According to Google Trends, interest in K-Pop started to boom in early 2011. Since then, its popularity has skyrocketed. While it’s fascinating to see the growth of the industry over the years, it’s even more interesting to look at how K-Pop has become one of South Korea’s biggest exports.
I am going to begin with a wild claim. I believe at least 30% of the people who listen to K-Pop on a regular basis actually have no thorough understanding of Korean, which is extremely impressive for 2 reasons.
First, it really reinforces the idea that music is a universal language. More importantly, it proves that Korean pop music is actually well-produced. I mean, if it isn’t for that super addictive chorus, why would you constantly go back and listen to more despite your unfamiliarity with the language?
Also, let’s not forget about the memorable choreography that some of the songs have. A perfect example of this is the “Gangnam Style” phenomenon that happened back in 2012.
It’s Well Strategized
If you have been a K-Pop fan for a while, you should notice something pretty interesting — K-Pop idols are often put into groups. Believe it or not, this is actually a planned technique. This may sound like nonsense at first, but if you really think about it from a marketing point of view, it will make sense.
Here’s an example. Imagine a clothing store that only sells 2 types of products — bundled and non-bundled clothing. With the bundled version, you get to have a variety of styles in a single package. Meanwhile, the non-bundled only offers one style. Assuming that pricing is not a factor, people will more likely purchase the bundled version, because you will end up with a lot more variety in the end.
The same theory can be applied back to the K-Pop world. People are more easily attached to a group since there is a higher chance that one of the members will end up becoming your bias. Now it makes sense why K-Pop groups often range from 4-6 members, right?
Competition Is Beneficial
The K-Pop industry is so competitive that I actually feel bad for the idols. With new releases almost every single day, it’s extremely difficult for some groups to stand out. Although this can be quite miserable for the idols themselves, it’s actually very beneficial to us fans and the K-Pop industry as a whole.
A fierce and competitive environment allows for little tolerance with failures. In other words, every comeback must be top-notch. This is especially crucial for rookie groups that don’t have a huge fanbase yet. With that much at stake, how can the music not be good?
Hard Work Pays Off
This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the idols themselves. Under the notoriously long and intensive training system, most singers were able to develop either strong vocal or dance skills, or both, during their trainee days.
Ultimately, we not only fall for the marketing strategies that are mentioned above, we fall in love with what the different artists have to offer too.
What are some other factors that make K-Pop as successful as it is now?