The Effect of K-pop on the American Music Industry

Korean pop, also known as K-pop, is quickly dominating the American music industry faster than we could have imagined. There seems to be no way to escape Korean culture these days: it’s everywhere! Beauty stores such as Ulta and Sephora have their own sections for Korean beauty, and Netflix and Hulu frequently feature Korean dramas or documentaries from South Korea’s pop groups, primarily BLACKPINK and BTS. The South Korean girl group BLACKPINK made headlines with their debut in 2016, with their catchy songs off of EPs Square One and Square Two, establishing a concert fan base known as Blinks. Their fan base grew internationally, primarily in the United States after the release of their mini album, Square Up, which featured the catchy song “DDU-DU DDU-DU” that broke the record for the most viewed video on Youtube by a K-pop group. Their international popularity led to a collaboration with Dua Lipa, an English singer and songwriter, with “Kiss and Make Up,” setting up for their world tour. Later, they released the famous “Kill this Love,” a single that briefly took the YouTube record for most views in twenty-four hours. As a group that was assumed to go nowhere in the U.S., they proved the world wrong with their hit Coachella performance, making history as the first female K-pop group to do so. Recently, they have finally released their first full-length album The Album, consisting of 8 songs; two singles “How You Like That” and “Ice Cream” featuring Selena Gomez, and their title track, “Lovesick Girls.” 

Today, you can’t mention K-pop without talking about the boy band BTS. BTS has a huge international fanbase known as the “BTS Army.” BTS made a comeback in the western world with their album “Map of the Soul: Persona” in April 2019. Their single “Boy With Luv” features American singer Halsey and the track nabbed the YouTube record from BLACKPINK with the most views in twenty-four hours. They have received two gold certificates from RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America Certification) with their songs “Mic Drop” and “DNA” and won  Billboard’s Top Social Artist award twice, marking them the first ever Korean group to do so. They have made numerous appearances in American entertainment, most popularly on shows such as Ellen and The Tonight Show. Their most notable appearance, however, was a United Nations conference they were invited to speak at! They’ve continued their successes by breaking their own record with the grammy-nominated smash hit “Dynamite,” their first song completely in English. This single led to BTS being the first K-pop band to be nominated for such a prestigious award. Recently, on November 20, BTS released their album “BE,” which shot to the top of the Billboard 200. As of today, their new single, “Life Goes On,” has hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.  While BTS and BLACKPINK are not the only two K-pop groups to tear down the walls for K-pop to officially make its mark globally, other K-pop groups have started to infiltrate the music industry such as Twice, EXO, MONSTA X, MAMAMOO, SEVENTEEN, ITZY, Red Velvet, and more where they have made a prominent cultural impact. 

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