[OPINION] 2019 Kpop Outlook in the USA

As unbelievable as it may be, the 2010s will soon be over in just 10 short months! Kpop has had exponential growth in the last few years, which will also determine Kpop’s future for the following decade!

The hallyu wave aka Kpop wave has definitely become more globalized within the last couple years. There is no doubt that in 2019 there will be more Kpop fans as more Kpop idols (BTS, Monsta X, NCT, Oh My Girl, Red Velvet, Blackpink, Sunmi etc.) continue to promote abroad. Especially in the US, thanks mostly to BTS’s success paving the way for Kpop growth this year.

Hollywood is the Kpop market for this year

Based on previous patterns of Kpop idol groups like Wonder Girls, Girl’s Generation, Super Junior, TVXQ etc. many Kpop idols usually extend their fan base to other countries in Asia before pursuing Europe & the Americas. Kpop’s growth in other countries are indeed significant, but given US is home to global names like Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Ed Sherman, Chris Brown, Drake, Justin Timberlake etc. (as well as Kpoplove’s headquarters) Kpop’s future global outlook will focus on the US market for this article.

Kpop before BTS

BTS on American Music Awards (2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH1PVvFj8cE

Just 5 to 10 years ago, prior to BTS’s historical invasion in the US, Kpop was just a new and upcoming genre in the US that originated from a small country in Asia. As a decades old Kpop fan, I can personally attest to instances in the past where people confused North and South Korea and probably couldn’t name any Kpop artist even if their life depended on it.

Other idols’ success in the US

However, this does not mean Kpop has never made its mark in the US. Examining only the idol groups who are no longer “active” meaning either disbanded or no longer actively promoting with all members, idol groups like Wonder Girls and Girl’s Generation have previously tried to break into the US market without as much success as BTS.

JYP’s Wonder Girls (2007-2017) released a single- ‘Nobody’ (2009)- that was No.76 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as the 1st Kpop group on the Billboard charts. This provided the opening for the group to enter the US market and pursue international activities. Wonder Girls can be considered to have been at the peak of their career in Korea (and Asia) prior to moving to the US in 2009 to focus on US activities. However contrary to expectations, Wonder Girls was unable to continue their momentum and ended up with changing the line-up and regroup back in Korea.

Wonder Girls on Wendy Williams Show (2009)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHFL-mIeZX4

SM’s Girl’s Generation (2007-present) released a single-’The Boys’ (2012)-officially debuting and promoting in the US a few years after Wonder Girls. Comparing various aspects like promotions, fanbase, hallyu wave’s influence and method, there are so many differences that can explain the different levels of success between the 2 girl groups.

Girl’s Generation on Late Show with David Letterman (2012)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k1-jOZ7f1w

Taking a closer look at how BTS did not need to promote in the US to have the biggest US debut stage of all in 2017 as the 1st Korean group to perform at AMAs, BTS clearly did something that sets them apart from others. Not to mention BTS performed in Korean while Wonder Girls and Girl’s Generation performed in English. Based on BTS’s sucess, BTS’s momentum can only be expected to grow further this year.

BTS’s significant role for Kpop mainstreamed in US

In 2019, there are very few individuals who wouldn’t know what the 3 letters “BTS” refers to in the US. Even if one is completely clueless about Kpop, there is a big chance someone’s family, friend or acquaintance is a BTS fan or BTS ARMY.

Ilgan Sports

Similar to BTS’s predecessors (e.g. legendary Kpop idol groups Girls Generation, Super Junior, TVXQ), BTS became mainstream in Asia a few years ago and became more globally recognized as they made their mark on the Billboard charts in 2015. But unlike other Kpop groups, BTS didn’t make any special plans to promote in the US market soon after their first placement on the Billboard charts. Instead BTS continued to release more content and focused on their music letting time to gradually increase their popularity all over the world.

Why is BTS different?

BTS contributed to further spreading the hallyu wave rather than having to focus on establishing the Kpop wave. Currently in 2019, nearly everyone has a smartphone as opposed to 10 years ago. Internet is easily accessible to many age groups enabling the daily use of social media like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube etc. This has allowed Kpop idols, especially BTS, to focus on interacting with fans and growing their fanbase. BTS members are well known for being very active participants as singers-songwriters within the Kpop industry and renowned for sharing many of their content on SoundCloud or V Live which played a significant role for BTS’s success today.

https://twitter.com/BTS_twt/status/1100449341200773121

BTS’s timing may have been what led to BTS’s breakthrough to becoming the biggest Kpop group in the world. Rather than jumping on the first signs of opportunity to pursue international activities, BTS bided their time to focus on their work and to further nurture their talents while waiting for their hard work to come to fruition.

https://youtu.be/D_nyuB8GbM8

As a result, BTS was able to become a household name is the US even prior to their official debut on the American Music Awards in 2017. Afterwards, BTS continued to set more records on the AMAsBillboards, Youtube, iTunes, Ebay Korea, Forbes, Time Magazine, Bloomberg etc. in 2018.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QK-HR7xfEA

The 7 membered boy group became recognized for their global popularity when selected by international corporations like Puma, LG Electronics, Hyundai Motors etc. as global ambassadors and made significant collaborations with Mattel, Medicome Toy, Netmarble Games, Line Webtoons, Line Friends x BT21 and more!

BTS World Tour & BT21

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlTF_iJhvlh/?hl=en

When BTS had their 3rd world tour last summer, Line Friends x  BT21 also officially opened their pop-up store in LA situated amongst Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. As someone who has accompanied various people to this store in August, September, October and December of last year, I can personally affirm the lines were unbelievably long not only when the pop-up store first opened but also for the following months. Amazingly, the lines did not really decrease much every time I had to go.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn8S5QphtwR/

 

https://twitter.com/LINEFRIENDSinfo/status/1054826311938646018

Most of my experience at this store consisted of standing in line for hours while conversing with other people accompanying their niece or cousin to the store. As to why the lines didn’t decrease much even after BTS finished touring in the US would be since BT21 items were often sold out with limited quantities, unpredictable shipments of new items, new seasonal (Halloween, Christmas) items and such.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnshifThY9g/

Initially the Line Friends store was announced to stay for 3 months. Later, due to high demand, the pop-up was extended to January 2019 with plans to locate permanently. Just the fact that BT21 became popular enough to become a permanent store in LA speaks volumes about BTS’s success in the US. Aside from BT21, BTS is renowned for increasing sales for many associated businesses leading to the birth of the term “BTS effect” from major news outlets as many profit from BTS’s influence. BTS has become symbolic as a guaranteed catalyst to enhance micro and macro economics.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnXnJ-7BF8X/

Lots of Kpop events in 2019

Just within 2 months of this year, there have been so many appearances or scheduled appearances of Kpop idols and artists in the US. Just to name a few upcoming events- Girl’s Generation’s Tiffany will be having her first showcase as Tiffany Young in a few days, Sunmi will be having her first world tour next month, BLACKPINK will be at Coachella in April and BTS will be touring the US again in May. Additionally, Red Velvet, Oh My Girl, Hong Jin Young and Dean have already performed in the US within the last 2 months. 

https://youtu.be/PIMB64pJS3o

BLACKPINK made their official US debut on “Good Morning America”  and announced their North American Tour during the interview just awhile back. With so many activities planned in the US for the first half of 2019, many are wondering whether BLACKPINK will be able to have success similar to BTS. There is definitely a lot of potential but as previous idol groups like Wonder Girls and Girl’s Generation have proven, it isn’t easy to accomplish.

Overall Take

As an avid Kpop fan whose biases are mostly the first generation of Kpop idols, I can’t help but feel happy and excited to see how well Kpop is doing in the US. There are many idol groups who have also contributed to Kpop’s success like Monsta X, EXO and annual events like KCON LA or KCON NY. But amongst everything I have read, seen and heard, I want to credit BTS for really opening the door wide open for Kpop to take on the US. There have been many attempts but no one has been as successful as BTS and thanks to that, I think Kpop fans are able to have more opportunities to see their favorite Kpop idols shine for Uncle Sam.

All I could hope for would be that BTS’s continuous momentum ushers in even more opportunities for other Kpop artists to enter the US market. Till the day Kpop can be heard on various iheart radio stations in the US, “Hwaiting” to all Kpop artists!

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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.

 

EXO Kai and BLACKPINK Jennie Have Reportedly Parted Ways

Having been outed by Dispatch earlier this year, singers Kai and Jennie have reportedly parted ways due to excessive media attention.

On Friday, EXO Kai and BLACKPINK Jennie once again found themselves in the spotlight. Rumors had begun to spread that the two who were just starting to get to know each other had parted ways. Responding to an inquiry from OSEN News, a representative from EXO’s agency SM Entertainment confirmed the rumors, saying “that is the truth.”

At the beginning of January, Dispatch released an exclusive report claiming that the two singers were in a relationship. At that time, SM Entertainment said that the two have “fond feelings for each other,” leading many to believe that they were just starting to get to know one another. As a result, it may have been too early to say that they are in a full-on relationship.

The report led to several different conversations. However, the most prominent being that many fans felt that the report invaded the star’s privacy. Going forward many advocated for the idea that the media and the public should avoid paying too much attention to their private lives. Kai and Jennie themselves reportedly echoed this sentiment by expressing discomfort at having pictures of their lives off stage being forcibly disclosed.

Nonetheless, although romance seems to be off the table, for now, Kai and Jennie are expected to continue their careers unperturbed. After completing promotions for EXO’s “Tempo” and “Love Shot,” Kai plan to focus on individual activities with a solo album possibly in the works.

Likewise, Jennie is also busy on BLACKPINK’s first world tour. Following their stops in Bangkok and Jakarta, the group will head to North America, Europe and Australia before returning to Asia.

 

 

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Translated by O.C

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Sunmi’s First World Tour ‘WARNING’ Sells Out in Less Than a Day

Having announced her world tour just last week on Jan. 15, singer Sumin has proven her star power once again.

Screen capture from Sunmi’s personal Twitter account

It took less than a day for ticket’s to Sunmi’s first world tour to sell out after they went on sale Tuesday evening. In fact, it took about 10 hours for fans to snatch up all the available tickets.

The singer’s first ever solo world tour is set to launch in Seoul next month and will include stops in 12 different cities throughout the world. In particular, Sunmi is expected will have shows in Asia as well as North America with stops in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Vancouver, Calgary and more.

Image source – Make Us Entertainment

According to reports, destinations listed are part of the first leg of her tour. At a later date, the singer’s agency Make Us Entertainment plans to release an additional schedule. Reportedly, there will be stops in Europe and other parts of the world.

Sunmi’s unique sensual performances and always on trend music have proven to be captivating, interesting, and have mass interest. Meanwhile, with tickets bought, expectations for her solo concert are growing for many who will see her for the first time in person.

 

 

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Translated by O.C

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Wanna One Confirmed as 1st Lineup for 2018 Asia Artist Awards

Wanna One confirms to be at the 2018 Asia Artist Awards!

On August 6, the 2018 Asia Artist Awards (2018 AAA for short) has confirmed Wanna One has their first lineup of artists. After winning a rookie award at the ceremony last year, the group is returning for the second time.

Image Source – Swing Entertainment

After concluding their world tour “One: The World” in success, Wanna One is reportedly preparing for another comeback. Earlier reports stated that the group is making a comeback in November, but Swing Entertainment said they have yet to decide on the exact date of comeback. While things are still uncertain, the boy group presents a surprise for their fans with the news of their attendance.

Meanwhile, 2018 AAA will continue to announce a total of 20 artists and 20 actors who will attend the ceremony. In addition, the ceremony will turn the whole first floor into a standing section this year, thus hoping to create a “crazy festival,” where fans and artists can enjoy their time together.

The 2018 Asia Artist Awards will take place on November 28 at the Namdong Gymnasium in Incheon. Previously, Super Junior’s Leeteuk and actress Lee Sung-Kyung confirmed to be the MCs for the ceremony.

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Translated by Dasol Kim

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BTS to Make Special Appearance on “America’s Got Talent”

BTS confirms to make a special appearance on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”.

On August 6, NBC’s audition program “America’s Got Talent” announced the upcoming appearance of BTS through its official Twitter account. The tweet read as followed: “SCREAMING!! @bts_bighit is blessing the #AGT stage NEXT WEDNESDAY.”

https://twitter.com/AGT/status/1037502933640704000

Following the program’s official confirmation, Tyra Banks also announced the news through her official Twitter account:

https://twitter.com/tyrabanks/status/1037504256687788033

Thus, they have officially confirmed that BTS will be making a special appearance on “America’s Got Talent” next Wednesday, on September 12.

Meanwhile, BTS is currently in the United States for their “Love Yourself” world tour. In addition, the group released their another successful “Love Yourself: Answer” album on August 24, which had allowed them to top Billboard 200 chart for the second time, after “Love Yourself: Tear” album in May.

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Translated by Dasol Kim

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TWICE Announces Movie About Ongoing World Tour “TWICELAND”

TWICE announces upcoming film that chronicles through their ongoing world tour “TWICELAND ZONE 2: Fantasy Park”

On August 10, JYP Entertainment released a teaser poster regarding the upcoming film “TWICELAND” that contains real life behind-the-scene footage from the group’s ongoing world tour “TWICELAND ZONE 2: Fantasy Park.”

Image Source – JYP Entertainment

Through the upcoming film, the group hoped to meet fans in a rather new environment, that is silver screen. The movie aims for a premiere in the latter half of this year at various CGV theaters in Korea. Furthermore, it announced to show in a ScreenX format, a three-screen configuration that recently developed in Korea. The one additional screen will allow the audience to have a 270-degree viewing experience.

Regarding the film, TWICE members gathered together to briefly share their thoughts and opinions. Check out what they had to say in the video below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk282WKdVCY

Meanwhile, TWICE is currently on their second world tour, “TWICELAND ZONE 2: Fantasy Park” that stared in Seoul in May. Since then, the group has gone to Japan and Singapore to meet their international fans. In addition, the group has their first Japanese full album “BDZ” ahead of them, which is scheduled for a release on September 12.

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Translated by Dasol Kim

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BTS Becomes First Korean Group to Have Stadium Concert in America

Another record set by BTS in history of K-Pop: the group has become the first Korean artists to have a stadium concert in the U.S!

On August 9, it was confirmed that BTS added one more stop in their “Love Yourself” world tour by holding a concert at Citi Field stadium in New York on October 6.

Image Source – BigHit Entertainment

This stop is especially meaningful because it made them the first Korean group to hold a stadium concert in America. According to a source, about 40,000 seats are available for the concert at Citi Field, which is larger than any other venues the group has hold concerts before.

Previously, BTS had mentioned their wish to hold an international concert at a stadium during their interview with American press. With the upcoming concert in New York, the group achieves their dream and set another record in K-Pop history.

Meanwhile, the group is currently preparing to release their repackaged album “Love Yourself: Answer” on August 24. Afterwards, they will embark on another world tour, starting with Seoul on August 25 and 26. During the tour, BTS plans to hold in total of 33 concerts in 16 different cities around the world.

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Translated by Dasol Kim

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Wanna One to be Preparing Event to Celebrate 1 Year Anniversary

Amid world tour, Wanna One is currently preparing for an event to celebrate their first anniversary of debut with their fans!

On August 6, Swing Entertainment released a teaser to congratulate Wanna One on their first anniversary, as well as announce a special event to celebrate the special date. The image they uploaded on the official Instagram read as followed: “Wanna One 1st Anniversary. Thanks, Wannable!”

In the teaser image they released, it also hinted that something was “coming soon” regarding the first anniversary of the group. Immediately afterwards, fans speculated that the group was hosting a surprise event near Seoul to celebrate the special occasion.

However, Swing Entertainment responded to the reports and denied all speculations. The company said, “we are not hosting a guerrilla fan meeting. While the members are currently planning to do something, they will not actually invite fans to physically come to the event. We will release official details regarding the event later on.”

Image Source – Instagram @wannaone.official

Meanwhile, Wanna One is still on their world tour. On August 4 and 5, the group successfully finished their concerts in Bangkok, Thailand. Furthermore, they will continue their tour onto Melbourne on August 17, and to Taipei on August 25 and 26. Consequently, they will perform 18 concerts in 13 different cities, before returning to South Korea for the finale.

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Translated by Dasol Kim

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Wanna One Suffer Ongoing Emotional and Mental Stress Due to Stalker Fans

The ongoing behavior of Wanna One’s stalker fans continues to take a toll on the group.

Wanna One’s agency Swing Entertainment once again addressed the issue of stalker fans on July 29. “It has hurt Wanna One members and ordinary citizens too,” they said explaining that overzealous fans book the same flight and sometimes the same hotel as the artists.

As a result, they inevitably infringe on the group’s rest and privacy. Moreover, the agency said that as the “world tour progresses, the mental stress of the artist increases,” emphasizing the damage the fans’ behavior. Continuing, the agency said that if fans like the group, it is better to go to an official event like a fan meet or concert. Further, outside of those event Swing Entertainment asks fans to respect the member’s privacy.

Image source – OSEN News

This most recent announcement from Swing Entertainment comes after a fan-taken picture of what was purported to be Wanna One’s room in a hotel circulated online. In response, the agency denied its authenticity.

“It is 100 percent false, and nothing like that can happen,” they asserted. “The floor occupied by Wanna One is not accessible to outsider except relevant staff. We have 24-hour security teams along with staff at all places” where the group is, the agency explained. Additionally, the company requested that fans refrain from “staying in the (hotel’s) lobby, fitness center, swimming pool, hotel restaurant, elevator, parking lot, and taking photos and videos.”

On several occasions, Wanna One’s agencies (former YMC Entertainment) have openly confronted and addressed the group’s stalker fans. With each announcement, the group’s agencies have asked these overzealous persons to desist from infringing on the members’ personal time and trespassing on their property or their accommodations. Consequently, the group expressed that they are under emotional and psychological stress.

 

Original articles (1)(2)

Translated by O.C

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Swing Entertainment Responds to Wanna One’s Possible Contract Extension

Swing Entertainment says “we haven’t confirmed anything” on the reports of Wanna One’s possible contract extension.

On July 26, Swing Entertainment responded to reports of Wanna One’s possible contract extension. Earlier reports stated that agencies for 11 Wanna One members have gathered together to discuss the possible extension of the group’s activities.

Image Source – Instagram @wannaone.official

Gathered together were representatives of CJ E&M and Swing Entertainment, along with MMO, Maroo, Brand New, Pledis, CUBE, Fantagio, C9, and Star Crew Entertainment. The main topic of this meeting was Wanna One’s possible contract extension, which they had briefly discussed back in January.

According to the original contract, the group is supposed to disband on December 31, 2018. However, the agencies had gathered to discuss the possibility of extending the contract for about one more month. If this were to pass, the boys would have enough time to prepare for and attend various ceremonies normally held at the beginning of a new year.

While the opinions of the actual Wanna One members matter the most, they were not able to attend the meeting due to the ongoing world tour. Swing Entertainment explained that their absence was the reason that they weren’t able to finalize any decisions.

In conclusion, the agency said, “we have discussed many different ways regarding the contract extension. However, we weren’t able to come to a decision that we all agreed unanimously. This is something that requires multiple meetings and debates.”

Meanwhile, Wanna One is currently on the world tour, “One: The World,” traveling across the globe to meet international fans.

Original Article (1), (2)
Translated by Dasol Kim

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