147 COMMENTS

Legitimately good question here: a lot of people associate Korea with Kpop, and are interested in Korea because of Kpop. But how popular is Kpop in Korea itself, from the general public’s perspective?

So, let’s start off by saying that Kpop is popular to Kpop fans…that might sound pretty obvious, but the die hard dedicated fans are SO SUPER DUPER dedicated that it makes the whole of Korea seem like it is filled with dedicated fans. You can hear the shouting in the audience as they sing along with the song with their own special fan song during the pauses in the song (seriously: who even plans something like that? That’s dedicated hard work), and you can see the big lineups and soldout crowds for concerts. But that’s among the fan community. How prevalent, though, is Kpop to the general, non Kpop-Crazed crowd.

After all, not everyone is a screaming fangirl. Not sure if you noticed, but those screaming fangirls are mostly highschool and elementary school students, not really college kids, or working men, or mothers of three, or grandmothers and grandfathers. To the uninitiated, general public in Korea, Kpop is something that they’re more than likely aware of and very exposed to, but it’s not something that’s all too prevalent in their lives. A lot of people that we speak to our age aren’t really that into Kpop, and we’re talking about both foreigners and Koreans. They can’t name all of the members of Girls’ Generation; they haven’t seen B.A.P’s latest video; they don’t have a bunch of 2NE1 merch in their apartments.

They’ve HEARD a lot of Kpop, though, that’s for sure, but it’s more than likely unwillingly. Like we mentioned in the video, if you’re walking down a busy public area where there are lots of shops, you will undoubtedly hear buttloads of Kpop songs everywhere. Stores have speakers pointing outwards to the public, and you will hear lots of music when you’re walking. Question to those of you familiar with Korean law: aren’t there any noise pollution laws or anything? We’re not just talking about the music being played outside of stores: we’re also talking about those godawful election trucks (WHICH THANK GOD ARE DONE WITH NOW THAT ELECTIONS ARE OVER!). Anyhow, the point of this isn’t to complain about the noise. We’re just saying that you hear a lot of Kpop and definitely experience a lot of it in your lives, even if you’re not particularly a fan of it yourself.

Incoming Martina rant!
A mini-rant about foreigners living in Korea who absolutely loathe kpop: we often hear the complaint that Kpop is all that they hear blasting everywhere they go and that Korea doesn’t make “real” or “good” music, in which I would say, if kpop is not your thing, maybe you should try checking out the Korean indie scene in Hongdae before you brand Korea as only producing Kpop music. Or…check out our Sunday K-Indie segments *glitter screen with a rainbow*. Whenever we check out a local club to see new indie bands, we see a maximum of eight foreigners in the crowd (and that’s a really really good night). Most kpop hating foreigners don’t seem to be expanding their Korean music horizon, they’re just hating on the kpop genre and making no effort to step outside their personal music comfort bubble. This is obviously not all foreigners in Korea, thank goodness, but there just seems to be a type of anger towards kpop. If you don’t like kpop, just be like, “yeah, it doesn’t really do it for me” but people rant and foam at the mouth about how much they hate it. Did JYP sneak into your house at night, tea bag you, and post the pictures to facebook? Did 2NE1 take a huge dump in your coffee? Did Big Bang personally hack into your ipod and add their music? Did Super Junior because I naughty naughty with your mother? SRSLY. What’s with all the anger people! It’s MUSIC! Just MUSIC! People even leave sassy remarks complaining about how we ONLY make videos about their most hated thing in the world, Kpop. Really? Out of five videos a week, THREE are NOTHING to do with Kpop! But nope, Kpop is the devil.

Martina Rant Out

The point I’m getting at, is that if a Korean person went to Toronto to live for a year and they complained that Canadian music consists only of Justin Beiber, Macklemore, Maroon5, Chris Brown, and Taylor Swift…I’d be like, “but did you check out the bands playing on Queen Street?” Yes, ladies and gentleman, the most popular songs will be blasted in the mall or at major retail chains, while the smaller indie shops will play whatever music they damn right feel like. It’s the same for small indie chains in Korea. That’s where we hear indie music, both Korean and international! A couple days ago we were eating chicken at a funky little shop in Hongdae and we heard Sigur Rós, Radiohead, Groove Armada being blasted! Blew our minds.

That was followed up by a coffee shop with a really adorable Korean girl working behind the counter blasting “Guess who’s back in the m*therf*ckin house with a fat d*ck for your m*therf*ckin mouth”. Perhaps she personally loves Snoop Dogg’s “Ain’t No Fun” but she seemed quite taken aback by Simon thrusting around the coffee shop singing along happily. Yes, he knows all the words to that song. Oooooh my.

So, yeah! I hope that kinda answers the question. We can’t really say what’s the actual percentage of people in Korea that like Kpop. All we can say is that we hear Kpop everywhere as do most everyone else who goes outside of their own homes, but we definitely barely know anyone who’s an actual fan of the genre. I’m sure they exist: we just don’t have the best of luck in finding many people with similar tastes to ours :( Except you Angelina! You’re the best! Group hug!

Side note: umm…we’ll just put this link here at the bottom, if anyone wants to click it. We don’t think we have much of a chance of winning since we’re up against YouTube giants, but let’s David the sh*t out of them! Get it? David…and..Goliath…cough…

Nominate Simon and Martina for a social media award in the Shorty Awards!Nominate Simon and Martina for a social media award in the Shorty Awards
ToFebruary
  1. My two cents on Kpop.I enjoy listening to some kpop songs too,to be particular songs of EXO,few songs of Crayon pop,2ne1,Bigbang, NCA and MIB,Lip Service.The beats and melody of their songs are catchy and at the same time I like the dance steps. Koreans are very creative which is very obvious when it comes to fashion and concepts of their MVs or even in movies and variety shows.But let me just talked about Kpop.I’m amazed by the group EXO because of their concept as a group. Twelve members with “powers”,add to that their respective symbols and their very catchy MVs and dance steps.But here’s a thing, I’m a 1990s baby and grow up with old school bands like a1,Westlife, NSYNC, HANSON,BSB,911,PLUS ONE, SPICE GIRL,GIRL THING,STEPS and more. These Kpop idols are just like those 90s band it’s just that the former are the trends for youngsters now. Honestly, though K-idols are more hardworking,in a sense they practice for many years before debut,I still find Western bands more passionate when it comes to music. Some of the 90s bands I used to admire create their own songs.I do agree there are many Korean singers who are a lot better (music wise) than some K-idols, as you’ve mentioned Indie musicians.One Korean singer I admire is Ali.One thing I don’t really like about some idols are some of ’em are more concerned about their image or physical appearance.Say for example most girlbands would hide their face saying they don’t have make up or what have they.I respect the fact that they are celebs and koreans really cares a lot about their looks but still too much is unattractive.One reason I’m not also into kpop girlbands.Well,maybe because also of my type of music.If a girlband has a feel of Spice girls or Girl thing or have songs which are like that of Avril Lavigne then I might be a fan.I can’t deny many Kpop songs have catchy beats and dance steps and nice fashion sense but 5-10 years from now trends are gonna change and so are those preteens and teens or even teens at heart will prolly grow up and so as their type of music will change,maybe even their type of artists. Kpop idols who really have natural talents and are really passionate about it will for sure last long when it comes to popularity or whatever.

  2. My perspective on Kpop has changed over the years. I was introduced through DBSK and was hooked. I also thought it was the best thing ever. Now, I do still like DBSK and JYJ. Over time, I’ve found other songs by other artists. But, I’m not super attracted to these other artists. I have them on my iphone, but it’s because it sounds good. I know there’s all these rookie grops and new bands, but I honestly don’t care about 99% of them. I have friends who have a bunch of bands that have popped up in the few years. But, I feel like the odd one that still likes DBSK… I do enjoy BAP and EXO, but I don’t fangirl about them as much as DBSK. Also, with all these Kpop groups, I honestly can’t remember all their names. I don’t have time to figure out who’s who and who’s the maknae or the leader. I don’t care. Just make a good song.

    My bf has become more aware of Kpop. He doesn’t love it as much as me, but he does like a few songs here and there. He likes anything that sounds good.

  3. Yeah Crash is the first one I think of besides maybe Oathean, just because I like Oathean :P Their style and sound just please me
    http://seoulbeats.com/2012/06/discovering-korean-metal-a-rocky-road/
    ^That might help you out if you want to find out a little more about it… I myself can’t really help much, because I don’t know a huge amount
    I wish Korean metal had more available information >_<

  4. I watched this video yesterday and today I wake up to the news of Sistar’s stint on Mnet’s School of Rock where they ended up visiting middle to high school students and holding surprise performances for them. All of the students didn’t show a
    response and this caused the SISTAR embarrassment and heartache, as one can imagine. They ended up crying which isn’t very nice.

    I wonder do Kpop Production Companies understand how popular or unpopular Kpop is in Korea?

  5. OMG, B.A.P have new song coming out soon called Rain Sound :) I am so happy !!

  6. … A few days ago a Korean Actor, Won Bin was in a fake scandal with an SNSD member, I think Sooyoung and I thought it was kinda hilarious that his company’s response was that he didn’t even know who she was. Many fans seemed to be insulted by it, but it made all sorts of sense to me. He might know of SNSD and may have heard their music but that doesn’t mean that he knows who each of them are individually.

  7. I believe that whoever is not working on the video or uploading the video types up the post. But it is completely random. I still can’t tell which of them I am speaking to over emails soo… Yep. Good luck trying to figure it out.

  8. Lol. Welcome to the madhouse. I am happy to hear that older people are not ashamed of their Kpop love. Makes me wonder how many Nasties there are who are over the age of 30, 40 or 50.

  9. I was wondering what happens if someone is your age sunbae but your industry hoobae. Or vice versa. How do you address them?

  10. Well the same goes for people in other countries who love American artists like Beyonce & Lady Gaga. Other people may see it as a super special genre or something, but for many us it’s just normal pop music without anything really special about it.

  11. Ewha is the top women only univ in SK. Many girls go there to avoid boys….

  12. I think you make a good point about not being able to understand the language. I think that’s a big reason why I like kpop but don’t listen to or like most of American pop. Actually knowing what the lyrics mean often affects my enjoyment of a song. Like Nu Abo. Although there have been a few times when it made me like the song, like Exo-K’s Mama. I couldn’t get over the Engrish, but then I looked up the English translation and was really surprised at how thoughtful and coherent the song is.

    • Yeah, that’s also my reason why I rarely look up the lyric (not only for Kpop but other genres as well) unless I really like the song. If knowing what the lyric means I can enjoy the song more, that’s good. But if it will make me less interested in that song, I better stay away from it.

  13. Ambos dijeron en un video anterior (no recuerdo ahora cual) que no se puede beber del grifo en corea. y sobre lo de beber del grifo en españa no es del todo cierto… yo soy de canarias y por lo menos en gran canaria no se puede y ahora que estoy estudiando en valladolid la verdada es que mucha gente aqui tampoco bebe del grifo por que la verdad esque muchas veces sabe mal e incluso le sienta mal a algunos.

    • buf no te preocupes yo me acuerdo porque lo vi hace poco y porque sale en algunos programas (como wgm y running man) y me llamó la atención… ;)

      La verdad es que a mi tambien me extrañó saber que no se bebe del grifo en toda la peninsula. suponía que nosotros en canarias eramos los únicos (aunque creo que en tenerife si se bebe del grifo)

  14. Another TLDR question:
    You mention how much you enjoy Korean Dramas. Just wondering do you need to watch with English subtitles to get the full storyline? Which is is more difficult; speaking, interpreting, reading or writing Korean? Thanks guys….

  15. he was in my dream once!!! not too long ago!!
    he was one of my teachers…and that’s all i remember!!! ahaha!!

  16. Hello simon and martina !

    I wanted to know does korean channels broadcast a lot of foreign movies, series or programs. And if it’s the case, how korean people react to them ?

  17. I’ve always heard when you visit another country you shouldn’t drink water from the tap, at least not until your body gets used to the diseases in the country. But I’m curious about the milk thing. You don’t put milk in the fridge right away in Spain? I know our milk in the USA will go bad really quick if you don’t keep it in the fridge so I’m curious how they do that in Spain. We do have some little milk containers, like ones meant for little kids to drink, that don’t have to be refrigerated right away. But our big cartons absolutely do need to or they’ll go bad.

    • here in spain you can buy “fresh” milk wich has to be in the fridge and last like 2 days or so and you can buy treated milk in cartons (pasteurized and sterilized or something like that) that last like a lot of months (don’t know like 4 to 6 or so) and while they’re closed they don’t need to be refrigerated. most people buy the last one cause it’s a lot cheaper (sorry for the eglish)

  18. i actually wasn’t surprised that Busker Busker won cos i knew they were huge there
    …..how?…..i don’t know….maybe you guys said it before!
    i don’t know anything about rookie groups and i can’t even be bothered to check them our cos there are so many!! i’ve only listened to BAP and EXO!! but i don’t fangirl over them!!

    oh my gosh Martina i’m so with you on the hating kpop thing!!!!
    why must people HATE it!!!?? and i ask the same thing!! (sorta) but i usually say something along the lines of ‘did they hurt you in any way?’ or ‘ did they punch you in the face?’ like seriosuly doesn’t make sense how much hate people have towards kpop!!! like why so negative in life!!!

    oh i love hearing a deep voiced fanboy (fanman?) shout out a SHINee members name!!!

    CONGRATS on getting nominated!!!

  19. I listen to metal too xD awkwardly mixed taste in music.

  20. Thank you Martina!! I completely agree with you on the whole rant thing! I know one person who, whenever I talk about K-Pop with a friend, would start saying how much she thinks the groups suck and how they can’t sing and blah blah blah. And yet, she has never listened to any K-Pop songs.Then she would complain about how she felt left out of the conversation, even though I’d try to include her without her having to actually hear the song. It seems like people are incredibly childish when it comes to what type of music others listen to. In my mind, if you like the song then great! If you don’t then you don’t. But to actually say that a certain genre sucks without ever listening to it makes it seem as though … I don’t know… really immature. It’s like at least listen to a few songs before speaking about how much the genre sucks.

  21. TELL US ABOUT YOUR GHOST ROOM! Please~ ^_^

  22. Holy cats! I haven’t even watched the video cause I should be working *ahem! yes Boss this is…umm research? Well, I know that Kpop technically doesn’t have anything to do with my job but you never know if one of B.A.P would decided to come to college here…”

    Oh where was I? Oh yeah I haven’t watched the video yet but just the post had me literally choking on laughter (I gotta stop eating while reading your posts!).

    “Did JYP sneak into your house at night, tea bag you, and post the pictures to facebook? Did 2NE1 take a huge dump in your coffee? Did Big Bang personally hack into your ipod and add their music? Did Super Junior because I naughty naughty with your mother?” cracked me up and was what caused me to choke. That and my mind’s picture of Simon dancing around in a cute little coffee shop to Snoop Dogg and I was gone!

    I’ll be back after I get home and watch the video.

  23. This question has to be answered!!!!

  24. Wow Finnish music! I’m from Finland :D (sorry this comment is totally irrelevant)

    • I don’t know if it’s as great as you make it out to be.. Maybe I’m just too used to it :)
      Where are you from, if you don’t mind me asking?

      • I’m from the States….
        I’ve lived in two of them and traveled to several and I still dislike it
        I just need to move to a big city
        No more medium sized cities/middle of nowhere for me >_<

        • I know what you mean, Finland doesn’t even HAVE big cities >.< The capital which is the largest city has a population of around half a million, and I don't even live anywhere near there -_- Maybe that is why I love travelling abroad. On that note, I just found out that my school is arranging a trip to Shanghai this spring and I get to go! *excited*

        • Wow that sounds really cool, I hope you get to go! ^^ I’ve been on a language course once, in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was really great!
          Have you studied Korean for a long time? I only know a few words…

        • I’ve studied for about 8 months now ^^
          저는 더 빨리 배우고 싶어요~
          Google translate should work just fine for that ;)

        • Google did work, and I actually understood a little of it myself! ^^ Since I know how to read Korean (which is very useful since I don’t know enough of the language to be able to write anything…)

        • you should use talk to me in korean if you don’t, because it’s really helpful ^^

        • I’ve heard about it before, should probably give it a try when I have time ^^

  25. lol you don’t even know! LMFAO I’m in that same boat.

  26. This tl;dr reminded me of a…not so cool experience I had, about a year ago. Someone started shouting at me, saying I was a ”stupid girl who has selfesteem problem” and that I was using Kpop as porno material… I mean, c’mon, I’m a 20 year young adult who seeks culture in every form, how dear you say that to me! -__-‘ Unfortunatly, I started to get afraid to listen kpop in public…but, hey! On a brigther side, Psy’s Gangam Style kind of changed it. ^^

    My question is: what’s the average age of the Nasties? Since you said kpop fans in Korea were mostly young, I started to wonder about international fans and your fanclub. :D

    • Haha! Thanks a lot for your answer! :D I totally understand why you love both group, they are so ”spesher”, it’s hilarious to see them! XD

    • From what I have seen Nasties range widely in ages but it seems that most of them are late teens to early 20s with a few who are older. It is funny how I have to categorize myself into the older category. I still feel young. There are also people who may be parents or even grandparents who watch EYK as a family.

  27. you should come to sweden, we have a club that plays only kpop~~~

    question: martina mentioned that korean people listen to international music: any particular kind? is it the “top 40″ or are there any obscure bands that get played a lot in korea (maybe kinda sorta like rookies being well-known to the “internet community” of kpop, even though they aren’t really that popular)

  28. “Did Super Junior because I naughty naughty with your mother?”

    WHY U SO FUNNY XD i laughed so much that i scared my cat :’)

    i knew that not everybody is a dedicated kpop fans among foreigners (and native population of course) but i didn’t know that some hate it so much :s and of course kpop is not the unique kind of music -__-” there are also great hip hop stages, soul and jazz singers, rock bands…

    • In general I find no matter where you go there is a form of music that people ‘ hate’. In the West many people hate modern pop music, rap and hip hop and Country and Western. Hilarious fact, in my country, which is in the Caribbean, Country and Western is really popular with people my parent’s age and Christmas is not Christmas unless the radio stations play Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers Christmas album.

  29. In my case it could be said I listen to kpop instead of Top 40 here in the States. I’m not a fan of popular music here, I strongly dislike the remotely superficiality of it. Talk of hoes, bling, alcohol and sex (I only allow bling/swag from GD). Learning about Kpop has lead me to appreciate how hard those artist work to pursue their dreams and continue to work for it not expecting it to just be handed to them. They appear more humble.

    I love the peppy up beat feel of kpop, love the ballad sounds of OST’s and the overall fun of it. Truth though, I only have maybe ten kpop groups I really like, love would be five, then a scattering of random songs I like. My real genre of music is indie rock, alternative 90’s music, a smattering of country/folk music, with a giant helping of Josh Groban. My taste is a hodgepodge, and I truthfully have always expecting more people to be that way, outside of the younger generation who is still learning their footing in the music world.

    • I agree. After I started listening and began following many artists I noticed how they’re always talking about their fans and appreciate what they give them as gifts. I’ve never really seen any artist out here who would take food and blankets and stuff from their fans with such appreciation. Many people here in the States want things handed to them & don’t usually have to struggle too hard to become a singer. I’ve seen how hard it is for a K-pop idol to even become an idol. They waste away half of their childhood to train in order to be the best singer/dancer/MC/actress that they can be because that’s their dream.
      I listen to 80s/90s R&B, Country(love me some Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood), some pop(I like Katy Perry & Demi Lovato) as well as K-pop. Though people think all I do is listen to K-pop when I love all types of music if I like it.
      I don’t know many Top 40 artists here in the States, but that’s because I don’t find most of it interesting.

  30. I love the way you compare kpop to the top 40’s in North America…or well anywhere. You hear it shopping, you might like some, but not everyone knows everything about it other than possibly teenagers. I’m sure people looking at English popular music think the same way, that we all love Beebs…and we don’t. I don’t personally know anyone who does.

    Honestly, I’ve recently made a Korean friend and I get the feeling from her the she doesn’t know kpop. She
    knows who Big Bang and DBSK are, but not much else. She knows K.Will, but I personally don’t see him as kpop, even if kpop introduced me to him. She loves OST’s and
    musicals, she’s closer to 40, which might explain it. I’m personally in my early 30’s.

    I have a kpop love, but in all honesty it is for a select few bands/singers that I’ve found an attachment to and took the time to learn about. Outside of that my music focus is indie rock, alternative and a lot of 90’s music, since that was the music I listened to when I was younger. I’m not a fan of current American pop music, but I love the peepy more danceable not about hoes, alcohol or bling kpop music (I make the bling exception for GD). Kpop is fun, and sometime you just need some fun music to chase the grumpies away.

  31. Martina’s rant is my rant about pop music in general. I have an unabashed love of everything pop and to see people turn their noses up to it in such a nasty way is really irritating. Yes, you may not like this kind of music but that does not give you permission to completely bash/dismiss it. All music has its value, regardless of how “manufactured” it is.

  32. I believe the thing with not being a really big fan of your own
    country’s music is all over the world. I for sure don’t really like my
    country’s music, ‘thus I search for something different (at least that’s
    how it sounds to my ears) and I do find it in K-Pop and USA markets. It
    actually wasn’t that surprising, but more like a realization how we can get easily confused with watching too much dramas (where, I believe, many things are exaggerated over the top. Not in every drama!), knowing only the view point we get from the Internet…

  33. I always hated listening to one radio station cause it always played the same top 10 songs over… and over… and over…. (being at work for 8 hours and hearing the same song 10 times got me close to a breaking point..-__-). Then one day I heard them play PSY and I got so excited…. then was confused…. then was worried they were going to make me hate him too! :S…… (lol never happened ^.^ )

  34. TLDR Question: When did you guys become a fan of Kpop? Did you become a fan after or before you both got married? (Christine Phoenix, Arizona.)

  35. I think, it’s the same for every nation. I, for example, don’t know my native Russian music. Yes I know pretty much songs and singers, but listen mostly korean and american music.
    If somebody will show me a picture of a singer I can’t recognize him or her, the same for melody.
    It is normal for people not to know their own artists, ’cause they already live in this culture. But they want to know another, unknown culture, and try to learn it more detailed than his own culture.

  36. “We’re not just talking about the music being played outside of stores: we’re also talking about those godawful election trucks” we all encounter phonic polution… some, more than others = . = (don’t worry you’re not alone)

    “they’re just hating on the kpop genre and making no effort to step outside their personal music comfort bubble.” well that’s because there can’t be a world full of “light” wizards, there have to be dark wizards and muggles as well…

    Hope you’re ok and things have gotten better!

    *big hugs*

    ♥♥♥♥

  37. Question! I’m not sure whether this will get noticed or even have thumbs up but oh well~ Anyways, people kept telling me NOT to listen to KPOP as for some reason it’s part of the illumanati which I really don’t believe. And what really intrigued me was that it was mainly big groups like for e.g. BB, GG and SJ that gave off that vibe. What your thoughts on this and has issues like this been risen up in South Korea? :)

    • So you’re saying that they said that kpop is a “purported conspiratorial organization which is alleged to mastermind events and control world affairs through governments and corporations to establish a New World Order.” (via Wikipedia) ? if that is so, that’s the biggest ************ I’ve ever heard O.o

      • I’ve never said that they were :< I'm just simply asking what were S&M's thoughts about it or whether have they across it and their opinions about it. And bytheway I quoted 'I really don't believe' that KPOP is part of the illumanati.

        • I remember them answering a comment about that and saying it was bullshit.

        • Yeah sorry I edited my comment … I actually wanted to say “so you’re saying that they said” just can’t believe ppl would come up with such ideas that’s all… wasn’t blaming you…

        • It’s a bit weird actually, they’re just saying that in some MV’s, mainly SM’s MV’s, the idols show gestures that would be used in illumanati or illumanati references are shown somewhere. I remember me researching about it and one example that I came acros was EXO-K’s Mama. But of course, I don’t really believe them :)

        • I bet they didn’t even check the English translation of their lyrics

        • Exactly :/ Can’t blame them though, what you is what you get

  38. I think, it’s the same for every nation. I, for example, don’t know my native Russian music. Yes I know pretty much songs and singers, but listen mostly korean and american music.
    If somebody will show me a picture of a singer I can’t recognize him or her, the same for melody.
    It is normal for people not to know their own artists, ’cause they already live in this culture. But they want to know another, unknown culture, and try to learn it more detailed than his own culture.

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