The Globalization of K-pop: Korea’s Place in the Global Music Industry
This article challenges approaches to Korean popular music based on cultural hybridity by arguing that the globalization of K-pop involves modifying musical content from Europe and other locations into Korean content and redistributing it to global audiences. In doing to, it occupies a void between Western and East Asian music industries. The establishment of the global music industry destroyed traditional structure of music industries based on physical music (albums, cds) by allowing access to music via the Internet and the demarcation between high and low culture; subcultures become easily accessible. Big Three K-pop producers rely on extended and global networks. K-pop represents a new mode of globalization, which involves exporting Korean music abroad, which has happened due to Korea’s economic rise, immigration of Koreans, participation of Korean and overseas Korean populations in global cultural industries and separate manufacturing and distribution. G-L-G (Global-Local-Global) not tenable if the “L” element is not unique. K-pop’s L element is unique because of the emphasis on numbers in groups, appearance and combination of voice and dance. Other music industries may have single aspects, but only K-pop has all three aspects, which create a unique “L” element. K-pop’s success dependent on a particular historical moment and geographic dynamics, contextualized by shifts in Korean culture, such as lifts on bans and technological advancement, which promotes global fan participation, and a global capitalist economy.