K-Pop (or Korean pop or Korean popular music) is a musical genre and industry using a mix of electronic, hip hop, pop, rock, R&B, and other music. It began in South Korea. As well as music, K-pop has grown into a popular subculture among teenagers and young adults throughout Asia. There is a lot of interest in the fashions and styles of Korean idol groups and singers.
|Stylistic origins||Electronic • Hip hop • Pop • Rock • R&B • Dance • Bubblegum pop|
|Cultural origins||Mid to late 1990s, South Korea|
|Typical instruments||Vocals • Drum pad • Drums • Electric bass • Keyboards • Piano • Sampler • Sequencer • Synthesizer • Occasional use of various other instruments|
|Mainstream popularity||Mainstream throughout Asia. Expanding popularity in the United States and Canada, Northern Africa, Eastern and Northern Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.|
K-pop can now reach a much larger audience through use of the Internet. With Facebook fan pages, iTunes, Twitter, and music videos on YouTube, K-pop is becoming popular in many other countries around the world.
Entertainment shows like Weekly Idol show the K-Pop stars' comedic side.
Today, young people like K-Pop star fashion. The World Fashion Company spoke to G-Dragon from Big Bang, because his fashion is unique. Jeremy Scott, a well-known American fashion designer, worked together with CL from the K-Pop band 2NE1, to design clothes.
Other K-pop stars such as Baekhyun from Exo have started their own fashion brands.
Group dancing is one of the most important parts of K-Pop. Group members dance in sync. Fans often learn and copy the key moves of the dance.
Many different styles of dance can be seen within K-Pop.
In 1995, Korean businessman Lee Soo Man opened South Korea's largest talent agency, S.M. Entertainment, and set up the first K-Pop girl groups and boy bands. By the late 1990s, new agencies like YG Entertainment, DSP Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment were producing talents as quickly as possible.
The talent agencies train new artists and bands for the K-pop industry. To make sure it is successful, they take over every part of the young person's career and life. They can spend more than $400,000 to train and launch a new artist. Through this practice of apprenticeship, which often lasts two years or more, trainees are taught to sing, learn professional choreography, sculpt and shape their bodies through exercise, and study multiple languages, all the while attending school. In order to get this money back, the artists are signed up to long contracts, with little money being paid. These have been described as slave contracts. The band Dong Bang Shin Ki or TVXQ were given a 13 year contract which the Korean courts have said was too long and had too many restrictions. With CD sales being low, and Internet sales making only a few cents from a song, most money is made through tours and selling merchandise.
K-Pop is becoming popular outside of Asia, most notably in the United States, Canada, and Australia. In 2009, the Wonder Girls became the first Korean singers on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart with their single, "Nobody". The following year, solo artist Taeyang and girl group 2NE1 also reached the top of various music charts throughout the United States and Canada with albums and hit songs. In 2011, Big Bang's album Tonight became the first K-pop album to reach the top 10 on US iTunes chart. It was also only non-English language album in the top 100.
To make the genre popular around the world, K-pop artists are starting to work with stars outside of Korea. In the United States, Korean artists are touring with groups such as the Jonas Brothers. They are also working with well-known producers including Kanye West, Teddy Riley, Diplo, Rodney Jerkins, and will.i.am.
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