Conception and industrialization
The debut of the group Seo
Tai-ji & Boys in 1992 was a turning point for
popular music in South Korea. Incorporating elements of
popular musical genres in the United States such as rap
rock and techno, the group had tremendous success in
South Korea. Hip hop duos such as Deux also became
popular in the early 1990s.
vocalist of the popular boy band SHINee.
Lee Soo Man broke K-pop
barriers in 1995 with the formation of SM Entertainment,
South Koreas largest entertainment agency. Soon to
follow were YG Entertainment, DSP Entertainment, and JYP
Entertainment, all of which began producing highly
The first K-pop girl groups and
boy bands began appearing in the mid to late 1990s.
Groups such as as Fin.K.L, g.o.d., H.O.T., Sechs Kies,
and S.E.S. were hugely successful throughout Asia. The
1990s also saw a surge in the popularity of hip hop and
R&B music in South Korea, with artists such as Epik
High, Drunken Tiger, MC Mong, and 1TYM launching
Today, apprenticeship is the
universal strategy for nurturing girl groups, boy bands,
and solo artists in the K-pop industry. To guarantee the
high probability of success of new talent, talent
agencies fully subsidize and oversee the professional
lives and careers of trainees, often spending in excess
of $400,000 to train and launch a new artist Through
this practice of apprenticeship, which often lasts two
years or more, trainees hone their voices, learn
professional choreography, sculpt and shape their bodies
through exercise, and study multiple languages all while
K-pop is gradually gaining
influence in foreign markets outside of Asia, most
notably in the United States, Canada and Australia. In
2010, solo artist Taeyang and girl groups Girls'
Generation and 2NE1 began topping various music charts
throughout the United States and Canada with the release
of various albums and hit songs.
In 2009, the Wonder Girls
became the first Korean singers to place on the U.S.
Billboard Hot 100 chart with their single, Nobody.
K-pop artists are increasingly
working with talent outside of Korea in a push to
further globalize the genre. In the United States,
artists from Korea are touring with groups like the
Jonas Brothers and collaborating with producers
including Kanye West, Rodney Jerkins,and will.i.am.
In China, Japan, and the entire
region of Southeast Asia, K-pop culture has become so
popular that authorities and nationalists fear that it
is leading to a xenocentric preference for Korean styles