[Opinion] K-Pop ISN’T taking over the world? Don’t make me laugh

NOTE: This is an article of opinion, not fact, I don’t think K-Pop is HUGE in America or out of Asia, but I think it is slowly taking over. It’s an article written to start a friendly debate so if you disagree with what is written here then that’s fine, it’s all opinion!

According to Esther Oh, writer on CNNGo, the concept that Korean pop is expanding overseas is completely overblown. Apparently the idea is exaggerated and to some people that is a notion they agree with. I think that K-Pop is under estimated and that it’s growing very fast under the radar, especially in the last year.

Many look at Se7en and BoA‘s attempt to break the market of the US and think that the Hallyu wave is over. Some even look at JYJ‘s “The Beginning” as a disaster in the American market, despite the fact that Kanye West worked on the album. It’s hard to disagree; not many will say they were successful. Ironically enough Se7en then released “Digital Bounce” which in my mind is his best album ever, but that’s another story.

I agree that not every group should be filed under the name Hallyu Wave, but the wave is there and it is something we cannot ignore. The Wonder Girls may have been a support act for the Jonas Brothers, which to some is a big deal and to some it is offensive, but let’s not forget their Billboard success.

They even reached number 31 on the 2010 Hot Single Sales Chart with ‘Nobody,’ and Nobody” was also the #1 song on Billboard’s year end chart for “Hot Singles Sales” in 2009. [Info via Soompi use n3ssa_chan] 

Rain, well what can I tell you about Rain that you don’t already know? How can we tackle the argument of Rain not being a world wide star? Well, let me give you some examples and you can form your own opinion.

How about Rain winning TIME magazines “TIME 100” online poll….again. He also won in 2006 and 2007, and placed in second in 2008. Well, as TIME put it, “trouncing competitors from Barack Obama to Lady Gaga”.

Or how about this? (Note: When I watched this on TV I jumped around screaming in happiness.) Yes, Rain’s acting in Ninja Assassin got him the MTV America Movie Award for “Biggest Badass” beating out films Star Trek, Clash of the Titans and G.I. Joe. Is it me or did Jackie Chan look super happy that Rain won? (Side note, they’re friends in real life.)

I saw “Ninja Assassin” and Rain definitely was a bad ass, but okay that’s Hollywood. Could it be just the action fans voting? Well, to give this idea some kind of perspective, how about we use another example with Rain.

For those who are not familiar with the show, The Colbert Report is an American satire show on the Comedy Central channel, hosted by Stephen Colbert, which focuses on the latest news, specifically focusing on politics a lot. (Colbert once wanted to run for American president…..I am not kidding you.)

So when a man, who has a large audience and has enough respect and pull that he co-hosted a rally in Washington DC, mentions someone, surely they’re the hottest topic right? Be it Osama Bin Laden’s death or the strange obsession people have with Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” Colbert has his finger on the pulse. He only talks about what is relevant.

Wait….he talked about Rain? More than once? Oh yes, yes he did, and here is the proof. Go to about 4:50, the rest is about politics, it’s a serious show but Colbert can never be serious.

And yes that is Colbert doing a parody of a Rain music video. But do not worry, it’s all in the name of fun and you can watch the whole Colbert VS Rain saga here including, and yes I am serious again, a DANCE OFF between the two.

The fact that his American claim to fame is mainly a support role in Speed Racer and the main role in Ninja Assassin, and he still gets this kind of attention, then he must be doing something right. There are so many other examples to use, but how about Rain performing with German cellist Jan Vogler and then being shown on German TV, Rain fans appeared in force, and what has he done in Germany to promote. To be so well known in places you don’t actively promote, well isn’t that a sign of being a world star?

But is this worthy of a Hallyu wave? Rain definitely is someone who could do this, but is there someone, or maybe a certain group waiting in the wings?

When I say YG, you’ll automatically think Big Bang right? Especially considering the fact they filmed the MV for “Tonight” in Las Vegas but I am not talking about them. First, let me throw out a statistic.

Who has won seven Grammy’s and as part of his group sold collectively more than 56 million records worldwide so far? That would be William James Adams Jnr aka Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas. It just so happens that this global super star is the very man who is going to assist 2NE1 with their US debut. He says they are “special” and “destined” for something, he says he plans to make them “global superstars,” and during the release of the animated movie, in which he did voice acting for, who did he talk about?

Yes, he talked about 2NE1, the group he says he wants to make big in “every country,” and how he plans to do for 2NE1 what he did with the Black Eyed Peas. It hasn’t happened yet, and some may say it may not, but with someone like Will.I.Am so passionate about it, let’s be honest, when it comes to hits, has he been wrong yet?

That MV and song that we all know and love says NO. Okay so that’s America, and even celebrity blogger Perez Hilton loves K-Pop (2NE1 are mentioned so that’s relevant,) but what about the rest of the world? When I ask people where they think there is NO K-Pop presence at all, and what place they think a Hallyu wave is least likely, many say Europe and it’s surrounding area, and up until recently I agreed. But then signs started to show that I could, like many, have been wrong. Before Rain was shown on German TV the country of Serbia even became part of a K-Pop scandal, and now SM Entertainment are holding auditions in Kazakhstan, which a small portion is in Europe. But all this is small when compared to what is happening this week.

Before SM Entertainment announced SM Town Paris, a friend of mine shared a rumor that SM were going to hold a concert in France, she had heard this from reliable sources so we were excited. However, with our reservations on the scale of love for K-Pop in Europe, we expected a small concert. I remember we said “there’s no way SNSD or TVXQ would be there.” Well, we were glad to eat our words!

Not only did SM Town Paris sell out in fifteen minutes, but a flash mob was held to get a second concert which was then created by SM Entertainment. The French fans that my friend and I (who is a French K-Pop fan) managed to convince SM Entertainment to add a second concert date? That shows popularity!

Have you noticed at pattern from my examples yet? America might be a big thing for Korean companies, they might feel like getting into the American market is “making it” but that might just be the opinion of non industry insiders. Yes some examples were America, but also other places. And it’s not just Europe, many other places want K-Pop, I have seen huge responses from Australia, (where SHINee tested the waters,) and places like Brazil. K-Pop is leaving Asia at an accelerated rate and America does not mean the world. K-Pop might not be as popular out of Asia as inside but if you need to, go back over some of the examples I gave and can we really dispute that in the past year the Hallyu wave hasn’t grown? This might not be an overnight venture, but Korean entertainment is slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Considering the fact my wife, who knows close to nothing about K-Pop, but has SNSD, Big Bang, and 2NE1 on her ipod, K-Pop is laying foundations for a cultural invasion.

I agree with Esther Oh’s thoughts on how some things were seen as a Hallyu Wave when they were just testing the water but with such a strong title as “K-Pop taking over the world? Don’t make me laugh,” well I have to disagree with her thinking a Hallyu Wave doesn’t exist. Who knows, I might be eating my words but I personally believe within the next two years K-Pop will become a well known global word and the Hallyu wave will spread worldwide. Esther Oh might be right saying K-Pop hasn’t taken over the world right now, but it’s slowly spreading, and when someone says it hasn’t taken over the world, I say it hasn’t taken over, yet.
Esther Oh’s stance is not wrong, and neither is mine as it’s all a matter of opinion. Do you think there is a Hallyu wave taking over the world? Or do you think it’s all blown out of proportion and we won’t see a global K-Pop boom soon? Let’s get this debate going!
Original CCNGo article here

PS: This is not an attack on Esther Oh, her opinions, nor CNNGO. This article is exclusively the opinion of the author, not Soompi LLC, and is done in good spirits to spark friendly debate.