Music transcends language. You can enjoy music even if the lyrics are in a language you don't understand, which explains why K-pop is such a huge phenomenon all over the world. K-pop artists and bands have toured around the world, they've been on American talk shows, and they have fans of many different nationalities. So I thought it would be interesting to know if anybody on Cake is a fan of K-pop.
I myself have only really become a fan over the past year or so. I never got the hype behind K-pop, but now I must admit, whenever I listen to music there's almost always a K-pop song in my queue. If you are in the dark about how big K-pop is, here's one prime example.
Blackpink is one of the biggest K-pop groups in the world at the moment, and fans have been waiting for over a year for them to make their comeback. Their last single, "Kill This Love" was released in April 2019 and the music video on YouTube went on to garner the highest number of views in its first 24 hours, beating the record holder at the time, Ariana Grande. Over the next two days the music video continued to rack up the views, eventually surpassing 100 million views, the fastest a music video had reached that milestone (at the time). The music video for one of the group's previous singles, "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du" was the first by a K-pop group to reach 1 billion views. And as far as subscribers go, Blackpink has the highest number of YouTube subscribers among all K-pop artists, is number 8th in the world overall, and more impressively, is number one when it comes to music groups. The band have also performed at Coachella, becoming the first K-pop girl group to perform there, joining several other South Korean performers.
Of course, Blackpink isn't the only driving force behind K-pop's staggering global reach. The industry as a whole is reportedly worth over $5 billion, and there are many factors behind this hugely successful industry. One of which is the very first point I brought up at the beginning of this conversation - language. Music itself is already transcendent, perfectly enjoyable by everyone no matter what language is used, but the K-pop industry doesn't just leave it at that. Many K-pop songs are produced not only in Korean, but also in Japanese and even Mandarin. This multi-lingual approach to the industry has undoubtedly helped K-pop amass an enormous fanbase all over the world. It also helps than many K-pop stars are becoming more and more fluent in English, which helps them promote their craft to the Western world. Blackpink is a perfect representation of how being multi-lingual is a big advantage - one member is Thai, another grew up in Australia, while another in New Zealand.
If you watched the video above, or almost any K-pop video, you'll probably notice how elaborate the production is, from choreography, to costume design, to set design. This is another selling point of K-pop which accompanies the music, as the visual aspect of the performance is often times just as important as the music itself. The music videos aren't the only things that are extensively produced in the industry though. The artists themselves are groomed from a young age by various agencies and somewhat "manufactured" into the final product that they eventually become. Though this can come off as being kinda disingenuous, it does have some advantages, like producing multi-talented stars who not only sing, but can act as well. This only strengthens the fanbase of the artists, which can then translate to more global success in the music industry.
Have you ever tried listening to K-pop? Have you ever come across it at all? Are you curious to give it a try? Or are you just not really that into it?