14 Apr 2016   kisa

Author: Mr. Osama Karkout

Personally, I don’t like pop at all. I especially hate K-Pop. I’ve never enjoyed its repetitive, simple and unoriginal melody, nor watching its video clips. I don’t understand why people love K-Pop singers and I don’t even like talking about it!

In Korea, music companies run the business of K-Pop way more than the artists themselves. The groups are even marketed as belonging to SM, JYP, or YG (these being the most famous). Says Daniel Tudor, author of Korea: The Impossible Country. “I feel that K-pop is too controlled; the big companies see music too much as a product.” Most people who have an interest in K-Pop actually have preferences to one specific entertainment company or another. Independent artists with some good talent are not as popular. This is one of the things I hate about K-Pop. It only requires young and beautiful boys and girls with normal talent, trains them to perform songs that are probably composed by the companies. It’s a never ending process since there always are high school students who want to be famous.

For a couple of decades now, K-Pop groups have been changing frequently, just like most pop artists, they have momentary popularity when they’re young and then they’re forgotten when the music companies discard them.

For my surprise, K-Pop is very popular even in Syria, my home country. I don’t understand why being pretty and writing shallow words and throwing in a few catchy tunes and dance moves can attract such a big audiences. That is another reason why I hate K-Pop. But to their credit the Korean entertainment giants have achieved much more than silly, easily forgettable music. The fact is that K-Pop is an hugely successful business. It has very popular in a growing number of countries and especially in the rest of Asia. The S.M. model is immensely profitable. Last year net income almost doubled, to $38 million, on an 82% jump in revenue, to $225 million. The company, which went public in 2000, now boasts a market capitalization of $660 million. Seven years ago, South Korea, with its advanced broadband and mobile phone infrastructure, became the first country where digital music sales surpassed physical sales. It amazes me! How teenagers of limited musical ability to begin with, are so popular in so many countries! Thinking about my own 13 year-old sister and her friends, K-Pop seems to appeal principally to teenagers and particularly young girls, probably the biggest market for record sales. For the fans, it’s hardly about the songs. It’s about a passion for singers and groups. Teenagers seem to have the need for a role model in “teenaging”. These companies are using this fact. but at the same time they make the music highly accessible for most demographics. They have the teenage boys and girls market covered with the sweet young girls and the ‘SWAG’ of the male singers. Cute and sexy dance moves play a big role here as well. They even have the middle-aged woman market with the songs and the dance moves popularity with aerobics instructors! They sprinkle a couple of English words to make it universally appealing, and Voila! You get a magical recipe of success.

Will K-Pop fade away one day? A Korean fan says: “No matter how many people believe that kpop will never go away & will last forever, it’s guaranteed that it won’t. I hate saying this because kpop is just amazing and I love it a lot but kpop is a fad and all fads come and go”. But I don’t think that the case is that simple. I’ll use probably the biggest fads as examples, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, etc. were everywhere in the world, everybody loved them & everything they released was a hit. These bands were everywhere, on tv, newspapers, even dolls were made of them. But with K-Pop it’s different. The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who actually came up with original good music in a time where people were crazy about everything new, and when that phase ended Rock itself faded away. It wasn’t about cute teenagers, and it was definitely not about companies gaining profit. For me, unfortunately, it seems like K-Pop will be there for a long time, just like BMW cars.

That’s rather unfortunate.

Disclaimer: This article was submitted by Mr. Osama Karkout for Write for KISA programme. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of KAIST International Students Association (KISA).  For more details visit the Write for KISA page.

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