How much do kpop backup dancers make
I Went to South Korea to Become A K-Pop Idol Backup Dancer
All images courtesy of the author.
It all started with Hoya.
If you’ve ever been involved in K-Pop fandom, you’ll know the saying, “You don’t choose your bias, your bias chooses you.”
In simpler terms, all fans experience attraction to particular members of K-pop bands. For me, Hoya of INFINITE was the one. He had been dancing since he was young, even dropping out of high school in South Korea in order to pursue his dream of becoming a singer. The sacrifice he made to chase his dreams inspired me to do the same, and perhaps this was why he meant so much to me.
This was in 2012. At the time, I was 19 and delusional. I was also confused about what to do after completing my A Levels. My classmates and friends were entering university, many of them with majors that matched their A level results. A common sentiment expressed was that their majors were not super interesting, but they were doing it because it might be “helpful” in the future.
As for me, the only thing I knew for sure was that I loved dancing, K-Pop, and bubble tea. I would do almost anything to just pursue my dream and get closer to those god-like idols. Hence my decision to become a background dancer—because I would be working in a close environment with idols; I would get to know them personally, which is basically every fangirl’s dream.
I was sure only that I did not want to be stuck in a competitive studying environment. I wanted to land a job that would get the majority of K-Pop fans jealous (ie. idol managers, makeup and hair stylists, music producers, background dancers, etc).
All along, I’ve been what we call a ‘guai kia’, and this was probably the only time I went against my parents’ wishes.
Like many other Asian parents, mine would have preferred that I become a lawyer, doctor, businessman, or something along those lines. ‘Entertainer’ or ‘musician’ would never have crossed their minds.
So when I first told them of my plan, they thought I was out of my mind. I did not know the language, and there was literally no one that I knew in Korea.
For a while, there was no peace at home. Yet I believed that I needed to do what I wanted to do. In the K-Pop industry, the younger you step into the industry, the higher the chance of you succeeding. This was also a case where the more my parents didn’t allow it, the more I wanted to do it.
And so I made a choice that many of my friends and family members could not understand. I left the sunny island, Singapore. Every time I recall that moment, I always wonder where my courage came from.
I did not speak of also wanting to become a background dancer; I said only that I wanted to go to South Korea for my university studies.
When I arrived in South Korea in August 2012, I began my basic Korean language studies. During that year and a half, I went for dance classes, and this was when I found out that I literally sucked at it.
In Korea, the education system is completely different. Over there, different schools cater to different needs, and the performing arts is actually a very popular choice of study. Some begin as early as 13, and often, kids start to get serious about dancing at around 16 or so. The students whom I attended the same dance class with were younger yet way more skilful. These kids knew the basics of hip hop (bounce, isolation, wave etc), while I knew nothing.
Having only joined my school’s dance club as a CCA when I first entered secondary school, I never really underwent the ‘training’ system. I was alright but not good.
Every time we finished learning a choreography, the instructors would allow us to take videos of ourselves. Monitoring my own videos, I noticed how I was always the one lacking in power and emotions. Instead of giving me the confidence, it began to drain my morale, and I did not know how to practise to improve my skills.
I knew that I shouldn’t have been comparing myself to the other girls who danced professionally, yet I couldn’t help myself. This was even though I knew that while I was at school, they were also dancing and building up their skills.
By the end of my Korean language studies, I had gone for 3 different background dancer auditions. I failed them all.
For quite a while, my lowered self esteem put me off my dream, making me wonder if I would really ever to make it as a dancer. At the same time, I had started my first year in university, and the only thought I had was to blend into Korean university life and make friends. I joined my school’s street dance club and it opened my eyes to a whole new level of dancing. With my busy schedule, I also lacked the time to chase after K-Pop idols; it forced me to focus more on school and socialising.
Out of the new batch of freshies that joined the street dance club, only a few had previous dance backgrounds, so we just started from the basics. It was tough, but by the end of the year, I could already feel myself improving. We organised freestyle dance battles, and it was during those moments that I truly let myself listen to the music and let my body take over my mind. I was happy and since I lived in the dormitory, I could easily access the student union building where our practice room was.
And then, at the end of year 2, I saw the recruitment notice from one of the dance teams that I had auditioned for years ago.
Maybe because it felt like my last chance, or maybe I wanted to know how much I had improved during the past 2 years. Eventually, I ended up applying for the audition because who knew what could happen?
Surprisingly, I passed.
I was 22 and halfway through my undergraduate studies. If I were to really commit to this, it would mean taking a term break, which I could not afford to do so.
As part of my student visa, there was a lot of restrictions basically stating that if I were to take a semester off, the university would contact the immigration office to revoke my student visa. I would then have to leave and enter Korea using a tourist visa, before applying for the student visa all over again if I wanted to continue my studies. Not to mention, I would also have to explain to my parents what I had been up to.
Still, I did not want to give up this rare opportunity that had been given to me.
Perhaps it was the way I was brought up, or perhaps I was content with where I had finally gotten to in life. I questioned whether I really needed this. Since I wasn’t that into K-Pop anymore, I didn’t see myself ‘needing’ to become a background dancer. I thought that if things didn’t work out, hey, at least I still had a university degree.
It was my winter holidays when I decided to go for practice anyway. When I got there, it was nothing like I expected.
Including me, there were 5 girls who had passed the audition. I still vividly remember being the oldest, with the youngest being only 18. Was I stressed? Definitely.
The first thing we were told to do after entering the dance studio was to clean it up. So we took the broom and vacuum cleaner, and went to work making sure the place was spotless before the remaining ‘sunbaes’ (seniors in Korean) arrived.
I then spent the next 8 to 9 hours learning a choreography over and over again with only water breaks in between. When they finally said we could go, I almost burst into tears on the train home. It was definitely not what I had expected.
All this time, the background dancers that I had followed on Instagram appeared so happy and close to each other. Compared to the repetitive instructions and scoldings I received, the team that I had imagined joining seemed like a lot more fun.
Call me naive, but this was what I thought—that we would be dancing happily and making wonderful memories with one another.
But because of how physically and mentally challenging it was, I felt the urge to just quit. I was hungry and tired, and when my roommates asked me where I had been the entire day, I could not help but let the tears fall.
Since young, I’ve not been someone with the best health. I used to have asthma, and had several fainting episodes in primary and secondary school, and then in JC. It was embarrassing, but with my weak stamina I would not function well if I didn’t have my 7 hours of sleep daily. I felt that at this rate, my love for dancing would literally kill me.
Being alone in this foreign country made this worse. Sure, I had the friends I made there, but nothing compares to the love you feel in a family. Without the support and encouragement, it was hard having to go through this alone.
Korean culture is also very hierarchical, and I felt this clearly in my team of background dancers, unlike back in my university’s dance team where it was a very family-like atmosphere.
It was not easy deciding if I still wanted to do this, but I felt that it would be a waste if I were to just let go of what was basically the reason why I left Singapore. Many idols wannabes would also think that it was a super rare opportunity to make it into the team.
I plucked up my courage and went for practice the next day. It felt even worse since I was not able to rest well the day before, and we were also told to bring our heels; they were going to judge the way we walked in them.
Halfway through a break, one of the ‘unnies’ (older sister in Korean) came over to tell another girl and I that we had to lose 5kg. I was not even surprised. As a K-Pop fangirl, I had heard so many stories of idol trainees being told to lose weight. I was 163cm tall and weighed 51kg. I believed I was ‘decent’ for someone of my height.
It got me thinking: if the people sharing the same stage as idols have to go through something like this, how much worse is it for the idols themselves? Once again, we were not given meal breaks, and I thought to myself that I would lose the 5kg in no time.
At the end of the day, I felt weak and sick of what I had to endure. Instead of feeling the joy and delight I used to feel whenever I danced, I felt abused and disappointed.
Before I finally snuggled under my warm blankets that night, I texted the person in charge and told her that I could not go through the training anymore; I had decided to leave the team on a good note. She agreed.
This experience opened my eyes to the realities of Korean idol culture, and how the industry works. For those who wonder if I regret my decision, I would say both yes and no at the same time. I had tried simply because I thought that the background dance scene would not be as bad as those of the K-Pop idol trainees.
Perhaps if I were younger and did not have the commitment to my studies, there might be a chance that I would just stay to train my ass off, just like how many young Koreans would. In Singapore, the judgment of others and importance of completing my formal education would never allow me to make it happen.
On the other hand, I did not regret leaving the team because I eventually realised that turning my hobby into a career was a mistake. I had tried and it did not suit me.
I also realised: the attention I could receive on stage with K-Pop idols would be only temporary. What would I be left with after that?
I remained in contact with one of the girls on that same dance team. A month later, she told me she had left as well because she couldn’t take the strenuous practice. She also shared that another girl had arrived after I left, only to leave two days later.
Sometimes, I still look up at the team’s group Instagram account, and the only familiar face I spot is that of the youngest girl. She was only a high school graduate at the time, and had mentioned that she did not have plans to further her studies in either dancing or other majors. Maybe that was why she stayed; she too needed to survive in this harsh society.
Earlier this year in February, I completed my Bachelors degree in Media and Communication and International Studies. Just a month ago, I also performed at my university’s annual event as an alumni, where I gave one of my best performances of my 12 years of dancing.
Looking at the weekly K-Pop music shows and seeing the background dancers now and then, I still think about what might have happened had I persevered.
Yet quickly enough, the thoughts of going through the horrible things I had experienced would resurface. After all, the rigid and repetitive system of the team isn’t easy for anyone to accommodate.
Across my years in university, I had also discovered an interest in writing, leading me to pursue a path in other things that are also related to K-Pop. Call me superstitious, but as a Libra, I still feel the need to balance what I like with what I can do. I find peace when I stumble on the right amount on each scale.
And so I now know, sticking with dancing as a hobby was definitely the better choice.
Have your own crazy story to share? Drop us a note at [email protected].
K-Pop Backup Dancers Reveal the Idols Who Like to Give Expensive Gifts
Backup dancers who have worked with numerous K-Pop idols reveal which idol likes to treat their staff with expensive gifts!
Can you guess who it is? Keep on reading to find out!
K-Pop Backup Dancers Reveal the Idols Who Like to Give Expensive Gifts
On September 24, Youtube channel AYO shared a new episode of "Comment Defenders" that features two backup dancers - Choi Ju Yeon and Lee Bomin, also known by their dancer names Sara and Mandu, respectively - who have worked with numerous K-Pop idols such as Chung Ha, Golden Child, ONEUS, Rocket Punch, LOONA, and many more.
In this episode of "Comment Defenders," dancers Sara and Mandu answer some frequently asked questions regarding their experiences working as a backup dancer for K-Pop idols, as well as dancers in general.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Dentists Reveal the K-Pop Idol Who They Think Has the Prettiest Smile
During the episode, the dancers were asked about the K-Pop idols who like to treat staff members and team with expensive gifts.
According to Sara, she describes "Stay Tonight" singer Chung Ha as an "angel without wings" as she likes to give designer items to her backup dancers and staff members, such as handpicking the gifts that would best suit each dancer from the luxury brand Alexander Wang.
(Photo : Instagram: @chungha_official)
Chung Ha and her backup dancers. Backup dancer Sara (third from the bottom left)
Sara adds that she also gave them body products and hand cream from CHANEL back when they were promoting for "Bicycle." As for the male backup dancers, Chung Ha would gift them with shirts from the brand Off-White.
Mandu adds that she thinks a lot of idols are like that, and names a couple of other idols. According to Mandu, "You Can't Sit With Us" hitmaker, Sunmi, also gives expensive gifts and takes care of her staff members well.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Fitness Trainers Reveal Which K-Pop Idol They Think Has the Hottest Body
(Photo : Instagram: @miyayeah)
Sunmi and her backup dancers
While Rain and BTOB's Changsub like to splurge on food for their staff members, with Sara adding that it almost feels like they are being raised by them with the amount of food they give.
"I feel so thankful for it. Not because it is expensive, but the fact that they think of us," said Mandu, and Sara also describes them all as an "angel without wings."
K-Pop Backup Dancers Address Misunderstanding Between Idols and Dancers
Working as a backup dancer for popular K-Pop idols, there can be some misunderstandings between dancers and idols. One netizen talked about how dancers look down on idols, and that dancers wouldn't have jobs in the first place if it weren't for them.
Mandu addresses this and says it's a misunderstanding. "Dancers do have jobs even if it weren't for idols, but there will be fewer jobs. So dances and idols work together," explained Mandu.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: K-Pop Bodyguards Reveal the Prettiest Idol They Ever Saw and More
Thinking that the misunderstanding may be because of the Mnet dance survival show, "Street Woman Fighter," where former IZ*ONE member, Lee Chaeyeon, is competing against professional dancers, Sara and Mandu also give their opinions regarding this.
(Photo : News1)
As professional dancers and Lee Chaeyeon learned dance differently, it could be difficult for Lee Chaeyeon to adjust to the show. However, they never look down on idols.
"It seems that she adapted to the new surroundings and she's showing her skills. Compared to the first time she had the battle, I think she got warmed up and she can show off her talent. I think it is awesome that she can do that among great dancers. I mean it," said Mandu.
Check out the full video here:
For more K-Pop news and updates, always keep your tabs open here on KpopStarz.
KpopStarz owns this article.
Written by Robyn Joan
Rosé's net worth in 2022: How rich is BLACKPINK's main vocalist?
Park Chae Yeon , commonly known by her stage name Rose , rose to worldwide fame after she debuted as the main vocalist and lead dancer of BLACKPINK under YG Entertainment in August 2016. After her debut , Rosé became one of the most famous and popular female idols of this generation.
See also: BLACKPINK Jisoo's net worth in 2022: how rich is the Dior ambassador?
Since her debut, Rosé has released her own music and has been active in the fashion industry. After working in the entertainment industry for almost six years, how rich has the On The Ground performer become?
As of June 2022, the net worth of the 25-year-old singer is estimated to be approximately US$18 million, according to media reports.
This net worth figure is not a big surprise given the huge success she has achieved as a member of BLACKPINK and her solo career after that.
With a whopping $18 million, does that make her the richest member of BLACKPINK ?
The answer is no, as the richest member of BLACKPINK is currently Jisoo who has $20 million in her account. While Rose is the second richest member in the group. As for Jenny and Lisa , they both earn $10 million.
As is the case with most idols, Rosé made most of her fortune through her activities as a member of BLACKPINK . This includes earnings from their music releases, on-air performances, promotions, promotional deals, and more.
When BLACKPINK debuted in August 2016, Rosé received positive reviews for her singing, which earned her a strong fan base for her vocal and dance skills.
As a member of BLACKPINK , the four-member group was well received both in Korea and abroad, and quickly became the most successful and best-selling group of their generation.
In fact, their mini albums "Square Up" and "Kill This Love" were certified platinum and double platinum by the Korea Music Content Association (KOMCA) after selling 250,000 and 500,000 copies of each album respectively. Their single "How You Like That" also went platinum.
When BLACKPINK released their first studio album “THE ALBUM” in October 2020, the album sold over a million copies, making them certified million-sellers. They have also been certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for selling over 60,000 copies.
In addition, all of BLACKPINK 's songs performed very well both in terms of sales and music charts, proving their worldwide popularity and influence.
In addition to her activities with BLACKPINK , Rosé has also earned a significant amount from her own releases.
In March 2021, Rosé became the second member to make her solo debut with the release of her single album "R", which sold over 1.7 million digital copies in China and over 640,000 copies in Korea, earning her a double platinum certification.
Similarly, Rosé even broke the eight-year record of PSY most viewed Youtube music video by a Korean solo artist in 24 hours for his lead single "On The Ground". She became the most popular Korean female solo artist on the Billboard Global 200 and Global Excl charts. US charts after debuting and hitting No. 1.
In addition, she peaked at number 70 on the Hot 100, making her the most popular Korean solo artist in the United States.
As for her career in fashion, BLACKPINK and Rosé have supported many brands. The Rose itself worked with the Perfect World Mobile and Calm applications, the Kiss Me brands, 5252 BY OIOI, OIOICOLLECTION and the Homeplus store.
She is currently the Global Ambassador for Yves Saint Laurent , making her the first Global Brand Ambassador in 59 years. She is also a Global Ambassador for Tiffany & Co .
Due to her success as a member of BLACKPINK and as a solo artist, Rose was able to make the fortune she has today.
gulnazi © YesAsia.ru
K-pop guide: why is it so popular, how it works and who to listen to. Musical phenomenon earns South Korea $10 billion a year
Updated August 17, 2022, 15:50
Roger Kisby / Getty Images for YouTube
At the beginning of the summer, Korean boy band BTS announced a career hiatus. One member of the J-Hope group explained that they need to "spend some time apart to learn how to be one again." Just how devastating this news was for both BTS fans and the South Korean music industry as a whole can be seen from the following figure. HYBE Labels, which owns the rights to the group, lost $1.7 billion in shares in two days.
What is k-pop and how did it come about
BTS is the personification of k-pop (Korean pop), a musical direction that even those who do not follow music have heard about in recent years. Korean artists appear in the world rankings of the main persons of the year, become ambassadors of luxury fashion houses and even release collaborations with tech giants. But all this did not come to them immediately.
The history of K-pop began in 1992 with the performance of the South Korean boy band Seo Taiji and Boys. He was the first to try to shift modern American rap to the Korean way and add artistry and dancing to this. Later, one of the members of Seo Taiji and Boys, Yang Hyun Suk, opened a record label and talent agency YG Entertainment. It's what made PSY a star with his viral track Gangnam Style and gave the world the likes of 2NE1, Big Bang and Blackpink, all of whom also have record-breaking hits. After YG Entertainment, entertainment companies SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment entered the Korean market and contributed to the popularization of K-pop.
K-pop is usually divided into several generations - so far there are four of them. This helps fans identify the eras in which their idols debuted and promoted. Seo Taiji and Boys, as well as Shinhwa and Click-B, and singer BoA are among the first generation of artists. Among the second generation - this is when K-pop began to gain momentum on the global stage - PSY, 2NE1, Shinee, Big Bang, Wonder Girls and Super Junior. Meanwhile, BTS, Blackpink, Twice, and EXO are their third generation, while NCT, Stray Kids, Ateez, Aespa, Enhypen, ITZY, (G)I-DLE, STAYC, and Everglow are their fourth.0013
By the end of the 90s, K-pop had become not just a popular music genre, but a national treasure along with Korean dramas. The state began to use content as a tool of soft influence on neighboring countries - Japan and China, and then far beyond Asia. The rapid spread of Korean culture has been described as the "Hallyu effect" (or "Korean wave"), with this effect reverberating through the South Korean economy. In 2004, the export of all entertainment content amounted to 0.2% of the country's GDP and was estimated at $1.87 billion, and 15 years later - already at $12.3 billion.
The South Korean authorities are interested in popularizing K-pop. BTS alone bring the country $3.6 billion a year (estimated at the end of 2018), which is equivalent to the earnings of 26 small companies. In addition, it is believed that about 800 thousand people come to South Korea just because of BTS. This is more than 7% of the total number of tourists. Overall, the International Socio-Economic Lab has calculated that the K-pop industry generates $10 billion annually.
By the way, Japan is one of the most important markets for K-pop, so Korean artists not only translate their albums into Japanese, but also make special releases. The country has a similar musical direction - j-pop (Japanese pop), but it, like Chinese c-pop (Chinese pop), is more focused on domestic consumption and has a much smaller scope.
K-pop, on the other hand, combines different musical genres, choreography, fashion and beauty. The latter fits in perfectly with today's trend to blur the boundaries between male and female: as a result, Asian "flower" young men - with soft features, porcelain skin, light makeup and good taste in clothes - top the lists of the main beauties of the planet.
officialpsy / YouTube
Korean artist PSY's "Gangnam Style" video became the most viewed video on YouTube in 2012 and held that status for five years. To date, the video has over 4 billion views, and PSY's new hit 'That That', featuring BTS singer Suga, has been viewed 300 million times in just three months.0013
How k-pop artists are trained
There are no analogues of the process of preparing Korean artists in any country - they are literally brought to the ideal. High standards were set in the early years of K-pop: at first, producers focused on what was popular among teenagers - the target audience of the musical direction, assessed the response and adjusted the approach with the appearance of each new solo artist or group. As a result, a standard scheme for the preparation of idols (in other words, idols) was formed, which today, to a greater or lesser extent, all production companies follow.
Future stars get into companies at an average of 12-14 years, and their training takes about four to five years. By concluding a contract, trainees - as idols are called during their training period - are under the complete control of the producers. Artists live together in hostels, study and train, and sometimes in difficult conditions. For example, a contestant on the knockout reality show (in South Korea, this is one of the most popular ways to form girl and boy bands) "Preparing 101" said that they could not be let out of the recording studio until dawn, and "to increase stamina" they were forced sing songs while jumping rope.
In addition to school lessons and singing and dancing classes, idol hopefuls learn how to behave in public. This is one of the fundamental points: the company is trying to insulate itself from scandals, especially given that the culture of cancellation in South Korea is not less developed than in the United States. Any misdeed of a celebrity, even committed in childhood, can cost her a career. For example, recently 16-year-old member of the new girl band Le Sserafim, Kim Garam, was reminded of the bullying she subjected her classmates to. The production company had to make excuses: she apologized to the fans and terminated the contract with the artist.
It is interesting that the musicians are "cancelled" by their once devoted fans. And often not for some significant mistake, but for the fact that they announced their romance or their desire to marry. Fans dream of being together with their idol and want to see him free. Therefore, some companies prescribe in contracts a ban on romantic relationships, along with a ban on the use of alcohol and cigarettes and visiting entertainment establishments. Plastic surgery may also be prohibited. However, this does not mean that idols with impeccable appearance have never gone under the surgeon's knife. It's just that any surgical intervention is strictly regulated by the producers, and sometimes they decide whether the wards need to change something in themselves and what exactly.
A good artist in South Korea is a person with an impeccable reputation who lives only for his cause and fans. He retires at the age of 30-35 - after that it is already more difficult for him to follow a tight schedule and perform intricate choreography.
Before being fired, an idol needs to work off the funds invested in his training and promotion. According to JYP Entertainment, preparing a new five-member K-pop group can cost up to $786,000. Meanwhile, recording a three-song mini-album averages $23,600 and a music video costs $131,000. either take the artist's fees in full until they cover all costs, or cut their significant part. However, if the artists are successful, then the debt is repaid fairly quickly. For example, it is known that in 2019BTS made $170 million from tours alone, more than any American band except Metallica.
Why is k-pop so popular
The success of a k-pop project is largely influenced by how closely it interacts with the audience and how much attention it treats. The audience, meanwhile, is not just watching their favorite group from the side, but is fully involved in its activities. So, fan meetings are regularly held for fans, where they can take pictures and hug with idols, and entertainment shows are filmed that help to get to know artists not from a professional side, but from a personal (of course, also brought to the ideal). Moreover, the content plan, music and even the composition of the groups are often adjusted to the fans. Hence such a large number of participants: these are artists with different types (for example, a merry fellow, a kind man and a mysterious handsome man), who are liked by different audiences and, accordingly, expand it.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
The members of a K-pop group are all in different positions: main vocalist, main dancer, main rapper, and maknae, the junior member. Sometimes, as in the case of the 13-member boy band Seventeen, the group is divided into sub-groups (or sub-units), each of which is responsible for a specific direction - whether it be vocals or dances
After winning the fans, the idols, led by the producers, put them on standby. After all, new music may not come out for several months or even years.
There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, this is how the performer achieves record numbers in terms of auditions and views: having missed the idol, the audience puts the novelty on repeat. For example, the music video for Blackpink's Ddu-Du Ddu-Du, which marked the group's comeback after a hiatus, became the most viewed Korean music video in the first 24 hours on YouTube (it has nearly 2 billion views at the time of writing). Secondly, as Teddy's chief music producer revealed in the Netflix documentary about Blackpink, artists are trying to release not just a song or album, but a hit, and it takes time to prepare it. Teddy did not reveal the recipe for the hit, but all Blackpink tracks have a powerful beat, strong vocals, rap parts and a chorus with a few words in English. The latter allows you to remember the song even for those who do not know the Korean language. In the clip, the track is backed by catchy choreography and impressive set design and effects.
By the way, about the choreography: as a rule, it is choreographed by top choreographers who think over the movements so that they become an iconic element of the track, by which it can be recognized even years after the release (as was the case with Gangnam Style). Purposeful simplification of movements spread with the advent of TikTok - it was on this platform that Blackpink's "How You Like That" and Jessi's "Zoom" tracks went viral, contributing to the global promotion of artists.
In order for fans to quickly learn the moves and shoot their cover, a separate video with the choreography laid out appears on the idol's channel a few days after the release of a song or music video. Covers grow into challenges that take over not only TikTok, but also YouTube. So, the K-pop in Public challenge is popular on the platform, in which a group of fans dance to the selected track of their favorite artist against the backdrop of a historical landmark - be it Times Square, the Eiffel Tower or Red Square. The movement does not bypass idols - sometimes they hold their own dance competitions, presenting prizes to the authors of the most spectacular covers.
Idol may return after hiatus with either one song or an entire album. K-pop is one of the few music genres where physical media is still popular. However, there is a big difference here from the usual Russian or Western records: the CD comes out accompanied by a photo book or a collection box, which may also contain stickers, posters and other souvenirs. Many groups release several versions of albums at once, for example, on behalf of each member, so that fans can collect a collection, thereby making a significant contribution to the box office of a k-pop project. The releasing labels do not deny their commercial interest. However, fans who have been waiting for the idol's comeback for so long are not repulsed at all.
If the band returns with an album, a music video must be shot for the title track. The release is traditionally followed by two weeks of promotion, including appearances on special music programs where fans and jury members vote for their favorite songs, and on entertainment talk shows, including foreign ones. Many K-pop artists have been guests of honor on shows such as Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and The Late Late Show with James Corden. BTS even participated in the famous Carpool Karaoke format, where they performed their (and not only) hits along with Corden. To date, the YouTube video has surpassed 100 million views.
For overseas promotions, Korean stars use not only TV appearances, but also collaborations with artists. All the same BTS has collaborative tracks with Halsey, Sia, Nicki Minaj, Steve Aoki and Coldplay, while Blackpink managed to collaborate with Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa and Cardi B.
How to distinguish between all these groups
In South Korea, new k-pop projects debut almost every month: in addition to the major labels SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and HYBE Labels, there are a huge number of small ones, under the wing of which fall from one to three groups or solo artists. Of course, the success of the artist depends on the scale and financial capabilities of his production company, but there are exceptions. For example, the boy band Ateez was born from little-known entertainment agency KQ Entertainment, but quickly gained popularity due to their daring aesthetic.
The choice of this aesthetic is an important part of idol training: some artists work in a dark, dramatic theme, adapting elements of hip-hop (in South Korea, this is called a “crash concept”), while others adhere to a lighter, more romantic theme. However, this does not divide the entire industry into only two parts: due to the fact that k-pop combines all possible musical genres and styles, each new project is completely different from the previous one, even if the same company is responsible for them.
Take, for example, the girl bands Twice and Itzy, owned by JYP Entertainment: if the first sings songs about love, accompanying the performance with easy but catchy choreography, then the texts of the second contain calls to love yourself, and in dances there are complex ligaments that usually characteristic of boy bands. In K-pop, as in a single group, everyone will find an artist to their liking. One has only to be interested in this and understand who has the main word in the industry now.
BTS consists of seven members: Kim Namjoon (RM), Kim Seokjin (Jin), Min Yoongi (Suga), Jung Hoseok (J-Hope), Park Ji Min (Jimin), Kim Taehyung (V) and Jeon Jongguk ( Jungkook). The group was founded in 2013 by the small label Big Hit Entertainment, which later grew into the HYBE Labels group of companies, known not only in South Korea, but also abroad. In 2021, HYBE bought shares in Ithaca Holdings, a music label that Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande work with.
BTS themselves were noticed overseas in 2017 as they became the first South Korean artists to perform at the Billboard Music Awards. Despite the incredible popularity in other countries, the group released the first single in English only in 2020. Today, she graces the covers of Time, shoots for Louis Vuitton advertising campaigns, and even speaks at sessions of the UN General Assembly. In 2021, the artists received the status of diplomats of their country, which allows them to move more freely around the world, promoting Korean culture to the masses. The influence of the boy band is so great that the possibility of exempting members from compulsory military service is now being discussed at the state level. In South Korea, all men without exception pass it.
BTS has a Korean dandy style that is reflected in their approach to both their looks and music. Initially, it was a hip-hop group, but then she began to try herself in different musical genres - even jazz. But the texts of BTS practically do not change: they are devoted to the problems of growing up, mental health and finding oneself, thereby supporting the fans, as it were. “The fans know that we are with them, and they are with us,” RM commented in a conversation with Time magazine.
What to listen to: Dynamite, Butter, Fake Love, Black Swan, My Universe (feat. Coldplay)
If BTS is considered the absolute industry leader among male groups, then Blackpink has secured this title among female groups. The team consists of four girls - Jennie, Rose, Lisa and Jisoo - who are known not only together, but also separately. Unlike many Korean groups, here each has its own social media page and its own army of fans, which brings them contracts with luxury brands - from Chanel and Saint Laurent to Bulgari and Tiffany & Co. The thing is that YG Entertainment is interested in promoting not only the group, but also each of its members individually.
The group has a crash concept with an emphasis on hip-hop and dance. The combination of black (black) and pink (pink) in the name is no coincidence: Jennie and Lisa support the dramatic side in both performance and appearance, while Jisoo and Rosé support the romantic side.
What to listen to: How You Like That, DDU-DU DDU-DU, Kill This Love, Boombayah, Kiss and Make up (feat. Dua Lipa)
aespa's marketing strategy helped the group become popular even before their official debut. SM Entertainment has intrigued the public that it will be the first girl group to feature virtual avatars. The statement was not unfounded: in addition to the four real participants - Giselle, Winter, Karina and Ninnin - there are four more cartoon characters in the clips. Actually, the name aespa combines the words avatar (“avatar”), experience (“experience”) and aspect (“side”, “perspective”), hinting at the versatility of the group. This also manifests itself in creativity, which can be described as experimental K-pop. One aespa song seems to consist of several different ones. As an example, the track Next Level.
What to listen to: Next Level, Black Mamba, Savage, Dreams Come True, aenergy
The five-member boy band TXT (Tomorrow X Together) is being promoted by the forefathers of BTS at HYBE Labels. Therefore, even before the debut, the group was dubbed the “new BTS”, placing high hopes on it. However, TXT is aimed at a younger audience. They are also notable for complex choreography, experimentation with musical styles and concepts: starting with a sweet and romantic aesthetic, the idols have gone over to the dark side and even tried out rock. This year, the boy band began its worldwide expansion: they went to the Lollapalooza festival, where they performed along with Metallica and Green Day, as well as on a US tour.
What to listen to: Loser = Lover, Cat & Dog, 0X1 = Lovesong, Anti-Romantic, PS5 (feat. salem ilese, Alan Walker
Twice is not only the most feminine K-pop group, but also one of the most popular. Her songs are played in all Korean stores and cafes. The success was facilitated by the fact that the audience could follow the group literally at the stage of its inception: the participants were searched through the reality show "Sixteen", where out of sixteen trainees of different nationalities, nine were eventually selected. This all happened in 2015, and the idols recently renewed their contracts. So fans will be able to enjoy cheerful girlish hits for at least another seven years.
What to listen to: I Can't Stop Me, Knock Knock, Likey, What is Love? , Signal
JYP Entertainment conceived the Itzy girl band as an alternative to the boy group: four of the five members are excellent dancers, and the fifth member, Leah, is in charge of vocals and parts in English. K-pop has developed a certain paradigm: complex and intense choreography for songs is characteristic of male groups. But Itzy managed to prove otherwise, including during live performances.
What to listen to: Wannabe, Loco, In the Morning, Swipe, Not Shy
Monsta X is one of those Korean groups that have become more popular abroad than at home. As a rule, this is laid down in the promotion strategy, which can be understood by the number of foreign members in the team, the presence of English songs in the album and English words in Korean songs, performance formats and even music style.
For example, Monsta X, who debuted under Starship Entertainment, has already toured the US twice and released two fully English-language albums. In addition, the group has collaborated with major Western artists like French Montana, Pitbull and Snoop Dogg, as well as performing on the Jingle Bell Ball tour with Taylor Swift, Harry Styles and other stars.
Members of the band write their own music. Their Korean releases are accompanied by intense choreography, and their English-language albums are dominated by pop and melodic tracks.
What to listen to: Who Do I Love? , Love You, Beside U (feat. Pitbull), Middle of the Night, Got my Number
K-pop has been around for over 20 years, although it has been actively talked about for the past five years. Like any other industry, it is transforming, focusing on new trends - not only music and fashion, but also social ones. South Korean artists are becoming more and more popular in the international arena every year and get jobs outside of their country.