The History of K-Pop Popularity in Latin America

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K-pop means ‘Korean pop’, however this concept refers in general to the popular music industry in South Korea. It can be said that K-Pop is not a specific musical genre, but a mixture of different western musical styles such as rock, jazz, hip hop, among others. This musical mix caused great changes in South Korea at the beginning of the 1990s, it became popular in Japan and in the last decade it expanded internationally.

The representatives of K-pop are mainly groups composed of young men or women who sing in Korean, but using other languages such as English and Spanish and dance perfectly coordinated. This musical style is oriented to the western market, evolves according to popular rhythms and its visual aesthetic is impressive, since it is very detailed and highlights the ideals of Korean beauty such as white skin or slender bodies in men and women. Among the most important K-pop bands are Bts, Girls ’Generation, Super Junior, Big Bang, Shinee, Boa and Seo Taiji and Boys, among others. (Vargas, 2018)

Among the main features of K-Pop, the following stand out:

Costume and Colour

Something that attracts a lot of attention in the videos are the bright colours and the costumes that the artists use, in that sense, K-pop has achieved a significant and different change to fashion, since they interpret the trends of the moment. Many of K-Pop’s music videos are thematic and reflect the same concept.

Tell a story

Most of the lyrics of the songs and videos of the K-Pop artists tell a story, they are not created at random, which makes them even more attractive for having meaning.

Attractive melodies

They are generally very attractive melodies that quickly become popular despite the language barrier; this is because they are easy to remember rhythms.

Complex choreographies

K-Pop artists, in addition to singing, also skilfully dance very complex choreographies that require professional dancers. It is worth mentioning that K-pop groups perform live and have no errors in their presentations.

Training

K-Pop artists are commonly trained years before recording their first song, the intense training generates that these artists are fully prepared at the time of starting their career.

Multifaceted artists

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Often, K-Pop artists perform, sing, dance, are very trained, dedicated and perform their music, choreography and videos almost perfectly. In addition, this style is a cultural and language mix; Many K-pop groups have members from different countries such as Thailand, China, Japan, Canada and the United States.

Personal lives

K-Pop singers make videos related to their life, in this way, they achieve a greater connection with their followers. (Blue, 2018)

Latin America is a continent of contrasts and great cultural diversity, it is where important musical genres such as salsa, merengue, Cuban son, among others originated; That is why the Latin American public is always willing to listen to new musical styles, even if they come from a distant country like South Korea. Currently in Latin America, Korean K-Pop music has a large following, and year after year, its popularity increases.

With lyrics in which the Korean language is usually mixed with English and sometimes with other Western languages such as Spanish, some of the K-Pop groups made up of the most popular young men in Latin America are: Super Junior, Big Bang, Shinee, JYJ, TVXQ and Exo; while the most popular groups made up of girls are: 2NE1, SNSD, Miss A and Sistar.

These groups, in 2012 began to have a lot of popularity in Argentina however; K-Pop was already known in countries like Peru (thirty thousand fans), Chile (twenty thousand fans), Colombia and Brazil (tens of thousands of fans). (Molnar, 2013) In 2017, thanks to the internet, specifically to social networks, K-Pop groups caused great impact internationally with their music, dance and videos; it is then that they take more strength in Latin America. (Soompi, 2018)

In Mexico, K-Pop has also become very popular; currently 83% of those who prefer this musical genre are women, 44% between 18 and 24 years old.

Conclusions

K-pop means ‘Korean pop’, however this concept refers in general to the popular music industry in South Korea. K-pop is not only a musical genre, it is a movement that includes a lot of musical genres. This musical mix caused great changes in South Korea at the beginning of the 1990s, it became popular in Japan and in the last decade it expanded internationally.

This movement has multifaceted and very well trained artists, oriented to the western market. The K-pop movement is based on aesthetics, attitude, performance, acting, dancing and beauty.

The internet, specifically social networks were the main tool for K-pop to spread worldwide and reach Latin America, however, fans also played a fundamental role in sharing material from their favorite groups. Currently K-Pop is very popular internationally and also in Latin America thanks to its contagious music, its impressive choreographies, colours and costumes. The most famous groups in Latin America are Super Junior, Big Bang, Shinee, JYJ, TVXQ, Exo, 2NE1, SNSD, Miss A and Sistar.

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