Korean Pop is a growing global phenomenon

Korean Pop fans around the globe speak about their personal infatuation with this genre as well as the greater global change it has made.

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The Korean Pop fan-base is expanding across the globe, and fans are making a conscious effort to spread appreciation for this kind of music. University students in China and the U.S. have commented on how addictive this genre of music is and their efforts to get others hooked.

Judy Zhang, a 20-year-old who lives in Hangzhou, China, became an even bigger fan of K-Pop when artists began shifting genres within K-Pop. She feels many people view K-Pop in a different light as a result of this.

“Before the song ‘SoulMate’ by ZICO came out, the singer usually sang just rap music,” Zhang said. “So, when ‘SoulMate’ came out, it was a big change for K-Pop in general. The song is gentle and soothing, which surprised a lot of people and made K-Pop even more popular. I love how K-Pop singers are starting to cover a lot of genres.”

Lauren Wyatt, a freshman at MU and self-proclaimed K-Pop enthusiast, feels similar appreciation for the emphasis on a range of genres within K-Pop. She feels it plays a role in why they have such a large fan-base.

“You can see so many different types of genres throughout Korean Pop,” Wyatt said. “There’s so much meaning and symbolism within it as well. Like for every music video, there is always a different story or concept behind it. A group I see doing that a lot would be BTS. Often times, there’s literature that goes along with the concepts. So it’s really in-depth, and that’s what I personally like about it and I think that’s why a lot of people do too.”

Zheng Xiaoqi, a college sophomore from Beijing, believes the diversity of music within K-Pop has influenced the way many Chinese people view music in general.

“Korean Pop is culture shock to many girls in China since they have so many genres,” Xiaoqi said. “We don’t have an idol band in China like the Korean Pop bands everyone idolizes. I think that’s what makes everyone so addicted to them here.”

Similarly, Wyatt feels it’s easy to get attached to Korean Pop and thinks this might also be indicative of their massive following.

“‘Blood Sweat and Tears’ is my favorite song because that’s how I learned about them and that’s the first video of them that I’d seen,” Wyatt said. “My friend showed it to me and immediately I was hooked and dove down the hole. It’s really addicting.”

Wyatt believes K-Pop is making its way to Europe and the U.S. as it grows further. As for other places around the world, she feels there is a current fan-base that is aiding in the expansion of K-Pop.

“They do worldwide tours and they’re pretty big in South America and Asia,” Wyatt said. “Like in Brazil, they have a huge fan-base down there, but not as much in Europe or the States yet, but I know they’re only growing.”

Korean Pop is dominating the music industry in many parts of the globe and is expanding throughout Western countries. Fans have been quickly hooked by the range of music styles and appreciate the diversity within the genre.

Edited by Alexandra Sharp | asharp@themaneater.com

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