“K-POP (Korean Pop) Invasion” shaking overseas music market
During my winter holiday in Korea, the most compelling question from my Korean friends is this. “How is Finish Music? Have you found any musicians who can hit in Korea or Asia market? Well, unfortunately, I could not give them the great answer.
I still remember the feeling vividly when I encountered the Finnish heavy metal rock band for the first time last year. It was a big shocking to me because their music style and appearance are far beyond my musical experience. And then, my Finnish friend suggested me to listen to “Night Wish” because their music is softer and easier for me. After that, I realized that it will take some time to enjoy Finnish heavy metal music which is not familiar with me yet. But I also have a very special memory about Finnish music band. Last year, in the Pori Jazz Festival, I found very appealing and attractive Finnish young guy band. I remember the band name just roughly, perhaps ‘The Capital Beat’. I really liked their music and thought they would be possibly popular in Korea music scene.
In my country, K-Pop (Korean Pop) is amazingly predominant all over the country. In consideration of foreign music scene, American and British music are relatively popular and Northern European musicians are also very well appreciated such as Kings of convenience(Norwegian) and Cardigans (Swedish). Because we feel northern European musicians have some exotic taste which Asian and American pop never can imitate. However, unfortunately, we Korean have never had chance to experience Finnish music yet. That’s why my old friends who are still working at music business field exceedingly curious about Finnish popular music.
Current situation, not only in Asia, but also in South America and some countries in Europe, so called “Korean Invasion” is hottest issue. It is Korean pop idol group have conquered all Asia music market. During my stay in Korea for the last month, I could feel the popularity firsthand from some news. There are some Korean groups who lead Korean Wave in abroad market. Wonder Girls, made a successful debut to US ranked in Billboard single chart. Girls’ Generation set a historical record in Japan Oricon chart. More maniac girl group 2NE1 will debut to US with the collaborative album with Black Eyed Peas. Under the entertainment system, all members of the idol group have been trained at least 5 years and 8 years at most since they were so young. They are disciplined as perfect entertainers through the strict training such as singing, dancing, performing, acting and mastering at least three foreign languages such as English, Japanese and Chinese to get into the overseas market.
While I used to work for US/British pop marketing, I was addicted to western pop culture. However, after the K-pop wave, I could appreciate more the music and cultural atmosphere of my country, Korea and Asia. Now my mp3 player is filled with all Korean pop. The important thing is this. No matter how K-Pop is accepted, the huge cultural impact in national level is undeniable. Because of K-Pop, the number of foreigners who has started to learn Korean language and culture is exponentially increasing. Recently, when Korean people travel in foreign countries, native people feel much more familiar with Korea because they already had experienced Korean music.
If I introduced current Korean popular music to Finnish people, I guess they might have similar feeling I already had towards Finnish heavy metal. It might be surprise or cultural shock. Though, I am very curious about how Finnish people feel when experiencing different Korean music and performance. And I’d like to share what is happening in my country and Asia music market. Furthermore, I really hope to get more chances to experience Finnish pop music during my stay in Finland!
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Text and photos: Yereum Kim