Is kpop popular in Australia

What is K-Pop? The ultimate guide for beginners

I fell in love with K-pop when I was at school - a type of popular music that originated in South Korea. My best friend at the time was totally into a group called Girl’s generation and infected me with their enthusiasm.

The more I learned about the popular acts in K-Pop and how the music industry works for that genre, the more interesting it all got to me. For all beginners wondering “What is K-Pop anyway?” Here is my guide to the who-how-what of K-Pop.

The entertainment corporations

In the world of Korean pop, K-Pop groups are practically designed on the drawing board and then artificially produced as in mass production. They go through an intensive training and rehearsal process so that they are perfectly coordinated when they are launched and take the stage.

The largest corporations in this area - comparable to our record companies - are the S.M. Entertainment made for K-pop groups like H.O.T, S.E.S. and Girl’s Generation, and YG Entertainment, which focuses on the management of K-Pop groups in the hip-hop sector.

The workout

"Idols", as the members of the K-Pop groups are called, go through intensive, hard training. Often they also adapt their look, their hairstyles, their appearance to one another so that a cohesive, rounded group is created.

That can go as far as cosmetic surgery. But how do you become a member of such a group? In the western music industry, record companies generally only show their interest when an artist has already been able to collect successes and fans online.

Then they might offer them a record deal. In the world of K-Pop, things work a little differently ... Young people who dream of becoming an “idol” apply to companies. They then go through a series of auditions, auditions, and other auditions.

The preselection is tough, and when they get a place in a new group, they usually rehearse for months, if not years, before taking the stage.

The K-Pop groups

The groups themselves are the most fascinating part of the K-pop world. More than 240 groups have made their debut in recent years. Many of them are extremely successful outside of South Korea as well.

There are both male and female groups and they tend to be larger than anything we are used to from Western bands: some groups have up to 40 members, such as NCT.

Some corporations even put together extra groups with many members, such as EXO, so that half can perform in South Korea while the other half touring in China.

Although Korean pop was originally a South Korean phenomenon, the genre has become so popular around the world that there are more and more foreign group members. Young people from China, Japan and Australia register for auditions and auditions. They too hope to become an “idol”.

The music

K-pop is basically something for everyone. Its roots are in pop music, but Korean pop is also increasingly incorporating elements from soul, rap, rock, R&B and even funk.

Since the genre has become more and more popular around the world, the music has also increasingly reflected the different tastes of its audience. (The best way to get an insight into the musical diversity of K-Pop is to study a playlist like this one.)

The music videos

Of course the music is important, but K-pop is also a very visual genre. The videos for the songs are flawlessly choreographed and produced with great effort. They always focus on the most popular members of the group.

The video for “I Got a Boy” by the band Girls Generation even won the YouTube award for the best video of the year in 2013, against competition from international superstars like Lady Gaga.