What The Heck Is K-Pop, America’s Latest Obsession?

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The Independent and the Huffington Post are just a few of the publications that are calling it: K-pop has officially landed in the United States. K-pop—short for Korean pop—has been around for decades. It’s not a new genre in terms of music, but it is a new presence on the American scene.

Here’s everything you need to know before you start seeing K-pop everywhere!

10. This Genre’s Popularity Is The Result Of More Than Just Music

K-pop’s presence in the global music scene may seem like a new development, but it’s the result of many cultural events that have taken place in the past couple of decades. This global phenomenon, called the Korean Wave, is the result of South Korean culture’s increasing popularity since the 1990s.

9. Regional Popularity And Then Worldwide Fame
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That’s right: This explosive movement didn’t begin with Psy’s 2012 smash hit “Gangnam Style.” Korean television dramas and music first spread throughout Asia; once it established a regional hold, its popularity turned global. YouTube and social media have given way to a new era in which our world is smaller than ever before.

8. Speaking Of Psy…
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If you’re one of the ten people reading this who haven’t heard of “Gangnam Style” by now, it’s definitely time for you to listen to it at least once. The fantastically weird music video has had the most views of any YouTube upload since December 2012. It holds the record for the longest reign as YouTube’s most viewed video, too.

7. The Internet Helped K-pop Reach A Wider Audience
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Korean music had a tough time making its way into the American market until social media helped it reach a much wider audience. Today, it’s much more well-received.

“Around 8 years ago or so, it was very rare for K-pop artists to tour in the U.S.,” Paul Han told The Independent. Han is the co-founder of gossip site allkpop. “Now, it has become quite common.”

6. Industry Folks Predicted Wrong

Morgan Carey, a Los Angeles music consultant, told the New York Times in 2012 that K-pop had “co-founder significance here.”

Carey was correct, but only back then. Seven K-pop groups made concert appearances in the United States in 2013. That number doubled over the following two years, though, and reached 20 in 2016. 14 performances have already taken place in the first half of 2017 alone.

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