11:30 am - 05/04/2011

South Korean pop music rides YouTube, Internet tools to Europe

SEOUL, May 4 (Yonhap) -- The Louvre Museum in Paris isn't normally associated with South Korean pop culture. But last weekend, hundreds of young French people rallied in front of the historic museum, calling for an extra Korean pop music concert.

After tickets for a June 10 show sold out in just 15 minutes, the flash mob picketed and danced to the Korean tunes in a mostly harmless gathering, while demanding another concert be scheduled. They wanted their chance to see their favorite South Korean stars without having to pay an exorbitant amount of money for scalped tickets.

Experts and record label executives here say such a rally won't likely be a one-time event, as Korean pop music, branded "K-pop," continues to ride the wave of video-sharing Web sites, social networking services (SNS) and other Internet tools to international prominence.

The popularity of Korean pop culture, known as "Hallyu," or literally the "Korean Wave," had previously been confined to Asia. South Korean artists would make charts in Japan and would draw big crowds at occasional shows in China or Taiwan, but selling out concerts in Paris is a relatively recent development.

Min Ji-eun, a France-based stringer for the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange, said there have been other, similar rallies across France since late last month to call for more Korean concerts.

"During rallies on May 1, French fans were joined by those from Madrid and Barcelona," Min said. "This Saturday, in Lyon and Marseilles, people from Munich are planning to have their rally."

YouTube, the world's largest video-sharing site, has played a major role in the growing popularity of K-pop, officials here say.

According to YG Entertainment
, one of South Korea's major talent agencies, the YouTube channel for its boy band named Big Bang has attracted 5.7 million visits from Europe from December last year to the start of this month.

The quintet, which debuted in 2006, recently broke its two-year hiatus with a chart-topping EP. Big Bang ranked first in an online poll of favorite South Korean boy bands on the Web site kpopfrance.com, a K-pop site for French fans. Another YG acts, 2NE1, topped the list for favorite girl groups.

A male duo, TVXQ, reached No. 4 on the United World Chart operated by a German site, Media Traffic, with its album "Keep Your Head Down" in January this year.

S.M. Entertainment, a rival agency of YG that has produced popular groups such as Girls' Generation and Super Junior, said its YouTube channel has drawn 80 million hits since June 2009.

"Fans from all over Europe -- France, Britain and Italy -- visit our channel and write comments,"
an official from S.M. said. "International fans stay up to date on our artists through this channel. Last year, when members of Super Junior went to Italy for personal vacations, they were greeted by some 300 fans at the airport. That showed us how popular Korean musicians have become (in Europe)."

In February, a French cable channel called Canal + did a feature on a new South Korean boy band, Teen Top, and a Belgium state broadcaster introduced K-pop groups SHINee and Girls' Generation to the local audience.

Yang Hyun-suk, head of YG Entertainment, said his company has been trying to capitalize on Internet tools to market its acts across the world.

"In this day and age, people find the content they want on the Internet," Yang said. "And for years, we at YG have been marketing our artists through YouTube. In addition to music videos, we also upload clips from TV programs after going over copyright issues. That's brought us fans from the U.S., Europe and South Africa." [Based on next sentence I suspect that he meant South America instead South Africa]

Yang said will.i.am, a member of the Black Eyed Peas currently visiting Seoul for a show, told him that he was surprised to meet so many fans of 2NE1, an all-girl quartet, in Brazil, where he'd recently performed.

Kim Young-min, head of S.M., points to the high quality of Korean pop music.

"We've been producing global contents using our wide networks," Kim said. "A top European composer would write a song, an American choreographer would build dance moves and a Korean producer would put together the whole package. And a Korean artist would sing in different languages, too. These contents are competitive in the global market because they've been produced through global networks."

Yang said the French fans' rally at the Louvre was "great news" for Korean pop culture as a whole.

"That contents of Korean pop culture are so loved in Europe is encouraging in terms of expanding our horizons," Yang said. "The power of cultural contents leads to other added values, such as improved national image. The word Hallyu isn't enough to aptly describe this phenomenon."


Source: OrientExtreme
fairchilds 4th-May-2011 02:06 pm (UTC)
oh wow i genuinely had no idea they were so beloved in Europe.
notochrasy 4th-May-2011 02:10 pm (UTC)
lol I can't help but think of all the tourists that day, visiting the Louvre and wondering what the hell was going on.

but good job europe~
festives 4th-May-2011 03:03 pm (UTC)
there are lots of korean/japanese/chinese people there. i wonder if anyone noticed them.
kou_ki 4th-May-2011 02:11 pm (UTC)
All the official mvs and vids of JYP, SM and YG are blocked in Germany... Thank you very much -.-
ashiva 4th-May-2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
You can thank too strict demands of German copyright authorities for that.
timetobegin 4th-May-2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
...Belgium state broadcaster introduced K-pop groups SHINee and Girls' Generation to the local audience.

WHAAAAT?! Kpop is closing in on The Netherlands, this makes me happy :)
jcdhwg 4th-May-2011 03:36 pm (UTC)
Yes QmusicBelgium played SNSD this saturday, Mr. taxi ^^
the_erotomanic 4th-May-2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
they should've asked someone from jyp. they seem like they're more active with their web presence compared to sme. sme mostly just posts music videos in their youtube channel. they don't even have a dedicated channel for each of their artists unlike jyp and yge. and jyp and yge already translate their own stuff.
harbour_jane 4th-May-2011 02:31 pm (UTC)
why is the title of this so funny to me.
itangeisha 4th-May-2011 02:56 pm (UTC)
fuck i didn't expected them to be so many at the flashmob o_____________________o
festives 4th-May-2011 03:05 pm (UTC)
there are more of us than people think! but ide... sometimes it feels like people treat europe like a country. it makes me sad. AND scandinavia should be an option since we borrow them composers...
festives 4th-May-2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
lmao idek why i'm so touched by the video. almost started crying. ;o;
lydzi 4th-May-2011 03:11 pm (UTC)
Lol ok.
jaejunggim 4th-May-2011 03:44 pm (UTC)
lol your icon
kanintallrik 4th-May-2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
tl;dr, 2nd date yet?
jcdhwg 4th-May-2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
June 9th
panna_pierogowa 4th-May-2011 04:26 pm (UTC)
I don't care if anyone feels embarrassed by these flash-mobs if thanks to this I'll get a second date ~~

I didn't get a ticket so if they do 2nd concert (and I will be able to buy a ticket this time)I will bring to Paris best polish sweets and give them to this French, Spanish and German fans as a "thank you". I would treat you all shot of vodka but I think I can't afford this
asiapopsecret 4th-May-2011 04:35 pm (UTC)
Why is K-pop not as big as this in the US?!
aures 4th-May-2011 04:47 pm (UTC)
because we in europe only have really bad music (really only UK stuff is good) so we look for better things haha
letsrelapse 4th-May-2011 05:16 pm (UTC)
I wish I had enough money to go to France again/SMTown... Good to see exposure for Europe though! :)
meganvio 4th-May-2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
ngl I think it would be really cool to dance to Sorry Sorry with a big mob like that
prlsb4swiine 5th-May-2011 12:57 am (UTC)
yes~ there'd be so many people dancing no one notice the fails <3
k0dama SM stop bragging about your only good point.5th-May-2011 01:41 am (UTC)
"Kim Young-min, head of S.M., points to the high quality of Korean pop music."

"high quality"

jetaime_pyon 5th-May-2011 07:00 am (UTC)

i am so glad this disaster has not invaded russia.
itsbrendaa_sj 5th-May-2011 11:21 am (UTC)

BUT SO DOES AUSTRALIA- ya know melbourne just had a kpop flashmob about 2 weeks ago- 400 kpop fans rocked up- from melbourne alone

kpop come here please!

earenya_beryl 6th-May-2011 11:11 pm (UTC)
Here in March, one broadcast radio channel had a field day of Suju on the morning before their concert day, so it was nice to hear them on my Radio on the way to work instead of from my MP3. Kpop is getting bigger everywhere it seems...gone were the days when I get weird looks for even using the word Kpop.
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