[Opinion] Why K-Pop Is More than Just a Genre


Let’s break this down simply, K-Pop = Korean pop. Pop music is a genre; therefore K-Pop can be called a genre of music. Despite this, I have seen the term used many times to describe much more than just the music and this got me thinking: Is K-Pop more than just a genre?

When we look at K-Pop we initially see the addictive music, the amazing dance choreography, and let’s be honest, the incredibly good looking stars. But there is so much more to this “world” than just the performances.

Let’s first look at endorsements. Other than actors, who else are used so much for endorsements as K-Pop idols? They will endorse the kinds of things that you wouldn’t expect them to. Shout out to all those who know how much Onew loves the chicken (I know some of you get this joke)! Another example is during an episode of “We Got Married” with Seohyun from SNSD, on Yongseo‘s 22nd day annivesary, where Yuri was holding up a sign saying there was an urgent need for blood type A donation.

The significance of this is because of the staggering amount of products K-Pop stars endorse. Even if someone doesn’t know their music, they will recognize their faces. This brings K-Pop into the culture’s spotlight and merges the musical world with the everyday consumer. Look, for example, at the promotions of the Lollipop phone. There is not just one song (2NE1 and Big Bang) promoting it, but two songs (Big Bang)!

Then we have the television and movie appearances. On variety shows such as “Star Golden Bell” or “Running Man,” you will always see K-Pop stars rubbing shoulders with television and/or movie stars. They are in no way below the actors or comedians on the scale of fame, especially considering some idols act as well (ex: T-ara’s Eunjung, Miss A’s Suzy, Big Bang’s TOP, to name but a few). Yes, K-Pop idols aren’t just amazing singers and dancers – they act too! But that’s not even the full extent; we then have radio shows run by idols such as Super Junior’s “Kiss The Radio.”

K-Pop stars are also made ambassadors of places or charities. They really have permeated culture through their music, and the idols can be found anywhere, to an extent they can’t just be called singers. Look at Yoon Eun Hye for example. She was a singer in the group Baby V.O.X and through dramas such as “Coffee Prince“, “Lie To Me,” and “Goong,” she has moved on to become a very famous actress, not to mention a well sought after model.

K-Pop has become more than a genre to some: it has become a word that describes a whole culture of talented individuals, and to some even a lifestyle. If you look in forums such as Soompi’s or on sites like Tumblr, you will find very rich and entertaining parts of the fandom that dedicate more than just a few minutes to listening to a song. Whole blogs are made in dedication to their favorite stars, even some where you can ask an idol a question and someone will draw an entertaining picture as a response in the voice of that idol. There are inside jokes, fantasy couples (a.k.a. “shipping”), and a multitude of fan fiction. Fans adore these groups and spend so much time watching, reading, or listening to them that they feel much more connected than just as a fan.

Why is K-Pop more than a genre to me? I feel like the word is too small for the fandom. The sheer magnitude of it shows that it’s become more than the music. It’s no longer just a genre – K-Pop has become a lifestyle to some.

By the way, if you do not already know about Tumblr, or have one already, here are some that I personally follow and am constantly entertained by. These are just a couple of MANY Tumblr blogs dedicated to the world, or universe, of K-Pop.

http://imkdramaobsessed.tumblr.com/ (All about Kdramas)
http://epitoneproductions.tumblr.com/ (Amazing Kpop remixes)
http://koreanphotoshoots.tumblr.com/ (All about Korean photoshoots)
http://fyeahkoreanstars.tumblr.com/ (Focusing on Korean stars.)
http://askseungri.tumblr.com/ (Ask “Seungri” (fan run, not actually Seungri,) a question and he will reply with a picture!

And of course for a giant directory of Kpop related blogs go to http://kpopdirectory.tumblr.com/ to look for specific groups or artists.

*Note: The content of this article represents views and policies solely of the writer, and in no way represents the editorial stance of Soompi.com or the whole editorial board.