[Opinion] Music to Stay Flat While Television and Film Will Excel in 2019

It may be a new year, but expect trends in music to continue into 2019 while television and film improve quality, content, and reach.

Image sources – Big Hit Entertainment, Netflix, YG Entertainment

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.

Image source – KBS

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.

 

 

 

By O.C

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Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates

[Opinion] 2018 in Review: A Year of Dismantlement

From music charts, the “Me Too” movement, to the reopening of old cases, 2018 was a year where established structures of the K-Pop industry began to crumble.

There were many things that happened over the course of 2018 like the “Me Too” movement and the ongoing uncovering of financial fraud by celebrity parents with many celebrities. Reviewing the year, there is a theme that runs through the year’s most impactful events and developments: dismantlement.

Those who have been lulled into a safe sense of security due to fame, wealth, social standing, professional position, or through their connections have had a rude awakening. Additionally, with changes to real-time charts, new, and more honest, result have emerged that hint at where the Korean music industry is heading.

#Me Too and Financial Fraud Hits K-Pop

During the early months of 2018, students and former costars to prominent actors like Oh Dal-su, Jo Min-ki, Cho Jae-hyun, Choi Il-hwa, and many more have accused them of sexual assault and harassment.

Many of the victim’s testimonies told that the actors would use their position as more experienced actors to lure their less experienced victims to secluded areas under the pretense of helping them before forcing themselves on the women. In Jo Min-ki‘s case, he would send inappropriate messages to his students and call them up to his officetel for meetings and lectures.

The movement brought more awareness to sexual misconduct and crimes in the entertainment industry. More importantly, it gave a platform for many victims to tell their stories and speak their truth.

While the movement resulted in the death of one of the accused, who buckled under the weight of his guilt and the inevitable consequences of his actions, it also brought attention to the case of Jang Ja-yeon, who also took her life — but because of sexual abuse. Further, it also helped to expose institutional concealment of such acts and companies are now including “Me Too” clauses in their contracts.

Jang Ja-Yeon – OSEN News

 

Meanwhile, during the last few months of the year, several stars like Tiffany, MAMAMOO Wheein, Dok2, Ma Dong-Seok and, most notably, Microdot found themselves wrapped up in the results of the shady schemes of their parents. The parents either borrowed money from acquaintances, had people co-sign a loan, presented fake business plans, or boldly took money from coffers before never being heard from again.

Perhaps they felt comfortable under the umbrella of their children’s fame, but they shouldn’t have. Some like Microdot, who stepped down from his shows, lost brand deals, and broke-up with Hong Soo-hyun, have found their careers and relationships on the rocks. Being famous or knowing famous or rich people is no longer protection in the face of the law.

Going Solo

Screen grab from Dean’s song ‘Instagram’ – Universal Music Group

2018 was a good year for K-pop fans. The most prominent groups from the “big three,” (SM, JYPE, YG) all had comebacks — including BIGBANG right before three of its members enlisted in the army. Moreover, releases from Cube Entertainment, Big Hit Entertainment, FNC Entertainment and more filled the market with robust sound and good competition. However, through all of those big groups soloist shined the brightest.

Releases from Dean, Ben, Shaun, Paul Kim, IU, and so many more topped charts for days if not weeks. Solo debuts from the likes of BIGBANG Seungri, BLACKPINK Jennie, and Mino from WINNER became the talk of the town and proved their popularity by reaching the top spot on multiple charts.

Teaser for Jennie’s solo debut – YG Entertainment

For years, the K-pop industry has been a place where few soloists could hope to make it big. Unless you had an amazing voice or built your career over several years like IU, BoA, and Ailee, success was fleeting and inconsistent. K-pop groups, especially boy groups, dominated charts, with sometimes their whole album sometimes appearing on charts (a sure indicator of fans mass streaming).

However, while the perceived change in the reception of soloist does point to a change that may lead to smaller, rather than larger groups, in the future, their success is more visible because charts are fairer. This summer, the Goan Chart Police Committee decided to freeze real-time charts from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m.

In doing so, the committee prevented fans from doing organized streams overnight and pushing certain songs to the top of charts, giving them a head start for when the general public woke up and started listening to songs. As a result, while there are still improvements to be made to ensure even more fairness, it has helped to show true trends in the industry.

Hopefully, these changes are only the beginning.

 

 

By O.C

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Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates

[Opinion] The End of Microdot’s Entertainment Career

Over the past few weeks, several celebrities have been pulled into the limelight not because of their accomplishments, but because of the shady financial dealings of their parents. However, while most have distanced themselves from these incidences or faced them head-on, Microdot has, for all intents and purposes, run away.

On the Tuesday broadcast of SBS “E-news Exclusive,” the show investigated the current whereabouts of rapper Microdot. Visiting the location of his last known apartment, a neighbor spoke with the TV crew, saying that they heard he moved out. More, the neighbor added that it happened in the middle of the night when there are fewer people awake to witness the move.

A local real estate agent corroborated the story. According to the agent,  who revealed that “the house was sold,” and is now listed under someone else’s name. His current location is unknown; he is missing, on the run, in hiding. Call it what you may, but I call it by a different name: career suicide.

Microdot’s move comes after a damaging situation involving his parents came to light last month. According to one victim, the rapper’s father was getting a loan from a bank for 600-700 million won (approximately 530,000 – 621,000 USD*).

To get the loan, he and asked several neighbors to co-sign the contract. Further, another victim claimed that his mother had taken around 2 billion won from a community fund (1,779,610 USD). Afterward, the couple packed up and left the country, heading to New Zealand without telling anyone.

After denying the allegations and hinting at legal action, Microdot admitted that the claims were true then dropped off the map. His career was going in an upward trajectory. He had several guest appearances on entertainment programs this year like “I live Along” and “Let’s Eat Dinner Together.” But the incident put a red light on his career.

He stepped down from his well-like cast position on “The Fishermen and the City” and Pizza Hut Korea nixed their deal with him as their new campaign model. For reference, Domino Korea’s current brand model in actor Park Seo-joon. He would have competed with one of the most popular Hallyu wave actors right now.

It is safe to say that after pulling out of different projects and dropped from others, he is now a pariah in the entertainment industry. There is little chance that he can hope to return to being in the public’s eye for at least the next year. Even if he wanted to, no one would likely want to work with him.

Microdot could have mitigated the reaction of the entertainment world should he have handled the situation better. He reacted too quickly, and now he and his family seem to be shying away from taking responsibility. The worse thing he would have done in this situation is to run away, and this is exactly what he did.

In contrast, other entertainers like Dok2, Tiffany, Ma Dong-SeokHan Go-eun, Cho Yeo-Jeong, Rain, MAMAMOO Wheein, and more have all been faced with the same situation. Many of the cases proved to be true, and each has met it head-on by paying the debts off promptly and apologizing. All are still working. What is particular about Microdot is that like the celebrities mentioned above, he surely has the resources to take care of his situation financially in some capacity.

The only other celebrity in recent memory who has committed career suicide in actor Lee Jong-soo. Earlier this year, the actor disappeared for more than a week after he was accused of fraud. His friends, family, and even his agency couldn’t track him down. He later reemerged in the U.S. and is now reportedly working at a casino close to Los Angeles.

While he is a permanent resident of the U.S., every move that he has taken thus far has made it increasingly harder for him to return to the Korean entertainment industry. Moreover, his agency Kook Entertainment decided to cut ties with him after he remained out of contact for a prolonged period.

With the Korean authorities in contact with INTERPOL and considering working with New Zealand authorities to repatriate the family back to Korea, the situation is critical. All that fans of Microdot can hope for is that he will come to his senses, reappear, and handle the situation promptly.

 

 

By O.C

Image sources – BNT International, OSEN News

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Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates

 

[OPINION] Red Velvet Could Have Done Better than “RBB”

On November 30, Red Velvet made a comeback with their 5th mini album “RBB” and title track of the same name. It was only three months after their successful “Power Up” promotions that the news generated much excitement from K-pop fans all around the world.

Image Source – SM Entertainment

Especially when they revealed that the title track is “Really Bad Boy,” suggesting yet another “girl-crush, boy-killer” concept, fans were expecting a bop that would follow closely to the footsteps of previous hit-tracks of the similar concept, “Peek-a-boo” and “Bad Boy.”

And in one way or another, we did get something that was somewhat similar to them, with members running around busy trying to escape from werewolves in what seems to be an abandoned graveyard on a foggy night. It was a fun bop, indeed, with Wendy’s high pitch screaming (that was actually amazingly in tune) and a catchy “you’re a really bad boy” hook. Yet, there was something that kept pulling me back from adding the track into my daily playlist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWJUPY-2EIM

Despite the fans’ attempts to promote the track, “RBB” soon disappeared off many domestic charts. Tracks by other artists, such as Song Mino of WINNER and Wanna One kept pushing the track down the ranks, eventually letting even their non-title tracks to soar above the newest release of them all.

As a fan of Red Velvet, I was rather disappointed with the comeback. Usually, I am able to find a way to love all tracks no matter what, with “Rookie” as my personal hardest track to do so, but I just simply couldn’t figure out what was so charming about “Really Bad Boy.”

Here are two main things that I personally found the most disappointing about “RBB”

1. Hugely Miscalculated Timing

When they released the music video for “RBB,” it was quite apparent that the whole thing was based on a “Halloween” theme. The werewolves and pumpkins provided the spooky vibe to the video and the screaming from here and there added the horror to the song.

사용자첨부이미지

People started speculating that there must have been a huge miscalculation on SM’s marketing plans, since it was clear that the music video was meant to come out in time for Halloween, which was more than a month ago.

While other idols are trying to come up with their own Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé Christmas albums, Red Velvet is still trying to escape from ghosts, that is the ghost of their agency’s bad management skills.

Related image

Yes, “RBB” is catchy enough for the ReVeLuvs to swoon over, but it’s not strong enough for the general public to want to listen to them at near-Christmas time. For a track to succeed, it needs not only the support from their fans, but also the approval of the general public. “RBB,” by hugely miscalculating the timing failed to received the recognition of the public, which resulted in the rather disappointing results on various domestic charts.

Surely, the group has some other plan to celebrate the end of 2018. Maybe they are also preparing to drop their own Christmas album, ready to truly dominate the music market as they sort of failed to do so with “RBB.”

Whatever SM has in plan, they need to realize that “RBB” is not in any way the right way to end what could have been one of the most successful years of Red Velvet.

2. Been There, Done That

Previously, Red Velvet was known for being more successful with “red” tracks, such as “Red Flavor” and “Dumb Dumb” more so than their “velvet” tracks. However, with “Peek-A-Boo” and “Bad Boy,” they were finally able to gain the public’s blessing for their “velvet” tracks as well, as they stole the hearts of many with daring new looks. Thus, the group finally became Red and Velvet – proving that they are capable of pulling off both cute and sexy concepts.

Image result for peekaboo red velvet gif

However, I personally feel like they have gone slightly overboard with “Really Bad Boy.”

I could understand why they decided to make a comeback with another girl-crush look, as it has proven to be successful in the past, but it’s a fact that they have already, as commonly said, “been there” and “done that.”

Some of us are tired of these girls trying to go after the bad boys. I thought maybe it’s time that they showed off their amazing vocal skills in a different manner, as they did in “One of These Nights,” which was another successful “velvet” track.

Image result for red velvet one of these nights gif

The public knows what these girls are capable of. We know they have amazing vocalists and dancers. We know they can do more than just screaming and repeating “you’re a really bad boy” over and over again.

As important as it is to keep the materials that were once successful, it is also important to give them the music in which the members can showcase their unlimited potential as singers and artists. Red Velvet could have done better than “RBB” and I’m looking forward to what they will bring to the table for their next comeback.

Image Source – SM Entertainment

by. Dasol Kim

Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates.

[Opinion] EXO Needs to Comeback With All Members Before Enlistment

Eight members of EXO have participated in the group’s past few comebacks. Lay, the ninth and last Chinese member, has been missing in action for promotions or even the group’s Korean comeback song. With military enlistment around the corner, SM Entertainment should work to get all nine members on stage — politics be damned.

Group EXO at the premier showcase for their album EX’ACT in 2016

EXO’s latest song “Tempo” recently slid out of the top ten with the release of Song Mino’s Song Min-ho) and BLACKPINK’s Jennie’s solo debute. As it gradually lowers on the list of popular songs, so too does the possibility of a full comeback from boy group EXO. Or at least it seems that way.

The last full comeback that fans of the group enjoyed was about two years ago during their “Monster” era and the EX’ACT album (including repackage) in 2016. However, as tension between China and South Korean mounted due to the installation of Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), ventures into the country by South Korean entertainers crawled to a halt as China retaliated by placing a temporary ban on Hallyu content.

During that time, Lay’s participation in EXO’s Korean activities mirrored the slow down and eventually he stopped appearing in the group’s Korean title releases, both on stage and in recordings. Instead, the singer kept the group’s name alive through the ban in the country while also growing his personal brand by doing individual activities. While understandable from a business perspective, it caused a persistent insecurity in the group’s fandom where many began to believe that he would eventually leave the group permanently.

Teaser photo compolation from EXO’s 3rd album EX’ACT Lucky One version – SM Entertainment

Now that the ban has essentially dissolved, it is time that he be re-integrated into the group’s activities. This is doubly important given that the older members will start to enlist in the army next year. Born in 1990, Xiumin is already at the legal limit to begin his military service. With the clock ticking down to his eventual two-year hiatus, SM Entertainment should gear up and focus on giving fans at least one solid comeback with all the member participating in the songs and promotional activities in Korea and internationally.

(As an aside, it is surprising enough that the group only had one comeback in 2018. Given how big the group is I would have expected at least two. While they were missing in action, they loss public relevance.)

While allowing Lay the freedom to continue his ventures in China and as a solo artist the agency is also producing a consistent flow of income that comes back to the company. Moreover, Lay also helps to shine a positive light on SM Entertainment and EXO to the Chinese Governement. However, the resulting vacuum in EXO resulting from his absence in official group activities have been decried by their fans for years.

Now, in the time they have remaining as a whole group, the agency really should push to present a lasting, stong, and solidified image of EXO before they (likely) focus on individual and unit activities and debutes. Politics and whatever revenue loss (if there is any, which is not likely) be damned.

 

 

By O.C

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Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates.

[OPINION] Why It’s Harder to Voice Your Opinion When You are a Celebrity

Feminism, Sexual Violence, Political Corruption. “Thanks” to these social outbursts, South Koreans today are the most liberal than they had ever been throughout history or even compared to 10 years ago. Ever since the 2016 Candlelight Revolution, the Koreans have finally realized the importance of having their voices heard.

Image Source – Sojoong.joins

Most countries require that their citizens put a public face on that is different from a private one. This was especially more extreme in South Korea, ultimately putting a ‘socially conservative’ frame on the country itself. The citizens eventually ended up confining their honest opinions to their closest friends and families, or only to themselves. However, many millennials in the country are starting to realize that it’s okay to be vocal about their opinions, as long as there exists a mutual respect between one another.

As a result, we have brought some good into the country, removing many corrupted politicians and celebrities though a variety of movement alike #MeToo. Moreover, the relationship between North and South Korea is looking better than ever before, taking one step closer to making peace in the world and hopefully, a unification of the divided country.

Image Source – Huffington Post Korea

During times like this, not only the public, but also many celebrities are trying to have their voices heard. Many of these celebrities use their power of influence to first, inform the public of ongoing social issues, and second, influence them to make the right decisions (or at least the decision that they think is right in their opinions).

We often call these people the “opinion leaders,” people who are well-known enough to have the ability to influence the public opinion on the subject that matters to everyone. While some have done an exemplary job of an opinion leader, I would like to discuss why I personally believe that it’s dangerous for celebrities to become opinion leaders.

  1. Their careers are entirely based on their image.

Celebrities tend to act based on the certain image they had established at the beginning of their careers. In some way, they are the only ones still living with two faces – a public one and a private one. This is not necessarily a bad thing, for this particular image tends to make it easier for them to get offered a role in dramas and films.

However, it also plays an important role when they want to publicly speak their minds. It’s hard for the public to ignore the already established image of these celebrities that most of the time, people tend to connect their present statement to that of their past. Often, they find something that they have said in the past simply to build a particular image that might backfire against their present belief.

The next thing you know, the heavy criticism of enraged K-Netizens falls mercilessly. At the end, most celebrities end up apologizing for their comments, not wanting to lose the image they had worked so hard to establish.

One of the examples is rapper San E, who recently released track “Feminism” to attack on the modern day feminists and/or feminists under the false pretenses.

After the recent “Isu Subway Station” controversy, involving two women and three men in an argument over feminism that later developed into a physical quarrel, San E poured fuel into the fire by releasing a video that contained the women’s rather hateful comments towards men. This video suggested that San E was accusing the women for starting the fight, which had enraged many active feminists.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=QInRQ8zEGyM

The following day, San E released a track “Feminist,” in which he claimed while he is a feminist, he does not understand the logic of modern day feminists. He specifically said, “I would understand if my grandmother said that back in the day, but what’s so unfair about your life (that got you this mad)?”

After the track was released, people started calling San E a hypocrite, arguing that he was never a feminist. They dragged out previous tracks that were produced by the rapper, of many containing lyrics that clearly suggested women in subordinate position.

3 days later on November 18, the rapper released an official statement explaining his true intention behind the lyrics and apologized to fans for “offending” them. In his so-called explanation, he said that the narrator in the song is not him and he wasn’t targeting women, but the MEN who claim to be feminists, yet do not think or act accordingly.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqVUVTPBtcd/?utm_source=ig_embed

The rapper came on strong (although we will never truly know what he intended to do with this track), but unable to fight against the fans and public turning their backs on him and scheduled events being canceled because of the song. At the end, San E backs down by flip-flopping his stance on the social issue.

  1. The lack of professional knowledge and in-depth research into the subject.

Most of these social issues require many hours of studying and researching. They are never simple enough to learn in one sitting, looking through a few news articles and reading the posts on social network services. Real opinion leaders should put time and effort into studying the subject and be able to look at it from different aspects. At the end, they will establish an unwavering opinion that will stay firm despite the possible counter-attacks.

However, the celebrities simply don’t have enough time to properly educate themselves. The only time they are able to encounter the problems in real life are when they are moving from one event to another, which is not a lot considering the lack of sleep that needs to be fulfilled during the transportation time.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BoJW_cXBlFT/

I am well-aware that these celebrities only have good intentions; they know what their power of influence can do and they want to donate that to make the world a better place. But, this needs to be supported by a thorough research, otherwise disaster struck where the celebrities hastily root for the wrong person, when not every detail has been revealed.

Suzy, for example, had to face a lot of hate and even legal battles when she showed support for the alleged sex crime victim, YouTuber Yang Ye-Won in May, 2018.

At the time, YouTuber Yang Ye-Won argued that she had been sexually harassed by a photographer during her time as a model and the nude pictures she had taken in the past have been illegally disseminated by the studio owner.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxONNIHzW6M&t=5s

Following the revelation, the national petition popped up in support for Yang Ye-Won, of which Suzy uploaded a screenshot on her Instagram, asking her fans to sign the petition in the name of justice.

Soon afterwards, a shocking news came forward that Suzy and the petition had accused an innocent studio, ultimately leading to the singer’s apology. A few months into the case, it was also revealed that Yang Ye-Won was aware of the situation she was in while working with the photographer, as messages exchanged between the two parties came to light.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi9JHKphLJy/?utm_source=ig_embed

It was a good try on Suzy’s part for wanting to help the seemingly unfortunate and powerless victims, but she acted too quickly and hastily that it only cost her reputation and probably a big amount of money in the lawsuit.

  1. The Dark Side of Media Play

The last point is not necessarily the fault of celebrities (as they weren’t either for the above two points). Rather, it is the problem of media play in South Korea and how they tend to take advantage of these celebrities’ remarks for personal profit.

It is only natural that the audience is intrigued by the comments of celebrities, more than those of professional educators/researchers. The netizens are always searching for ways to tie themselves into celebrities – the urge to relate to them as same human beings.

The media knows this a little too well. At the end, it doesn’t matter what the truth is behind the situation, most of these media outlets just need an excuse to write an article that is offensive enough to draw attention from the public, with their only goal to increase the visibility of their papers and websites.

Image Source – culturematters.org

At last, what was started off as a celebrity’s wish to use his/her power to bring light into the world, it ends up being one of the tool for media players to play around with for their personal gains. The only victims are the celebrities and their fans, who might now never reveal their true sides to the public.

I fully support the celebrities, who want to use their power of influence to make the world a better place.

However, with a power so strong, they need to also realize that there comes a great price. They need to realize that many of their fans consists of young students, who may lack knowledge in the politics and other relevant fields regarding these social issues. Out of these young fans, many of them will follow their celebrities without much doubt, doing and saying as they were heard and saw.

Although there exist some mistakes, one thing is for sure. Slowly but surely, South Korea is growing as a country, taking a small step at a time to make a better society.

by. Dasol Kim

Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates.

[Opinion] Holika Holika X Jella Collaboration Is a Turning Point for K-Beauty

Earlier this year the Korean cosmetics brand Holika Holika launched one of the deepest foundation shades sold in South Korea. As a result, although the line only has six colors for customers to chose from, it is one of the most inclusive lines sold domestically.

At the beginning of September, Holika Holika added shade 6 Jella, to its Hard Cover Glow foundation line. As the name of the shade suggests, the cosmetic’s brand collaborated with Korean Youtube star Jella to create shade 6.

Her new shade for Holika Holika, Jella mentions in a video that she went through several modifications before setting on the warm brown hue. According to the Youtuber, she wanted a deep shade that would not make the wearer look washed out due to a cool undertone. As such, she based her color on Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Tahoe but aimed for a shade that was a tad bit lighter.

As someone who prefers to tan, the Jella previously use products for meant for contouring or mixing like VLD’s Expert Blending Shade or using imported foreign brands like MAC or Nars, to find a matching shade.

The reason for this is because South Korean makeup brands release very limited foundation shades. One brand, Clio, as a popular Kill Cover Foundation that comes in four different colors: lingerie, linen, ginger, and sand for color. Like Clio, the majority of brands in South Korea have a lackluster selection of medium (or deep) shades — if they make them at all.

 

While this makes sense in what is generally considered a homogenous society and population, look wise, to match. However, this is definitely not the reality. The fact remains that although a limited shade range does suit a large percentage of the population, it does not match everyone. Those with deeper skin, like Jella, are left on the fringe of the domestic beauty market. As a result, the Youtuber has expressed a need for further development.

With the addition of this new shade, Holika Holika has become one if not the only beauty brands to sell such a deep tone within South Korea at an affordable price. There are other companies like Innisfree that also has deep tones, but those are only available in the U.S.  Hopefully, with the successful launch of this new product, other beauty brands will also follow suit.

 

 

By O.C

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[OPINION] Korean Music Awards Have Successfully Lost Both Prestige and Reason for Existence

On August 30, 2018, Genie Music made a grandeur announcement that the music platform has collaborated with broadcasting station MBC Plus to launch its own music awards. They increased the expectation of K-pop fans around the world, promising to feature only the top idol groups and singers of South Korea, who will be showcasing special collaboration stages that no one has ever seen before.

Image Source – Genie Music

While I had initially scoffed at the news of yet another music awards launching in the small continent of South Korea, I couldn’t help but to have some expectation for it. With their big statement such as above, I figured there must be something special about it that Genie felt the need to launch their own awards.

3 months later on November 6, “2018 MBC Plus X Genie Music Awards” (hereafter 2018 MGA) took place at the Namdong Gymnasium in Incheon, giving out a total of 23 awards to the idol groups and singers they thought most deserved them.

YouTube – Tong Tong TV

It was a celebratory cause for many artists and their fans around the world, but it was also a disappointment in many people’s eyes.

The most disappointing thing about the event was its lineup. Most idol groups and singers that were on the list of nominees did not show up, implying just how poorly the event was created and organized from the beginning.

On the other hand, the singers who did show up ended up sitting by the bleachers the entire time, looking like a fish out of water. Most importantly, the fact that only three idol groups (TWICE, BTS, and Wanna One) performed during the 5-hour event was just lame.

At the end, my personal hope for the 2018 MGA, as well as the future of Korean music awards came crumbling down as it became clear that these awards have now successfully lost both their prestige and the reason for existence.

 

In the past, these awards existed mainly for the singers.

They acknowledged the achievement of the artists for the past year, giving a pat on their shoulders to tell them what an amazing job they did for their fans all around the world. The trophies the groups received acted as the tangible product of their hard work – the reason for them to keep moving forward with their career in the music industry.

In return, the artists put on amazing performances to thank their fans and the hosts. These performances were their promise to act deservingly of the awards they were given, making a promise to fans that they won’t let them down. In conclusion, it was a fair give-and-take occasion, both fans and artists gaining something out of them.

https://youtu.be/mdIU2E4iLCE?t=177s

Nowadays, these events have become more about the hosts and the fans, more so than they are about the artists. The hosts of these events started to create new trophies that the singers most definitely did not ask for, and so bluntly asked them to perform something in return.

For fans, as I am one myself, this is great since we get to see more of our artists. Also, the singers usually perform something out of the ordinary during these events, which gives us fans a chance to see them in special outfits or collaborations.

But in the process, we have neglected one important thing. We have neglected the fact that these artists already have enough on their plates.

They are already too busy with schedule aside from attending these events that more often than not, they simply do not have the time to put together different performances for each awards that usually take place only a week or two apart from one another.

As a result, a disaster takes place where idols collapse after performances, just like TWICE and BTS did after their performances at the 2018 MGA.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LWsq2UlWuI&feature=youtu.be&t=580s

Consequently, the awards have not only lost their reason for existence, but they have also lost their prestige.

In my eyes, the hosts of the awards have now realized how much profit they could make off of these events. Ultimately, they started taking advantage of both fans and artists.

These hosts shifted the focus of these events from the awards to performances, competing against one another on who presented the best stages and had the best lineup of the year. Furthermore, they started to coerce the artists into performing, simultaneously luring in the fans to pay much price to see these performances.

At last, what once used to be an honorable event to celebrate the achievement of our artists have now become just another money making method of big entertainment corporations.

While us fans gain the stress from voting and the artists gain fatigue from performing, these networks do nothing (I say nothing because of the clear lack of preparation that went into creating the 2018 MGA) and still gain the money, recognition, and the accelerated viewership like never before.

Nowadays, nobody cares who wins what award at what event. The number of nominations a group receives does not indicate how much work they put into their career that year. A number of awards a group receive or did not receive also doesn’t determine the quality of their work.

Fans only hope that the artists don’t obsess over silly music awards that have absolutely lost its meaning, and focus on their future. Skip out on an event if they need to take a break. A true fan will be proud of our artists no matter what and these events definitely don’t get to decide who gets to be the alpha-group of the year.

by. Dasol Kim

Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates.

[Opinion] The Definition of What a Successful K-Pop Group Is Has Evolved

In 2018 especially, the definition of what it means to be a successful K-pop group or artist has evolved to include the western music market. However, with this new definition, what does it mean for the newest generation of K-pop?

There have been numerous popular Korean artists who have had performances overseas in such places as Australia, the U.S., and Europe including acts like Big Bang, Wonder Girls, VIXX, and Super Junior. However, it was a completely new concept to be noticed outside of the then niche audience that listened to music that came out of South Korea — especially by moguls and entertainment programs. That is until Psy’s 2014 song “Gangnam Style” literally took over the world.

kpop

While most couldn’t understand the lyrics, the energy of the song, the catchiness of the hook, the absurdity of the video, and the bizarre horse dance created the perfect mixture for a worldwide hit (think of “What Does the Fox Say” for another reference). I witnessed the song played at weddings, in shopping malls, and heard it drift out of cars once in a while. However, the appeal of the song in the west also played to stereotypes about East Asia and East Asian music being different, wild, peculiar, and otherized.

As the years went on and K-pop moguls pulled in more popular Western music sounds to appeal to a wider audience, so did the acceptability of K-pop become more palatable. The updated music, artistry, and over-exposure of the singers which resulted in emotionally dedicated fandoms created an impetus that had no real alternative than to go global.

As such, while Psy presented the absurd, BTS presented a more approachable image.

BTS China DNA Hallyu band United States U.S
LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 19: BTS attends the 2017 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 19, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chris Polk/AMA2017/Getty Images for dcp)

Although there are still lingering conflicts with the image of masculinity they present in comparison to the common constructs presented in Western media, with their fandom, charisma, and similar sounding music, they were accepted into popular Western culture in an unprecedented manner. They appeared on several liver entertainment programs, got a few plays on radio stations, performed at large venues, attended award shows and have even collaborated with different artists including Steve Aoki and Charlie Pluth.

In the manner, BTS began to change what it means to be successful in K-pop.

GOT7 interview with Billboard – JYP Entertainment

Monsta X with Singer Gallant – Starship Entertainment

NCT127 at FOX LA – SM Entertainment

In their footsteps, several other boy groups began making media tours in addition to concert and performances including Monsta X, GOT7, Super Junior, and NCT 127. More, artists like BLACKKPINK, Wendy from Red Velvet, and CL have gone on to collaborate with Western singers Dua Lipa, John Legend, and The Black Eyed Peas. Not only that, but landing on domestic charts hardly makes waves — what matters now is appearing on Billboard’s Music Chart or topping iTunes in several countries.

As these larger and more established groups expand into different markets, what does this mean for new generation groups or those who don’t have popular (Western) appeal? While some of these new group have managed to build up their fan base, they have struggled to have that popularity translate to an international fanbase that makes media tours like the groups mentioned above feasible, like Wanna One. Earlier this year, the group was unable to sell enough tickets for their North American tour and had to downgrade their venue size.

Similarly, having sold over a million albums this year alone putting them on a similar level as EXO and BTS, and breaking other records TWICE have failed to gain international attention and acceptability like BLACKPINK and Red Velvet. Prior to this change in the definition in success, winning on a domestic music program like “M! Countdown” or “Inkigayo,” or maintaining a decent spot on music charts was enough. Now it is not. So what happens now? Will groups be able to be in the top 10 on a music chart and still be considered “flops” if they can reach the level of these other groups?

 

 

By O.C

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Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates.

[OPINION] Before PSY and BTS, there was Wonder Girls

Living in America, I had never felt more global presence of K-Pop before. Until PSY brought “Gangnam Style” and made everyone dance on their own invisible horses, K-Pop playlist was my “guilty pleasure.”

Image Source – YG Entertainment

Nowadays, I don’t hide away from the fact that I fairly enjoy listening to K-Pop. It’s part of my culture, and I adore these pretty-faced idols. It’s all thanks to PSY and especially, BTS, who helped the world to open their eyes and acknowledge K-pop as a real music genre.

With the recent news of BLACKPINK signing a contract with a major American label, Interscope Records, it reminded me of one girl group that tried to penetrate the Western music market way before everyone did, including both PSY and BTS. I don’t know how much of you guys remember, but if I were personally to give credit to a group for introducing K-Pop to the Western audience, it’s JYP’s one and only, the Wonder Girls.

It all started when the group released an English version of “Nobody,” the title track to their [The Wonder Years] Trilogy album in 2008.

Of course, previous artists, such as BoA and Rain, had also tried to break down the walls of Western hemisphere in the past, but the Wonder Girls were the first ones to publicly announce their entry to the foreign music market.

Image Source – JYP Entertainment

The results, at least the numerical ones, were not that bad. “Nobody” became the first K-Pop song to appear on Billboard’s Hot 100, placing itself at No. 76 on the chart. Later, the group joined the famous Jonas Brothers on their world tour in 2009 as the opening guests.

Moreover, they also collaborated with various American artists, such as FOREVER (formerly known as the School Gyrls) for their single “The DJ is Mine” in 2012. They even caught the attention of Akon, who agreed to feature in what became the group’s last track to promote in America, “Like Money.”

Jonas Brothers, Jordin Sparks, Wonder Girls performing live at the Staples Center on August 8, 2009 in Los Angeles. / Credits: Nick J Online + kimyoobin.wordpress.com

Despite their never-ending and honest work, the group’s attempt to penetrate the Western music market was ultimately marked as a failure. After releasing “Like Money” in 2012, they went into a 3-year hiatus, during which Sunye and Sohee announced their departure.

What caused this so-called “failure,” no one knows.

However, if I, as a person who very much enjoyed their music during their global promotions, were to give reasons why it was not a 100% success, I would list these 3.

  1. Lack of Localization

When the Wonder Girls released an English version of “Nobody,” it was just a literal translation of its Korean counterpart. Nothing had changed except for the language, which was my first personal let-down from the group. People say “each language has its own genius,” meaning it’s impossible to directly translate one language into another while being mindful of the cultural differences.

Image Source – YouTube LPBSubs

For “Nobody,” JYP should have been more aware of the difference in the dating cultures of the two countries and adjust the lyrics accordingly.

Because they failed to do so, some parts of the lyrics appeared rather awkwardly, and the lack of in-depth vocabulary failed to convey the seriousness of the message this particular love song was trying to deliver. Add this on top of a music video that shows JYP taking a dump, and how do you expect anyone to take this seriously?

Image Source – JYP Entertainment

Same goes for the music video.

The music video starts with JYP performing his own track “Honey” with the Wonder Girls members in the back as his back-up singers. The song “Nobody” doesn’t event start until 2 minutes into the video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA7fdSkp8ds

This strategy worked in Korea, only because everyone already knew who JYP was and the fact that he is not the main figure in the music video. However, it was most likely that the Western people did not. They weren’t going to wait around for 2 minutes in order to maybe give this new genre a try. The music video needed an immediate impact, but it was nowhere to be found.

  1. Concept Too Extreme

After “Nobody,” the Wonder Girls presented 3 more songs – “2 Different Tears” in 2010, and “The DJ is Mine” and “Like Money” in 2012. My second personal let-down from the group came from these music videos with concepts too extreme. “2DT” and “Like Money” both had settings where it either featured an extraterrestrial figure, or the members as robots. At the beginning of “2DT” music video, JYP himself explicitly says “an alien has entered this world … with a body shaped like a Pikachu.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iVPPqF7Xv0

The extreme concept in these music videos take away too much attention of the public from the music. Instead of focusing on the music, their eyes all turn to looking at members chasing after a “Pikachu-shaped alien” with multi-colored hairstyles and make-up.

Consequently, the music video also made it very difficult for the audience to recognize the members, unless you played the video on repeat, taking notes down on who had what hair colors and other details.

For a rookie group trying to break a new market, a strong identification is a must. However, the members hide behind all the flashy concept and storyline, failing to mark their faces in the minds of their target audience.

Image Source – JYP Entertainment

  1. Lack of Technology Compared to Present

Last reason for the Wonder Girls returning to their homeland after relatively unsuccessful promotions was not necessarily their fault. It was the lack of technology or communication methods of the past compared to the present.

BTS, who was recently crowned as the “Best Social Artist” at various American awards, was able to achieve this milestone partly thanks to YouTube and other social network platforms. Since before their debut, BTS actively communicated and shared the process of their debut and post-debut with their fans. This resulted in the strong bond between the artists and their fans, bringing them closer to work to receive such meaningful awards.

Image Source – Billboard

However, it was a different time for the Wonder Girls.

YouTube had just been established in 2005 and it was not a popular website until after the group had decided that North America was not an option for them. It was the same for all online platforms; Instagram was not even a thing and Facebook was just getting started.

Consequently, the communication between the Wonder Girls and their fans abroad halted every time the group went back to Korea. The global fans had to really put in time and effort into searching upcoming news of the group, which I personally think got too exhausting. Furthermore, there were not enough online contents to “dukjil” over, and people naturally lost their interest in the group.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AgPfql6ESs

 

People say the Wonder Girls trying to enter the Western music market too early in their career is what ultimately cost them their disbandment. Sunmi quickly departed from the group after the group’s first global promotions and later, Sunye and Sohee also departed.

While it wasn’t a complete success, I still applaud loudly the Wonder Girls for their brave attempts. And I believe that if they were granted the privileges of the present day technology advance and more, the girls would have had a better chance at wowing the Western hemisphere just like BTS did.

Thanks to our proud senior groups, such as the Wonder Girls, PSY, and BTS, many junior groups now have a better and easier chance to go abroad. They have shown the promising future of K-Pop, and I truly hope that the results keep getting better and better.

by. Dasol Kim

Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates.