Expository Essay

Expository Essay

        The word “K-POP” has skyrocketed across global media in the past 2 decades. Intoday’s society, it would be a huge understatement to say that this term has been heard of ormentioned once or twice before. “In a survey conducted in 18 countries in 2020, around 22.7percent of respondents stated that the genre K-pop was very popular in their country. The popularity was at the point where K-pop was known to the general public and related products were being sold. The survey found that the popularity of K-pop reaches far beyond South Koreanborders (Statista Research Department, 20210. This leads to the ultimate question: What exactly is the K-pop Industry and how does it differ from the American Pop Industry? The K-pop Industry and the American Pop industry have many significant differences between each other. Some of these factors include the different beauty/societal standards, their training process, and the way they perform/advertise their music. 
             Essentially, what is K-pop? The word “K-pop” is used to describe a genre of South Korean music in which includes a variety of different styles of music such as pop, hip hop, jazz, electronic, rhythm and blues, and more. Although, K-pop has the word “pop” in it, K-pop doesn’t necessarily contain itself in the genre of just pop music. This is predominantly one of the main reasons why many people globally have taken interests in this type of music and has become tremendously popular in today’s music industry. In this K-pop industry, artists are mainly known as “K-pop Idols.” K-pop idols are usually young, good-looking individuals who are highly trained to be skilled in singing, dancing, rapping, and having an overall “perfect” image. Most K-pop idols are put into either all boy or girl groups but there are also several solo K-pop idols as well. This is a key difference between the K-pop and American pop industry as majority of K-pop music is produced by groups while American pop music is usually produced by individual solo artists. There is also a huge emphasis placed on the importance of K-pop idols meeting a very specific and harsh beauty standard and reputation that the American Pop industry doesn’temphasize a lot on. Not only are idols required to be talented in all aspects of their career,but they must hold a certain reputation outside of work. In Korea, the use of drugs/alcoholis tremendously shamed upon. Therefore, idols would be shunned or canceled if caughtat a club, drinking or smoking. Many of the music label companies that hold a contract with these idols are known to be very strict and controlling in order to make sure idols obey these societal rules. Furthermore, many idols, before and after debuting, wouldhave stay on a strict and unhealthy diet and go under cosmetic surgery in order to lookslim and beautiful according to Korea’s beauty standards. “Plastic surgeon tries tocoerce a young artist to have surgery to make her young face even morebabyishly youthful” (Orenstein, 484). Although, the American pop industry have similarities in ways that artists should keep a good reputation and meet a certainAmerican beauty standard, it isn’t as emphasized and intensified as it is in the K-pop industry.
             Before K-pop idols debut into the music industry, they are required to go through intense training called factory. “The word factory refers to the idol training system in South Korea, where young adults train for several years in singing, dancing, media, and foreign languages, with only a slim chance of debuting in an idol group” (Conley, 3.1). A lot of these trainees are chosen or would audition at an insanely young ages of around 10-18 years old. They are required to take classes in singing, dancing, rapping, performing, as well as language and etiquette classes in which would make them a “well-rounded” idol. The average training process usually ranges from 3-6 years but could be shorter or longer. Popular K-pop idol, “G-Dragon” from K-pop group, Big Bang, was under training for over 11 years. Yet, the harsh truth of this training process is that being a trainee does not guarantee their debut no matter how long and intensely they train. Furthermore, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, trainees are put into dangerously unhealthy diets and are forced to train for 10+ hours a day. Many of these trainees end up in critically unstable conditions or would choose to quit because of how difficult it is to keep up with this training process. Compared to American Pop industry, a training process is not very much emphasized like the K-pop industry.
               Third major difference between the K-pop and American Pop industry is the way they advertise or perform. In the K-pop industry, all solo K-pop idols or K-pop groups usually perform by singing and rapping along with a practiced dance choreography.Meanwhile, in the American Pop industry, artists usually don’t have a dance choreography along with their music. During music comebacks, K-pop idols would advertise their music by performing in several Korean music televisions for a consecutive week or two. These performances would be posted online such as YouTube where many fans can view and enjoy. However, in the American Pop industry they don’t advertise their music as much through performance unless it is through their concerts. Unlike American pop artists, K-pop idols also are very interactive with their fan base and would post livestreams, tv shows, and YouTube videos of themselves to keep in touch with their fans.
              Overall, there are many distinct aspects that support the fact that the K-pop and American Pop music industry are completely different in certain ways. Although they have similarities in certain ways, the K-pop industry puts more emphasis and strictness towards aspects such as reputation and maintaining a good reputation as a role model to society.
Work Cited
Conley, Miyoko. “Transnational Audiences and Asian American Performance in the Musical‘KPOP.’” Transformative Works and Cultures, vol. 29, Organization for TransformativeWorks, 2019, doi:10.3983/twc.2019.1661.
Orenstein, Claudia. “Kpop by Ars Nova (review).” Asian Theatre Journal, vol. 35, no. 2,University of Hawai’i Press, 2018, pp. 483–87, doi:10.1353/atj.2018.0042.
Statista Research Department. “K-pop popularity worldwide 2020” Popularity of SouthKorean Pop Music (K-pop) worldwide in 2020. 2021

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