K-Ville Entertainment’s Beginner’s Guide to K-Pop
Welcome to our very own Beginner’s Guide to K-Pop! And more importantly – welcome to the wonderful world of Korean Pop music! We are certain that you will find your journey through this exciting world to be endlessly rewarding. Every great journey begins with a single step, and we're here to take that first step with you. Without further ado, let’s begin!
Whether you discovered K-Pop through a friend, recommended video, or any other method, the important thing is that you're here now. And you're not alone. US President Barack Obama recognizes the spread of Korean culture (often referred to as “Hallyu” or the “Korean Wave"), and the fact that it is taking the world by storm. Emma Stone says that K-Pop is “beyond excellent” and that “it’s the best thing you’ve ever seen". Even Anna Kendrick has gotten into K-Pop, flying to Seoul to perform a hit K-Pop song with popular girl group f(x)! What is it about K-Pop that is captivating so many people around the world?
Hopefully after that MV, you have an idea of what K-Pop is. Unfortunately though, “Step” really can't be representative of all K-Pop. In fact, no one song can. That’s the beauty of K-Pop – there are countless musical styles and influences, which create a spectrum of music that is incredibly diverse. This actually causes many people to feel overwhelmed by the fast-paced and varied nature of K-Pop when they first discover it. Don't worry though, we’ve got you covered! Read on to learn more about the K-Pop industry and how to stay on top of all the latest releases.
Companies, Biases, Debuts, Oh My!
There are lots of buzzwords in K-Pop, and it’s easy to feel out of the loop if you don't know what they mean. We're going to go over the biggest ones so that you can hold your own in any conversation, and most importantly so that you can follow the K-Pop scene as obsessively as we do! Nearly all K-Pop artists are affiliated with a big entertainment company – these companies search for talent and produce groups regularly. Some examples of big names are SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, and FNC Entertainment.
Though there are some exceptional solo artists out there (IU, Zion.T, HyunA, BoA), most of the popular K-Pop artists are in groups, split into girl groups and boy groups. These groups are likely bigger than you're used to, as they usually range from 4-9 members. There can be more than that too, though – the boy group Seventeen has 13 members! With that many people, you're going to need to choose one to focus on, and that’s where having a bias comes in handy.
Your bias is your favourite member in a group, and is naturally a major talking point when chatting with other K-Pop fans. It doesn't matter why you love your bias – it could be vocal talent, looks, dancing, or any other combination of reasons. The important thing is to never be ashamed of your bias; it’s a surprisingly personal thing and all that matters is that you are happy with them being your bias!
When a new group is formed, their first mini-album and title track is called their debut. Every subsequent new song and album they release is called a comeback. When a group releases a debut or comeback (accompanied by a music video), they start their promotional cycle. This involves performing on numerous music shows, on which they have a debut stage or comeback stage, depending on whether it’s their first release. Each release (and the associated MV) has a concept – a theme that the set, outfits, song style and dancing follow. Most concepts fall into a few main categories: cute, sexy, crazy, and cool are some big ones. Watching both the music videos and live versions of songs will provide countless hours of entertainment, no doubt. Since the K-Pop world is so fast-paced and dynamic though, how do fans keep informed and up to date on the latest songs and MV’s?
How to Discover More K-Pop
So, how does a K-Pop fan keep up with all of the debuts and comebacks that release each week, in addition to discovering older music that is equally as amazing? It’s certainly tough, but don't despair – we're here for you!
When it comes to new releases, some people subscribe to many entertainment channels on YouTube, like 1theK and CJENMUSIC. The problem is that there is so much content uploaded every couple of hours, which makes it almost impossible to keep up and find the new songs you will love. Luckily for you, we here at K-Ville Entertainment make a weekly, community-driven Top 50 K-Pop Songs Chart. This refines the multitude of new music and showcases the 50 hottest K-Pop songs of the week. Many fans love to use the chart as their source for new K-Pop, and we work hard to make sure we don't miss a beat! Is your interest piqued? Then check out one of our charts below to get a feel for how it works! Then be sure to check out our YouTube channel to see the latest charts.
What about all of the hit K-Pop songs that came out before you started this journey, though? Once again, K-Ville has you covered. Each month, we release a Top 100 Most Viewed K-Pop Videos Chart. This chart counts down the most popular K-Pop music videos on YouTube, which is a fantastic way to discover the songs that have stood the test of time, and that are iconic in the K-Pop world. Check out one of our Top 100 charts below!
Well, it seems we’ve reached the end of brief tour of K-Pop. We sincerely hope that you feel more knowledgable about it, more aware of how the industry works, and more excited to dive in and explore all of the amazing videos just waiting for you to watch them! You’ve taken the crucial first step. Now go have that adventure.