by Josh Befort
K-pop is a growing American music subculture group. K-pop stands for Korean pop, the birth place of this genre of music. K-pop technically means any music that is created in Korea. However K-pop has come to mean something more and tends to focus on specific Korean singers/groups. Even though this music is typically created in South Korea, many American artists have collaborated with K-pop groups including will.i.am, Ludacris, and Kayne West to name a few. In the recent years since internet has come to be a popular medium for the dispersal of information K-pop has grown exponentially. The use of the World Wide Web has allowed K-pop to be the 8th largest digital music market in the world. Rolling Stone described K-Pop as “genre fusion” a mixture of pop, rock, hip hop, and electronic music. K-Pop also puts emphasis on visual performances.
A lot of K-pop groups tend to be signing groups consisting of 5+ people in a group. Some of these include JYJ, Big Bang, and Girls’ Generation. One of the most influential popular K-pop artists to hit mainstream America is PSY and his hit “Gangnam Style”. “Gangnam Style” was posted on YouTube and became the most watched video on YouTube with over 1400 million views. Some contribute its success to the wacky video, but in major part its catchy beat proved to also be a major contributing factor. “Gangnam Style” is the pinnacle of K-Pops global achievement and recognition. PSY has even been featured in an American Super Bowl ad and is an easily recognizable icon of K-Pop.
A major reason that I am bringing up the topic of K-Pop is that it is spreading its influence to America. I personally believe that if mainstream America listens to more culturally diverse music, it might give rise to our own culturally diverse music. K-Pop has the potential to help mitigate and decrease stereotypes involving both Asians and Asian Americans. In general I think there is a belief that Asians are not musically inclined, unless its playing violin and I think that this stereotype is challenge by the idea of K-Pop. At first glance many critique K-pop for being too commercialized and robotic in nature. Many also criticize it for being uninspired and feel that it takes too much from Western influence to be inspired. However I personally like K-Pop music and find most of the songs to be catchy and in general they are fun songs.