The Rising Popularity of K-pop


The K-pop group, BTS. (Photo Courtesy: Billboard)

Ellie Kim

     Korean pop, more widely known as K-pop, has become extremely popular in the past few years. K-pop idols, who are called idols because fans tend to look up to them, have been able to reach a larger audience as they became recognized globally from having concerts, tours, albums, and other merchandise sold and hosted throughout the world. A well known boy group called BTS even broke K-pop records and hit Billboard 200 No. 1 Albums, as well as attended the Grammys, something no other Kpop group has been able to achieve. 

     According to Billboard, K-pop began to be recognized in the US in 2016, when China decided to ban K-pop and Korean content in the country because of political conflicts between Korea, the US, and China. As a result, K-pop companies in South Korea began to send their artists to the U.S. to promote them and their music. Since then, the K-pop industry has grown more popular in the U.S. and worldwide as K-pop groups began collaborating with U.S. artists. One example is the girl group Blackpink, who collaborated with Pop artist Dua Lipa in 2018 and now has many international fans. 

      People also began listening to K-pop music on Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora. On Spotify, about 65% of listeners to K-pop has grown per year, Apple Music had a 86% increase, and Pandora had 182% increase in listeners of K-pop girl groups and 90% increase in boy groups. 

     Some people say that they especially like listening to K-pop because of the meanings that they portray in their songs. One example is BTS’s “Life Goes On” from their recent album, BE. “It’s about just going on with your life and that things are going to get better and kind of just like words of motivation, I guess,” said Sophomore Kelli Lung.

     K-pop is also known for the way idols dance choreography with their songs, whether they are easy to follow or intense and complicated. This has led to many people to admire and dance to their choreography. Idols have released challenges of their dances on TikTok, where people can dance a part of the choreography of the newly released song. This trend started in 2020 when Zico released “Any Song” and created a dance challenge with it.

     K-pop has not only just increased the popularity of their artists, but they also helped raise awareness and the popularity of South Korea’s culture and entertainment industry. People all over the world started watching K-dramas and learning the language.

     “It inspired me to learn, try to learn another language. ‘Cause I knew, I really only knew English, and very little Japanese before listening to kpop. And Korean is a very unique language, and I want to learn more about it,” said Sophomore Brynn Vincent.

     To listen to K-pop, visit Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, or YouTube.

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