Everyone is beautiful-the guys are so gorgeous, the girls are so pretty. In addition, I believe that K-pop is an interpretation of Western pop, hip-hop and R&B music, but with a very special Korean flare.

What’s your take on the Gangnam Style phenomenon?

Wendi: I’m really happy for PSY, and as someone who’s been following K-pop for over three years, it’s a good feeling to see K-pop finally receive mainstream recognition in the US. I wish PSY and any other K-Pop crossover artists the best. I would love to see other artists like Rain, Big Bang or 2NE1 succeed as much as PSY has as well.

Kris: I think it’s really cool and kind of crazy how he’s gotten so many views on YouTube. He’s blown up overnight. I’m really happy he’s putting the Korean entertainment industry on the map. However, ‚Gangnam Style‘ is not everything, and it is not the complete definition of K-Pop. There’s a lot more to it than the „horse dance.“

For K-Pop fans who don’t speak or understand Korean, what do you think is the appeal of the music?

Kris: I think it’s a combination of cool fashion, bright colors, young, fresh faces. Whether you understand what they’re saying or not, it’s the beat of the music. It can be played in any club in the world.

Wendi: I find that the style often used in K-Pop music is reminiscent of the music I listened to growing up. It’s sort of retro and has a different feel to what’s on the radio now in the West. K-pop speaks to your heart, not your head.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Elizabeth Shim

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