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Must Read:The Future of Kpop: Why Kpop Is Becoming A Thing In The Past

By Staff Writer | February 22, 2017 09:58 PM EST


K-pop, an extremely popular music genre which took over Asia by storm, seemed to be at the edge of a cliff after a series of unfortunate events occurred for the past months. Inevitable questions arise about the fate of South Korean pop culture when a total of seven K-pop groups, two groups since the beginning of 2017, finally called it quits.

The five-member group Wonder Girls which is first the ever K-pop group to make it to the US Billboard Hot 100 with the hit song "Nobody" in 2009 released their final single "Draw Me" last Friday. It also served as their celebration for their 10th anniversary since debut, as cited in an article on CNN.

Some wonders about the future of K-pop as 2017 became undeniably the crucial year for the genre. Fans across the globe, from as far as St. Louis, Missouri, to the Philippines, were expressing their great sorrow on Twitter about the "era ending". Paul Han, who is a co-founder of a famous K-pop gossip and news "Allkpop", was also dismayed to see the groups disbanding after their popularity has slowly shrunk and unfortunately they received fewer promotions and eventually came to an end.

The "Kings of K-pop" Bigbang who have ruled the charts for a decade held their farewell concert on January before going on a temporary break. After multi-years spent as idols, selling millions of albums and having toured all over the world, girl groups Kara, 2NEI, 4Minute, I.O.I and Rainbow have also disbanded.

In the early 1990s, K-pop spring in South Korea when labels such as JYP, DSP, and YG designed a training program which produced stars for the music, soap operas and movies and builds the nation's very own famous pop industry.

The popular genre first caught the global attention when Wonder Girls performed for the opening on the tour of Jonas Brother in 2009. Two years after, boy band Big Bang made notably achievement when their album "Alive" made it to the Billboard 200 as the first Korean-language K-pop album to do so. But it was in 2012 that marked the shockingly tremendous popularity of K-pop when famous Korean idol PSY released his single "Gangnam Style" and quickly made it to Top 2 on the Billboard 100. It even gained unimaginable billions of view on YouTube.

The unfortunate disbandment of groups come down to multiple of reasons. According to Herman, contracts of K-pop groups usually last for seven years and since many of the biggest groups debuted in 2009 and 2010, it was normally expected for several groups to disband soon. However, it was still good to say that many K-pop acts have lasted longer than the Western pop groups such as the Spice Girls which lasted for four years, Destiny's Child at nine, and *NSYNC seven.


Herman also added that K-pop stars are prevented from engaging in any kind of scandal that may harm their images such as dating and getting plastic surgeries. They are strongly obliged to maintain a highly polished image.

As reported by South Korean news agency Yonhap, two of the main reasons why the hip-hop girl group 2NE1 split in November even if their popularity never fades was due to one of the member's having a health issue and other member leaving the group which made them decide to just disband the group.

As to the disbandment of other said girl groups, record labels DSP (Kara and Rainbow) and JYP (Wonder Girls and I.O.I) failed to give comments on certain issues other than confirming the groups' disbanding though the JYP press team added that the Wonder Girls disbandment should not be in talk since it was kind of a sensitive issue.

For YG Entertainment's boy group Bigbang, it was said that the members will go on a mandatory military service. This could at least take 4 years for the band to be out of commission and the possibility of regrouping will be in a talk.

Girls vs Boys

As reported by the Fuse TV Senior Editor Jeff Benjamin, who covers the genre, boy bands may be "better investments" than girl groups since on average, the albums' sales and a number of Asian tours tickets sold by the boy bands greatly surpassed girl groups even though girl groups sell more singles than them. So if the numbers of the disbandment between girl groups and boy groups were to be weight, girls were likely to outnumber the boys.

Some groups are envisioned to have a restricted life.

In 2016, through a reality show called "Produce 101" on Mnet, a major group of 11 members from different labels was joined to form a group known as I.O.I. The girl group was originally planned to sign a one-year contract and would disband after the agreement. Han said that it was despairing reality but at least the fans could see a refreshing way of forming groups. It was like welcoming a "hot and new" way and discarding the old.

K-pop's future

However, some still believe that the new generations of acts such as the co-ed group K.A.R.D., newly formed girl group Black Pink, and leaders plus singers G-Dragon (from Big Bang) and CL (2NEI) can help the future of K-pop sustain its popularity.

K-pop concerts are still being sold by different stadiums like Staples Center and Prudential Center. US and South Korean artists are continuously doing more collaborations that are well-appreciated by fans. Han added that Allkpop site has gained more active users from the US than any other country as cited on All Korean Drama.

Benjamin also expressed his major worries when he saw the biggest groups which are the leaders generation of K-pop like the Big Bang, Girls' Generation, 2NE1, and Wonder Girls slowly becoming inactive with their activities and wondered how the future of K-pop would look like. He also added that due to the social media and YouTube, the new groups have quickly growing international fan bases than their predecessors had, and he described the fact that these fans are already part of K-pop scene as auspicious.

Tagged :  kpop, kpop, Kpop Stars, kpop girl group, kpop star 2


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