K-Pop is changing the dialogue of the music business, may take over the world

A panel of experts at SXSW spent an hour yesterday discussing the phenomenon of K-Pop, and said some pretty interesting stuff.


Words by: Charlie Jones

“It’s a different dialogue now,” Sang Cho, chief operating officer of Korean TV company Mnet, said yesterday, describing the effect that K-Pop has had on the global music industry. In the past, when pitching music programming to US executives, Cho said, “We probably showed about 300 music videos to top producers and record labels. In the beginning there were relationships so they would be courteous, but it was not a serious conversation.”

Today, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg and Will.i.am are all lining up to work with K-Pop artists such as 2NE1 (pictured) and JYJ. In a talk entitled “Do Music Moguls Know a Secret About K-Pop?”, business insiders put their heads together at SXSW yesterday to discuss the global success of this once overlooked genre.

According to Billboard , David Zedeck, a music agent who books K-Pop groups for Creative Artists Agency, said that bands like Girls Generation – who reportedly earned around $88.56 million USD in 2011 – are now selling out 1,700 – 2,500 capacity venues in the US in record time. He added, “we could take any one of these groups and do 16 to 18 real arena dates in North America.”

Jeff Yang, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, also revealed at the talk that due to the huge K-Pop fan base emerging in America and Japan, the genre is developing a bigger non-Korean audience than Korean.

Yang commented, “all sorts of things are happening that are establishing this opportunity for K-Pop to crossover. It could be essentially like Latin music for the Asian immigrant community or immigrant-plus community. I don’t even feel I can bet which way it’s going to go right now.”

Submit your music Close