The World Of K-Pop

October 8, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

K-Pop is a style of music that has become exceedingly popular in oriental countries. The music itself is a blend of eastern and western music, but the focus of K-Pop is the performers themselves. John Seabrook explored this world of music. Highlights include:

  • The stars are largely manufactured. They are selected at ages as young as seven and then trained in the art of singing, dancing, acting, and dealing with the media. They are then formed into groups of up to nine members.
  • The key to becoming a K-Pop star is to have good looks. Musical talent doesn’t have too much to do with it.
  • The songs are made to appeal to all ages. There are no references to alcohol, sex, or even clubbing – a staple in western music.
  • The founding fathers of K-Pop have published a manual that outlines what it takes to make K-Pop stars. Instructions include the colour of eye-shadow that should be used while touring different countries, and the precise camera angles that the stars should be filmed from.
  • The music is so popular that people go to Korea to have plastic surgery done so that they can look like their favourite idols. Some hotels have even tied up with hospitals so that guests can buy a package deal.
  • The companies behind the stars invest a lot into them and so expect a degree of control over their lives. One agency forbids its stars-in-training from having boyfriends or even water or food after 7pm.
  • There have been several controversies over the contacts that the stars have been forced to sign. When entertainment industries are young it is common for the owners to have all the power. Combine this with the Confucian cultural norms of respect for authority and you have the potential for heavy exploitation.

Read more about K-Pop’s efforts to break into the American market, the secret to their success, and more in the full report here.

Source: The New Yorker

Via: Marginal Revolution