Global Rise of Korean Pop Music with Social Media

Unless you have been living under a rock; almost everyone knows that Korean Pop (Kpop) has become a global phenomenon and it is new biggest thing happening right now in the global music industry. Thorough out this blog, I am going to discuss what brings Kpop music to the place where it is now.

If anyone is wondering about ‘what is Kpop?’ here is the answer. Korean Pop music which simply known as ‘Kpop’ is originating in South Korea. It generates all types of music genres similar to western music (JungBong and Maliangkay, 2015). But what makes it different is Kpop is always gets mixed up with traditional Korean music and it is unique. In addition, there are huge numbers of groups than solo artists who make Kpop music. What is more interesting is these group can consists 2 to 15 members; sometimes more. 20 years before, Kpop was only popular in East Asia countries including Japan, Taiwan, China, and Vietnam. However, thanks to evolution of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and all other social Medias, Kpop now has become popular all over the world.

Remember when the song ‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy came out in 2012, at that time most people didn’t even know it was a Korean song. When ‘Gangnam Style’ started to play in the club, no doubt you all danced to it probably while singing wrong lyrics. And it succeeds to capture more than 2.9 billion views on YouTube. If it was not published through YouTube it could have became another song or a song just popular in South Korea. Since then, the song played almost every single radio and TV stations around the world. Also, we can’t forget Korea’s most successful girl group Girl’s Generation winning ‘Video of the Year’ at very first YouTube Music Awards in 2013 beating all western chart toppers such as One Direction, Lady gaga, Justin Bieber and more (Benjamin, 2013). And that’s what we call the ‘impact of social media’.

South Korea is well known for their marketing strategies. South Korean marketers know how to keep up with the current marketing trends. It is same as when it comes to its’ music industry. That’s why Korean music entertainment agencies following these trends to bring Kpop to global market.

One of their strategies is Social Media Marketing. 7-8 years ago entertainment agencies used YouTube only to upload official Music Videos. Things have changed. Nowadays, they update variety shows, Korean covers of western songs, Daily life diaries etc. Not only YouTube, making an account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter even before the artist debut has become a new tactic to communicate with fans and potential fans. Rather than investing money on advertising, entertainment agency marketers invest money on YouTube video and it’s actually worth it. Why; these videos reach millions of views and all these views are not coming from South Korea but from all over the world.


Source: (Social Media Marketing Strategy, 2016)

Korean entertainment companies used to follow B2C model since their businesses are fan-oriented. However, emerging social media impacted to change the B2C model to B2B model which is new social media dependent-based model (Ingyu and Gilung, 2012).  According to Ingyu and Gilung, (2012) who carried out research study on ‘selling Kpop in age of new social media’ pointed out the reason behind the change of strategy model for Kpop is that, most of these social medias’ contents are free and easy to share. Thus, spreading to global market is much easier. SM Entertainment; the top player in South Korea stated that, “unlike TV and radio, YouTube is the first global mechanism that allows producers like us to advertise our music while instantly selling it by charging fees either to downloaders or to advertisers.” (SM’s CEO Young-Min Kim).

They were absolutely right. As a result, Kpop music videos are gaining millions of views, have millions of followers on twitter and Instagram. Kpop artists keep nominating for western music award shows. 7 member boy group ‘Bangtan Boys’ known as ‘BTS’ won Top Social Artist award at 2017 Billboard music awards proving that Kpop trend only has started. In addition, EXO, BTS, Got7, all of these Korean groups’ world tour tickets got sold out within 1 minute.


To sum up, according to the above discussion, it is crystal clear that Kpop music industry came long way with the help of social media and it has only started. Thanks to social medias, a music industry which was only known in East Asia now is trending globally.

What do you think about Kpop? and did you also got to know Kpop through Social Medias? Please share your thoughts in the comments.




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