K-Pop Groups Not From Korea Focus on South Korea Media Market – Billboard


TOKYO — This summer time, the Japanese leisure firm Avex launched the seven-member lady group XG on a weekly music TV present — in South Korea, as a substitute of Japan. The transfer was strategic. Reasonably than promote the group, which was 5 years within the making, at dwelling, Avex leveraged Korea’s Okay-pop-rich media market to make a global splash.

It’s a main instance of the most recent chapter in Okay-pop’s globalization: non-Korean acts tapping into the coaching, promotion, kinds and methods that made the style a global success.

Korean networks’ many music applications showcase dozens of bands and stay performances, that are available on YouTube — a key consider Okay-pop’s worldwide enlargement, in line with business consultants. In stark distinction, Japanese TV networks have been gradual to embrace YouTube as a result of sharing authentic content material there typically results in unauthorized reuse. “Japanese TV reveals are actually inside — we will’t actually attain to the worldwide followers,” says Reina Aiguchi, a supervisor in Avex’s digital advertising group who works with XG. “In an effort to acquire the worldwide followers, we needed to go on Korean TV reveals.”

XG — like JO1 from Japan and boy band SB19 from the Philippines — adopted the Okay-pop star incubation mannequin, drawing their members from hundreds of auditioning hopefuls and present process yearslong coaching regimens. Because of instruction from Okay-pop vocal coaches and choreographers, they seem like gaining traction, accumulating tens of millions of audio streams and YouTube views. What stays unclear, although, is whether or not they’ll lure non-Korean listeners away from Korean bands or develop the style’s fan base by having lesser-known artists appeal to extra listeners.

Both means, consultants say the event might assist enhance Okay-pop’s long-term viability worldwide. Non-Korean Okay-pop bands could displease some present followers, however this enlargement evolves the style past Korean pop. “If globalizing Korean acts was the mannequin up to now, now the mindset is to create global-level teams all over the world,” says Kim Younger-dae, a Seoul-based music critic. “It didn’t occur in a single day. This has been the objective that [the industry] has been engaged on for the final twenty years.”

Okay-pop acts with members from outdoors Korea aren’t a brand new phenomenon. Beginning within the Nineteen Nineties, companies recruited from the Korean diaspora and later expanded the expertise pool to such key goal markets as Japan and China. From Super Junior to TWICE to Aespa, bands have benefited from members who talk with followers and media in related markets in their very own languages.

However this newest wave of Okay-pop teams has no Korean members. As a substitute, they’re working inside Korea to make the most of the know-how, distribution channels and international consideration Okay-pop has established. They had been typically uncovered to Okay-pop from childhood and see Korea as a platform for worldwide stardom.


Courtesy of XGALX

XG, for instance, is produced by an company led by Simon Jakops, a former Okay-pop idol who was born in the US to Korean and Japanese dad and mom. Avex chosen XG’s members from a pool of 15,000 Japanese ladies in 2017 and put them by means of 5 years of coaching — beginning once they had been ages 10 to fifteen — to grasp hip-hop and R&B music, in addition to English and Korean. They lived collectively in a dormitory in Tokyo and moved to Seoul in the course of the pandemic. Singing and rapping in English — with the occasional Japanese phrase thrown in — the group made 14 appearances on six completely different Korean TV reveals in June and July to advertise its first two singles, “Tippy Toes” and “Mascara,” Aiguchi says. The group is marketed by XGALX, an company overseen in Tokyo by Avex, which, in recent times, has struggled to repeat its J-pop idol successes from the Nineteen Nineties and 2000s.

“We wished to seek advice from Okay-pop and have these strategies for XG,” says Yudai Hasegawa, supervisor for XGALX, talking by means of Aiguchi’s translation. “Second is, we wished to shoot these music movies in Korea, the place they’ve good music video administrators.” Such methods look like making a distinction: XG has about 700,000 subscribers on YouTube and round 600,000 on TikTok, whereas “Mascara” reached No. 14 on the Billboard Japan Scorching 100, spending 11 weeks on the chart. As well as, the group gained the Rising Star award on the MTV Video Music Awards Japan in November. Feedback under the group’s videoclips include English, Bahasa (Indonesia) and Spanish, alongside Japanese.

JO1, a Japanese boy band fashioned from the 11 winners of the 2019 actuality TV contest Produce 101 Japan, additionally obtained coaching in South Korea. Their music, typically a collaboration between Japanese and Korean producers, is sung in Japanese with English phrases peppered into the combo, a Okay-pop method for upping the songs’ international enchantment. The members have appeared on Korean selection reveals and Okay-pop-focused YouTube channels. (Their newest single, “SuperCali,” borrows the well-known compound phrase from Mary Poppins.) JO1 has racked up a number of No. 1s on the Billboard Japan Scorching 100, together with “Bokura no Kisetsu” (“Our Season”), which topped the chart final December and has almost 420 million mixed views on YouTube.

Korean companies in recent times have additionally launched non-Korean bands that carry out Okay-pop-like music — notably SM Leisure’s China-geared boy band WayV, in addition to NiziU, an all-Japanese lady group from JYP Leisure and Sony Music Leisure Japan. 

After an open name for auditions starting in 2014 involving a whole lot of Filipino boys, SB19 was fashioned by ShowBT Philippines, a subsidiary of Korean company ShowBT Group. The five-member boy band, which sings in English and Tagalog, skilled in South Korea for 3 years earlier than signing with Sony Music Philippines in December of 2019. They lately have begun cracking the Billboard charts and touring abroad, together with a present at Los Angeles’ Avalon nightclub this previous Saturday (Nov. 12). “They’ve actually raised the bar, the Koreans,” Roslyn Pineda, common supervisor, Sony Music Leisure Philippines, mentioned in September. “Primary is the self-discipline” SB19 members realized in Korea, which led to a “sharpness of [dance] actions…that doesn’t lie,” she says.

“We will’t deny the Okay-pop affect [on JO1],” says Choi Shin-hwa, CEO of Lapone Leisure, a three way partnership between leisure conglomerates CJ ENM of South Korea and Yoshimoto Kogyo of Japan that produces JO1. He doesn’t describe Lapone artists as Okay-pop, however fairly envisions “a brand new style that could be a hybrid of Okay-pop and Japanese tradition.”

In an interview in Tokyo, some members of JO1 instructed Billboard they grew up listening to Okay-pop CDs from boy band TVXQ and pop rock band CNBLUE, which their respective moms, as followers, had performed round the home. The members nervously denied they had been already stars. “We carry on working with the hopes of catching up with all of the superior Okay-pop artists who’re lively at the moment,” says member Issei Mamehara

Further reporting by Alexei Barrionuevo

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