"K-Pop's chances in America dim," argues local expert.
I asked my fourteen-year-old daughter about the possibility of Korean pop music becoming successful in America. She likes K-Pop and loves Girls' Generation, so I thought that she might have a strong opinion. Here's what she wrote:
I was somewhat surprised by Sa-Rah's opinion. She's such a strong K-Pop fan -- especially fanatical about Girls' Generation (whom I call "Girls' Degeneration") -- that I expected her to puff K-Pop for the American market. Instead, she offers an analysis for why it largely won't succeed in the States, and some of her remarks suggest a critical attitude about the K-Pop system.Recently, K-Pop has become a big issue in many places around the world. Artists of SM Entertainment performed in Paris early this year, and many Korean Idol Groups had their debut in Japan and have gained popularity, too. SM Town -- Artists of SM Entertainment -- is planning to perform in Sydney, New York, and more cities sooner or later. From these examples, K-Pop seems to be very successful around the world. The big question, though, is this: "Will they succeed in the U.S.?" Because K-Pop groups like Girls' Generation (also called SNSD), Big Bang, TVXQ, and Super Junior have become very popular in Asia, big Korean management companies like YG, JYP, and others seem to be thinking about going to the U.S., too. Personally, I think it would be difficult for K-Pop to succeed in the U.S. There are exceptions, though, and I will be explaining them in the latter part of my essay.K-Pop's Chance of Succeeding in the U.S.
One reason for the difficulty of K-Pop's success in the U.S. is that the U.S. is BIG. The music market is huge, and there are many talented artists out there. So, it is harder to succeed than in Korea or other smaller Asian countries. Even if a Korean idol group debuted and got their song onto the Billboard chart, it would be hard to gain popularity and continue to be popular. For example, the Wonder Girls debuted in the U.S. and succeeded in getting a song to hit number 1 on the Billboard Chart with "Nobody," but almost nobody -- must be the song title's fault -- knows them in the U.S. They even lost most of their popularity in Korea, too. This shows that to succeed in America, you also need to continuously perform and sing in America. You can't continue to be popular if you go back and forth from one country to another. You have to stick to one country for a long time, but that would be hard for K-Pop groups because risking their money and popularity in Korea to go to the U.S. is not so wise.
Also, the way that artists debut in the U.S. is different from in Korea, too. In Korea, many idol groups are trained for years and then have their debut, but in the U.S., artists usually make their own music and slowly create their fan base underground, then have a contract with a record company, and that's how they have their debut. Ways of becoming famous are different, too. Most Korean idol groups go on TV shows and act funny and make themselves appealing. There are not many ways of becoming famous other than going on TV many times and creating a good image. By contrast, American artists do more concerts and go on TV shows, but they don't have to do ridiculous things, and they sing and perform more. In other words, K-Pop groups are more about image, and U.S. artists are more about talent, so it would be hard to become successful as the usual K-Pop style group.
Of course, it would be possible to gain a small mania fan base, but that's not worth spending so much money and time without getting much of a reward back.
However, there are exceptions. Groups like Big Bang and 2NE1 are different from most idol groups in Korea. Their music is mostly Hip-Hop and Dance, and their style is more American. This doesn't mean they have copied the American style, but that they have a combination of Korean and American music styles. Their performances are also very energetic and full of confidence. Their music and performances make you want to spring up and jump around! Of course, we don't know if they would be able to succeed in the U.S., but I think they have more of a chance than other normal cute and pretty K-Pop groups. There may be a market for cute and pretty K-Pop groups, too, but I don’t think they will be earning a profit compared to what they invested in going to America. It's not worth the risk.
Besides the exceptions that I have given above, mostly, I think there's not much of a chance for K-Pop groups to succeed in America. As I have read in a recent online news site, SM Entertainment's representative director, Lee Su-Man said that "A huge music market will soon form in Asia, and there will be no need to go to America to show K-Pop. Going to America is not worth the risk anyway. We have better ways to appeal to foreign music lovers." He surely has the right idea. Such a wise man you are, Mr. Lee!
Our kids always surprise us . . .