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How Popular is Kpop in Korea?

January 9, 2013


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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



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