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K-Pop's official debut

2012/02/23 | 2267 views |  | Permalink | Source

2011 was an exciting year for K-Pop fans and the Korean music industry. In August, Billboard opened a new chart for K-Pop music, Billboard K-Pop Chart. Following the J-pop Chart, this is the second release of a country based music chart from Asia. And only a few months later, Google operated webcast provider YouTube launched its K-Pop Channel online.

The news created a buzz among fans and industry experts alike as it was the first time that YouTube had created an exclusive channel for any one country. The main reason for the decision was based on the fact that there are over 5 million K-Pop related webcasts on YouTube, but only 600,000 of these can be found using the search word 'K-Pop'. A separate K-Pop channel was in demand to facilitate the search for Korean music for K-Pop fans worldwide.

K-Pop Fever

K-Pop has been making headlines on online music service providers for some time now. In August 2011, the music video for Super Junior's new single 'Mr. Simple' ranked no. 3 on YouTube's global chart. The music video came third on the 'Most Viewed Webcasts' after Lady Gaga and Kanye West, proving the international popularity of the Korean dance group.

Back in 2009, the Wonder Girls took the world by storm by being the first Korean group to ever chart on the Billboard Hot 100 with their American debut single 'Nobody' which later ranked no.1 on the 'Year End Charts Hot Singles Sales' section, topping American artists like Beyonce and Black Eyed Peas.The release of the Billboard K-Pop Chart was a testimonial to its recognition as a global genre. "We were already receiving requests for K-Pop charts from music fans of different nationalities and ethnicities few years ago. Billboard looked into the fast-spreading popularity of Hallyu and the success of Hallyu concerts in various countries" states Biilboard Korea.

More K-Pop Services

Before Billboard started servicing the chart, there was a lack of an official Korean music ranking medium for foreign fans. Now, through the Billboard chart, they can view the most up to date ranking of Korean music based on online source analysis. The Billboard K-Pop Chart uses a sound scanning system to data mine the charts of 13 online music services that are available in Korea. The collected data is then processed to provide automated rankings.

With the launch of K-Pop chart, Billboard Magazine and online Billboard Korea (www.billboard.co.kr) have begun to publish music-related news and other services. It is Billboard's next project to customize the news to each local language abroad and service it with the K-Pop chart. Hopefully this new service will not only satisfy the craving for K-Pop fans, but will also help more Korean artists to go abroad.

Hallyu to the Next Level

The Billboard K-Pop Chart and YouTube's K-Pop channel are not only good news for international fans but are also welcoming news to the Korean music industry in the hopes that the new services will bring Hallyu and K-Pop to the next level. The current Hallyu is led by Korean music and artists. Music videos of dance groups like Big Bang, 2PM and Girl's Generation are a big hit around the world. And behind this new wave of Hallyu is YouTube, utilized not only by ardent fans but also by Korean entertainment companies to promote their artists. Last year, YG Entertainment launched a showcase for the first solo album of G-Dragon and TOP (Choi Seung-hyeon) through YouTube. The one hour streaming of eleven songs attracted 390,000 users worldwide. It is with hope that the new K-Pop services provided by the Billboard chart and YouTube's channel will be an opportunity to promote K-Pop in places around the world that it has not reached yet, and be a starting point to introduce other Hallyu content.

Super Junior at the Gaon K-Pop Awards (photo: Yonhap News).

The Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards ceremony was held on February 22 in Seoul. The winners were selected based on yearly data from the Gaon Chart (www.gaonchart.co.kr). Breaking from the convention, the Gaon Awards give credit not only to singers but to staff working in the music industry such as producers, composers, lyricists, choreographers, and stylists. Four artists were selected for the Artist of the Year on a quarterly basis. TVXQ, Beast, Super Junior, and Girl's Generation were bestowed the Awards to represent each quarter of the year. The K-Pop Contribution Award was given to Lee Soo-man, the chairperson of SM Entertainment. The ceremony was aired live on KBS Drama and KBS Joy.

* Article from Korea Magazine (February 2012)

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