Is K-Pop Ruling the World Through Social Media?

K-pop continues its push for worldwide dominance with the success of the Wonder Girls’ music video for “Like This,” the first single off of their June 4th-released album, “Wonder Party.” The girl group’s video for the track had already garnered over 1 million views on YouTube a day after its premiere while also reaching #22 on the iTunes top pop album chart.

That’s not the only recent news item attesting to the mega-success of K-pop though. Popular K-pop boy band Big Bang saw their music video for their song “Monster” reach over 2 million views after its upload on June 3rd. The view count for their previous music video, “Blue,” broke the 8-million mark within only five days of its release.

K-pop’s synthy, fashion-forward, electro-pop and hip hop elements have a strong following in the US, even gracing distinguished mainstream outlets like when Girls’ Generation appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and the Wonder Girls’ upcoming starring roles in a self-titled movie on the Nickelodeon channel.

All of these successes and more, along with YouTube’s recent 7th anniversary concert done K-pop style, might make you wonder how South Korea’s pop music scene has made it so big. Simple: social media. Having long infiltrated Asia’s popular culture, K-pop promoters struggled to make their music as relevant to America and the West.

Eventually, however, they caught on; using YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, K-pop promoters and distributors focused on a digital distribution model and put less energy into traditional mediums for musical success like radio and television. Fans, especially the young adolescent ones that K-pop aims for, can be found primarily through the Internet, making efforts to gain traction through resistant American TV and radio inefficient; why do they need to court the gatekeepers of traditional media when their content sells itself on the Internet? With a planet made smaller through wired globalization, K-pop is able to reach and lure exponentially increasing shares of young fans worldwide into buying their special brand of hyper-pop.


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