Korean pop is newly recognized music genre


'Seventeen' is one of the most widely listened to K-Pop groups.

Nina Garcia, Staff Writer

Teenage fangirls and boys around the globe are beginning to swoon over Korean pop groups.

The genre of Korean pop, also known as ‘K-Pop’, is taking off globally. With the help of social media of course, web sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Billboard, and iTunes all go hand-in-hand in helping this genre become mainstream. Multiple groups are charting on Billboard and iTunes here in America due to the recent launch of Apple Music.

Apple Music’s launch, on Thursday June 30, finally allows K-Pop fans to download and stream all the music they’ve been waiting to hear. The launch includes some of the most popular groups, including 9Muses, EXO, Girl’s Generation, Super Junior, BIGBANG, 2NE1, and many more.

Sonos CEO John MacFarlane says, “You can listen to terrestrial radio [on the Internet], and that’s the biggest replacement, but it’s not the same. So with Apple launching a free global digital radio service, that really opens up that whole category.”

In addition to Apple Music, some K-Pop record labels are teaming up with services like Spotify to quickly stream their music upon release. A few artists, like Girl’s Generation, have only released small amounts of their music here in America, and groups, like Red Velvet, had an artist page in iTunes but no music included. That has since changed due to popular demand.

Despite Apple Music and Spotify only including the most popular groups, numerous fans of the “newly discovered” genre have taken it upon themselves to do some research of their own. The dedicated K-Pop fans are finding smaller groups, and even solo artists, that they now listen to nonstop. Whether these groups are discovered on purpose, through Google or Twitter, or on accident, many are suggested to viewers on YouTube, and people are becoming obsessed.

Most people, when questioned whether or not they like, dislike, or have an opinion on K-Pop, some explain that they enjoy the new sound this music has brought to them. “It’s different and brings something fresh to the music industry,”Alyssa Kerby, a new fan of the genre says. “Basic pop songs are getting boring.” Many also state that they have little to no opinion on the topic. It is most likely that they have yet to hear any songs from the genre.

Very few, however, said they dislike K-Pop. Most of people’s reasons being that they don’t know what is being said, since the songs are sung in Korean. This makes it hard to connect with the music. “When I listen to music I pay close attention to the lyrics,” Allison Budgell, a critic of K-Pop says. “I can’t do that with Korean music considering I don’t speak Korean.”

Some of the more popular groups mentioned by the people interviewed include BTS (Bangtan Boys), EXO, Mamamoo, and Infinite. The most frequently said group, however, being Seventeen. The group consists of a total of thirteen members, S.coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, DK, Mingyu, The8, Seungkwan, Vernon, and Dino. The group was debuted just recently in 2015 by releasing teasers for their reality TV show, Seventeen Project: Big Debut Plan.

Several people who are familiar with this phenomenon might agree that these newly created and still growing K-Pop fanbases are even more dedicated and obsessed than Justin Bieber or One Direction fans. Not only do they buy the groups’ music, but they watch all of their music videos, YouTube videos, and even attempt to learn the choreography to songs. Many fans also watch Korean TV shows, which star their favorite artists and groups, like Seventeen’s show.

Many fans who attended KCON, a festival featuring several K-Pop artists held in Los Angeles and New York, even wore beauty products and clothes that mimicked their favorite singers. Michaela McDonald, a 21-year-old student from Long Island, styled her hair in a way that her idol does and covered her face in a white powder. Fans claim that this shows their appreciation for their idols.

The fans of this newly recognized music genre have definitely made it clear that they completely adore the Korean heartthrobs. Many, even ones that only speak English, learn their songs and memorize them. The fandoms are surely growing in size and gaining more and more crazy fans everyday. This is the start of a whole new era in the music industry.