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Thread: The Hallyu Wave

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    MangaHelper 有名人 / Yuumeijin / Celebrity Asarii's Avatar
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    The Hallyu Wave

    Inspired by the conversation Destiny, Phio and I had over in the Choreography thread, I decided to create a thread about K-pop's emerging popularity in the West. For decades now, Western music (predominantly American ones) have had huge success exporting their songs overseas; artists such as Madonna, Michael Jackson and The Beatles are known globally. However, this is only a one way street since the average North American wouldn't be able to name a single musician from Asia.

    Flash forward to 2012: Korean artists in particular are trying their best to make a name for themselves in the United States. Many groups have appeared in well-known talk shows, but it wasn't until the unexpected boom of PSY's Gangnam Style that it seemed possible that non-English music could be popular in the States (and the rest of the world) as well. Here are some questions to think about:
    1. Do you think the popularity of Gangnam Style will open the doors for other Korean or Asian artists?
    2. How popular will K-Pop be in American/Western markets in the future?
    3. People have listened to English songs on the radio without understanding the lyrics so will there be a time where the reverse is possible?

    ABC's Nightline did a segment on K-Pop, which you can watch here:



    Quote Originally Posted by phio_chan View Post
    But it does seem like Asian culture -- Korean in particular, since they are so.. hyped up to promote it -- is getting more known at Western countries, right? At least girlbands like SNSD and boybands like BIG BANG are more recognized there, even getting awards. Although as far as I can tell (not that I'm very updated of it so I can be wrong) that it is not because of the choreography like in case of Gangnam Style, but more the music itself. ^^;
    From what I know living in Canada is that K-Pop is still a pretty niche genre even though it has been gaining popularity lately. The place where I live has a very large Asian population so it's more likely that K-Pop will be known here as opposed to areas where there aren't any access to Asian culture.

    I think PSY became a sensation because of his choreography as you mentioned. It was just so different, and people wanted to know what was so popular about it. If other artists want to be just as popular, they'd have to do something different than what's already heard on the Billboard Charts.

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    Global Moderator 九千以上だ! / Kyuusen Ijou Da! / It's Over 9000! phio_chan's Avatar
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    Re: The Hallyu Wave

    Awesome thread, Asa-chan. FYI, Indonesia is also facing a huge Hallyu wave.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asarii View Post
    Do you think the popularity of Gangnam Style will open the doors for other Korean or Asian artists?
    How popular will K-Pop be in American/Western markets in the future?
    People have listened to English songs on the radio without understanding the lyrics so will there be a time where the reverse is possible?
    Quite possible. You know, it strangely coincidental with what I watched a while ago. I was watching K-Pop Dance Cover Contest. The contest is specifically intended for non-Korean fans to participate in a dance competition with movements from popular and favorite Korean movie videos; Gangnam Style included, of course. I only managed to watch few: from USA to Brazil to Thailand. This shows that K-Pop -- Hallyu Wave -- is really spreading throughout the world very fast. So the answer is yes. Although I remember talking with Sai and how he disliked Gangnam Style (lol), I bet many others find it entertaining.

    For me personally lyrics doesn't matter; I'm looking for an oustanding musical arrangement regardless of words used. But with internet translations are easy, and Korean lyrics are also wonderful when translated. <3

    Quote Originally Posted by Asarii View Post
    I think PSY became a sensation because of his choreography as you mentioned. It was just so different, and people wanted to know what was so popular about it. If other artists want to be just as popular, they'd have to do something different than what's already heard on the Billboard Charts.
    The question is probably whether Gangnam Style is enough for these "newbie" to dive deeper into K-Pop. I know K-Pop mostly from K-drama I watched, then checking the songs released by the singers/artists singing in the soundtrack. That's why I'm not really updated with bands or solo singer; I didn't even know PSY previously.

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    Re: The Hallyu Wave

    Quote Originally Posted by phio_chan View Post
    The question is probably whether Gangnam Style is enough for these "newbie" to dive deeper into K-Pop. I know K-Pop mostly from K-drama I watched, then checking the songs released by the singers/artists singing in the soundtrack. That's why I'm not really updated with bands or solo singer; I didn't even know PSY previously.
    As far as I know PSY was "relatively" popular in Korea, nothing outstanding though. He has made several albums until now but Gangnam Style is his first REAL hit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asarii View Post
    I think PSY became a sensation because of his choreography as you mentioned. It was just so different, and people wanted to know what was so popular about it. If other artists want to be just as popular, they'd have to do something different than what's already heard on the Billboard Charts.
    Quote Originally Posted by phio_chan View Post
    For me personally lyrics doesn't matter; I'm looking for an oustanding musical arrangement regardless of words used. But with internet translations are easy, and Korean lyrics are also wonderful when translated. <3
    I agree with you Asa, the choreography is what made the difference. Neither the music nor his voice is anything out of the ordinary so it's this dance that made it so popular.
    It's a shame though that the song is reduced to it's dance, seriously. This is were I have to disagree with phio and say that lyrics do matter to me.

    I'm very curious how much people actually know that PSY is parodying the new generation of rich south korean children who don't have to work and enjoy their life in the high society. Gangnam is a district in Seoul (capital of SK) most known for it's luxurious establishment, the place where the rich and famous koreans usually go to. If you know all that you realize that his dance actually symbolises the young sons and daughters of rich famous koreans acting all high and mighty even though they never did anything to get all that money.
    And it's even more funny to see all the people dancing it even though they know nothing about the background


    To be on topic, I don't believe it will give K-Pop a permanent boost, it's more of a "short" wave PSY's song created. I wouldn't mind if I'm mistaken because I believe J and K-Pop deserves more attention but at this point I believe the chances are rather slim =/

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    Re: The Hallyu Wave

    Quote Originally Posted by phio_chan View Post
    Awesome thread, Asa-chan. FYI, Indonesia is also facing a huge Hallyu wave.
    From what I can remember J-Pop that was dominating airwaves in Asia, and now it seems that there's a gradual shift to K-Pop. (I don't live there so could you tell me if my random hypothesis is accurate? )

    Quote Quote:
    Quite possible. You know, it strangely coincidental with what I watched a while ago. I was watching K-Pop Dance Cover Contest. The contest is specifically intended for non-Korean fans to participate in a dance competition with movements from popular and favorite Korean movie videos; Gangnam Style included, of course. I only managed to watch few: from USA to Brazil to Thailand. This shows that K-Pop -- Hallyu Wave -- is really spreading throughout the world very fast. So the answer is yes. Although I remember talking with Sai and how he disliked Gangnam Style (lol), I bet many others find it entertaining.
    IIRC the reason why Gangnam Style became a hit was because K-Pop fans were sharing it on social networking sites so the fandom was there, but it took a while for K-Pop to become "mainstream".

    Quote Quote:
    For me personally lyrics doesn't matter; I'm looking for an oustanding musical arrangement regardless of words used. But with internet translations are easy, and Korean lyrics are also wonderful when translated. <3
    It depends on the artist for me. If I'm listening to an fun, mindless pop, I take preference on the beat; if I'm listening to a mellow ballad, then I pay more attention to the lyrics.

    Quote Quote:
    The question is probably whether Gangnam Style is enough for these "newbie" to dive deeper into K-Pop. I know K-Pop mostly from K-drama I watched, then checking the songs released by the singers/artists singing in the soundtrack. That's why I'm not really updated with bands or solo singer; I didn't even know PSY previously.
    I think there's a starting point with Hyuna from 4Minute who appeared in the music video. She was singing the spin-off version so newbies who can't get enough of Gangnam Style can see what she or her band has to offer.

    Quote Originally Posted by naruto-niichan View Post
    As far as I know PSY was "relatively" popular in Korea, nothing outstanding though. He has made several albums until now but Gangnam Style is his first REAL hit.
    Hmm, I didn't know that. I guess with the influx of more well-known artists, he's pretty low key in Korea.

    Quote Quote:
    I agree with you Asa, the choreography is what made the difference. Neither the music nor his voice is anything out of the ordinary so it's this dance that made it so popular.
    Yeah, the music has beats you'd normally find on the radio, but the the horseback riding dance move is pretty unique.

    Quote Quote:
    I'm very curious how much people actually know that PSY is parodying the new generation of rich south korean children who don't have to work and enjoy their life in the high society. Gangnam is a district in Seoul (capital of SK) most known for it's luxurious establishment, the place where the rich and famous koreans usually go to. If you know all that you realize that his dance actually symbolises the young sons and daughters of rich famous koreans acting all high and mighty even though they never did anything to get all that money.
    And it's even more funny to see all the people dancing it even though they know nothing about the background
    I knew that the lyrics were commenting on a certain lifestyle but was unfamiliar with the part I bolded... everything makes sense now! I love how things seem disjointed until the little bits and pieces are really put together.

    Quote Quote:
    To be on topic, I don't believe it will give K-Pop a permanent boost, it's more of a "short" wave PSY's song created. I wouldn't mind if I'm mistaken because I believe J and K-Pop deserves more attention but at this point I believe the chances are rather slim =/
    PSY signed on with an American record label that manages Justin Bieber so he may not be gone entirely. I guess we'll have to wait a few months to see if his popularity has benefitted other artists.

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    Re: The Hallyu Wave

    Quote Originally Posted by Asarii View Post
    From what I can remember J-Pop that was dominating airwaves in Asia, and now it seems that there's a gradual shift to K-Pop. (I don't live there so could you tell me if my random hypothesis is accurate? )
    From what I can tell culture from Korea is very dominating at the moment. Even their drama.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asarii View Post
    PSY signed on with an American record label that manages Justin Bieber so he may not be gone entirely. I guess we'll have to wait a few months to see if his popularity has benefitted other artists.
    Oh, that's cool! It kind of show how you guys are getting more affected by Korean culture too, LOL~ I just hope it won't be just because of the sudden hit of the song.

    ---------- Post added at 04:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:06 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Asarii View Post
    From what I can remember J-Pop that was dominating airwaves in Asia, and now it seems that there's a gradual shift to K-Pop. (I don't live there so could you tell me if my random hypothesis is accurate? )
    From what I can tell culture from Korea is very dominating at the moment. Even their drama.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asarii View Post
    PSY signed on with an American record label that manages Justin Bieber so he may not be gone entirely. I guess we'll have to wait a few months to see if his popularity has benefitted other artists.
    Oh, that's cool! It kind of show how you guys are getting more affected by Korean culture too, LOL~ I just hope it won't be just because of the sudden hit of the song.

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    I hate shovel 有名人 / Yuumeijin / Celebrity Doraku's Avatar
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    Re: The Hallyu Wave

    Quote Originally Posted by Asarii View Post

    Flash forward to 2012: Korean artists in particular are trying their best to make a name for themselves in the United States. Many groups have appeared in well-known talk shows, but it wasn't until the unexpected boom of PSY's Gangnam Style that it seemed possible that non-English music could be popular in the States (and the rest of the world) as well. Here are some questions to think about:
    1. Do you think the popularity of Gangnam Style will open the doors for other Korean or Asian artists?
    2. How popular will K-Pop be in American/Western markets in the future?
    3. People have listened to English songs on the radio without understanding the lyrics so will there be a time where the reverse is possible?

    1. I don't think PSY influence would be that huge. The reason is because I used to be optimistic in Anime's role in introducing J-Music, since Anime have been existing in the Western community since a long time ago, hoping that they would make J-Music more popular to Westerners, but unfortunately the effect is not as big as I hoped. PSY would be no different, even though he's very popular right now, the chance to "open the doors" for other artists seems very slim.

    3. It's totally possible, but I don't think it would be a widespread phenomenon. I believe the reason why English songs can be listened even if the listener does not understand the lyrics at all is because it's the number #1 international language. I cannot give a strong argument on this one, but I think since you're commonly exposed to English almost everywhere, you're getting used to it, thus when you listen to an English song you don't get the feeling of hearing "alien" sounds from the song .

    Quote Originally Posted by phio_chan View Post
    Awesome thread, Asa-chan. FYI, Indonesia is also facing a huge Hallyu wave.
    At least our country is earlier in facing Hallyu wave, even before Gangnam Style becomes very popular lately. It was in mid 2009, I think, when Korean boybands (and Dramas) became very popular here. I was thinking that girls are mainly into it because of most of them are good looking and going to be short-lived hype, I'm still surprised that it can survive until now.
    Last edited by Doraku; November 07, 2012 at 06:49 AM.

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    Re: The Hallyu Wave

    Quote Originally Posted by Doraku View Post
    1. I don't think PSY influence would be that huge. The reason is because I used to be optimistic in Anime's role in introducing J-Music, since Anime have been existing in the Western community since a long time ago, hoping that they would make J-Music more popular to Westerners, but unfortunately the effect is not as big as I hoped. PSY would be no different, even though he's very popular right now, the chance to "open the doors" for other artists seems very slim.
    Sometimes I checked on some international channels; I don't remember all but I'll use MTV as an example. At least once a week there are few hours dedicating to showing/playing Korean MVs, and they showed quite popular ones. Even though it's just once a week (which I think must've been more, and not to mention other channels), it shows that actually K-Pop has quite a large audience there. Or else it won't be aired. But where is J-Pop? As far as I know I haven't seen any specific program dedicated for J-Pop. At most it's integrated with Chinese and Korean songs. While I actually believed that anime reception in non-Asia is higher because it has been around the world way longer than Korean culture. I could be wrong, of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doraku View Post
    At least our country is earlier in facing Hallyu wave, even before Gangnam Style becomes very popular lately. It was in mid 2009, I think, when Korean boybands (and Dramas) became very popular here. I was thinking that girls are mainly into it because of most of them are good looking and going to be short-lived hype, I'm still surprised that it can survive until now.
    I'm still pondering what exactly was the trigger. It felt a bit sudden for me.

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    Re: The Hallyu Wave

    Quote Originally Posted by phio_chan View Post
    Sometimes I checked on some international channels; I don't remember all but I'll use MTV as an example. At least once a week there are few hours dedicating to showing/playing Korean MVs, and they showed quite popular ones. Even though it's just once a week (which I think must've been more, and not to mention other channels), it shows that actually K-Pop has quite a large audience there. Or else it won't be aired. But where is J-Pop? As far as I know I haven't seen any specific program dedicated for J-Pop. At most it's integrated with Chinese and Korean songs. While I actually believed that anime reception in non-Asia is higher because it has been around the world way longer than Korean culture. I could be wrong, of course.
    Which MTV you're referring to? because MTV is also divided into regions too, in case you don't know, and I assume that the one which plays Korean MVs is MTV Asia, so I can't say that it's a sign that K-Pop would be very popular in the West. I believe that J-Pop had its own era during.. I think it was 2005-2006, my memory is a little bit blur on this one, but I'm kind of sure that J-Pop boom has already ended since several years ago. It still exist, but it's not as huge as it was during 2005.

    Quote Originally Posted by phio_chan

    I'm still pondering what exactly was the trigger. It felt a bit sudden for me.
    Well, I think in our country it was Super Junior who brought K-Pop to the mainstream audience. If I'm not mistaken, they have their own TV show or something, and everything starts from there.

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    Re: The Hallyu Wave

    Quote Originally Posted by Doraku View Post
    Which MTV you're referring to? because MTV is also divided into regions too, in case you don't know, and I assume that the one which plays Korean MVs is MTV Asia, so I can't say that it's a sign that K-Pop would be very popular in the West. I believe that J-Pop had its own era during.. I think it was 2005-2006, my memory is a little bit blur on this one, but I'm kind of sure that J-Pop boom has already ended since several years ago. It still exist, but it's not as huge as it was during 2005.
    Ahh... That I didn't know. But I'm sure I've seen it on other channels as well, not only MTV, but perhaps they're regional as well (although on my screen it was not shown as "MTV Asia" but just "MTV"). Around that time, if it's as you suspected, I'm not really into Japanese things yet and so didn't notice anything about it. At least it wasn't so booming in Indonesia, I guess. XDD

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    Re: The Hallyu Wave

    Quote Originally Posted by Doraku View Post
    1. I don't think PSY influence would be that huge. The reason is because I used to be optimistic in Anime's role in introducing J-Music, since Anime have been existing in the Western community since a long time ago, hoping that they would make J-Music more popular to Westerners, but unfortunately the effect is not as big as I hoped. PSY would be no different, even though he's very popular right now, the chance to "open the doors" for other artists seems very slim.
    The road block of having anime introduce J-Music is that back when it was mainstream (i.e. the era of Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z & Pokemon) the theme songs were often dubbed depending on the country. I think by not exposing Japanese music back while anime was really popular, an opportunity was wasted to have any Japanese artists be well-known today.

    PSY is different because he made headlines during the time when K-Pop is already popular and trying to make a name for itself in the US. Perhaps no K-pop artist will achieve the status of Lady Gaga or even Lana Del Rey, but do you think another Korean song will get played as a Top 40 radio hit?

    Quote Quote:
    3. It's totally possible, but I don't think it would be a widespread phenomenon. I believe the reason why English songs can be listened even if the listener does not understand the lyrics at all is because it's the number #1 international language. I cannot give a strong argument on this one, but I think since you're commonly exposed to English almost everywhere, you're getting used to it, thus when you listen to an English song you don't get the feeling of hearing "alien" sounds from the song .
    I live in an English speaking place so hearing English lyrics is the norm here so it was interesting reading your thoughts since you have a different perspective. It's really a pity that this is a one way road since there are many wonderful non-English bands/artists around the world.

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    Re: The Hallyu Wave

    The Hallyu wave has been big for several years now. It all started back around 2006 I think, with the rise of Super Junior, Girl's Generation, DBSK/TVSQ, Wonder Girls and Big Bang, who all slowly started to spread out through the Asia region at first. DBSK/TVSQ had the most impact within the Asia region at first, to the point where it was being called by it's Chinese variation of its name rather than its original Korean group name.

    Wonder Girls has been active in USA for over 2 years now, they've got a couple of English albums released by Sony (Might have to double check that), and they've also released their own TV show and movie as well. Girl's Generation starting to exert a lot of influence in USA as well, as early as 1.5 years ago. SNSD, Wonder Girls, Big Bang and Super Junior all have an insane market share in the Japanese pop scene, SNSD are now releasing primarily in Japan, singing mostly in Japanese.

    Not to mention all of the Kpop festival and concerts worldwide, which have been occurring since a couple of years back, and even in Australia, we've had two massive festivals in Sydney, which sold out of tickets in less than a week. Where PSY has excelled in such a short amount of time, compared to the rest, is exposing the culture of South Korea to the world through merely one song; I mean, this song is INSANELY popular, he was invited to a music festival in Australia which tours nationwide as a major act merely for Gangnam Style. To top it off, he's been incredibly popular in S.Korea for quite some time now, and Gangnam Style is actually a song from his fourth album, which emphasizes that he's not just some new artist with an one-hit wonder; he's an established artist who just so happened to hit the jackpot with a really catchy song.

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