It may be a new year, but expect trends in music to continue into 2019 while television and film improve quality, content, and reach.
There was a lot of changes and triumphs in the K-pop music world in 2018. In particular, a lot of groups started to test out the waters in the U.S. following BTS’ success.
Boy groups like GOT7, MONSTA X, NCT 127, and Super Junior going on media tours around the states. MONSTA X also became the first K-Pop group to do the Jingle Ball tour, and Red Velvet was the first girl group to have in independent fanmeet. Moreover, BLACKPINK and Hyukoh will be the first groups to perform at Coachella. In the midst of that Jay Park released his first single “Soju” under Roc Nation.
This year will probably have more of the same as these groups — and maybe a few more — continue to branch out into the western music market.
Hopefully, more soloist like Dean and Hyolyn will be able to do more collaborations and branch out in the entertainment world stateside. Dean has already partnered with Eric Bellinger and Syd. He has also had other fruitful experiences.
Likewise, soloists like IU, Heize, Chungha, Sunmi, Crush, Ben, Roy Kim, and more will prove even stronger this year, allowing only well-established groups, reality show artists, and soloist from them (think Kang Daniel), and those with large fandoms having a sustained presence on charts.
Besides that, I don’t see anything out of what I have pointed out taking place. Maybe a couple emerges or someone is caught doing drugs again. Hopefully, the public doesn’t freak out resulting in artists leaving companies to date openly.
On the other hand, Korean television — dramas and other entertainment programs — and films are posed to make an even stronger impact.
Netflix will play a large part in expanding the audience for Korean content around the world. The world’s largest Subscription video on demand (SVOD). According to Money, in July 2018, Netflix had over 125 million subscribers worldwide with 56 million in the U.S. A small yet fast-growing portion of that worldwide number is from South Korea.
For the past two years, Netflix has made a dedicated effort to increase the amount of Korean language and subtitled content on their platform. This includes films like Okja, original content like “Busted,” and obtaining exclusive licenses to translated and stream popular dramas like “Mr. Sunshine” and “Something in the Rain.”
In doing so, Netflix witnessed an increase in users’ time spent on the site from 14 minutes to 284 minutes from just a year ago.
Additionally, with the loss of Dramafever last October, Netflix has become one of a handful of sources for K-entertainment that is professionally translated and available worldwide. That leaves sites and apps like Vapp and Viki, which heavily relies on fans for translations.
Something that these entertainment programs and movies have over K-pop music is that it appeals to a broader audience.
There is a reason why many credit a drama for staring the Hallyu wave. “Winter Sonata,” a Korean adaptation of a Japanese show, hit a nerve with audiences in Asia and sparked a desire for more content.
Stories or love, struggle, adventure, and growth are universal in a way that the now more hip-hop leaning K-pop is not. Moreover, movies like Burning touches artistic circles that are willing to watch foreign language content than music.
While K-pop music will undoubtedly expand more in 2019, television and film will take the cake.
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