Trapping the zeitgeist

Why K-Pop is the coolest thing in online and social media content

For some time now, Korean Pop music (or K-Pop for short) has been making its way colourfully, bizarrely and oh-so-entertainingly into our collective consciousness. Interestingly, the increasing popularity of the music is due in a major way to the inexorable growth of online and social media content. So while the genre actually originated waaay back in the early �90s (a time before online content and social media even existed in the modern sense), it is social media that has made it accessible to a previously inaccessible audience.


For those of you not fortunate enough to belong to that effortlessly trendy and in-the-know population sub-sect known as Gen Y, here is a brief explanation…

K-Pop is the kind of �so-lame-its-cool�, surrealist, quirky, kitsch concept that is a perfect match for online content (particularly YouTube) and social media. It�s the kind of thing that starts out as an irony and somewhere along the line becomes absorbed into the zeitgeist, to the point where it�s hard to differentiate (even in our own minds) whether it is actually cool or if we like it because we�re trendy and ironic. Like moustaches. And hipsters.

Still don�t know what we�re on about? Then check it out for yourselves:

What you just experienced was Gangnam Style, the wildly successful K-Pop single from Park Jae-Sang (aka PSY). It is the most successful K-Pop single ever, and it has received well over 100 million views on YouTube.

A perfect content fit

As digital distribution and social media begin to play a far greater role in the world of music, it�s interesting to note that the parameters change a little bit. The video, for example, is far more important these days, as it provides the main method of social sharing and word-of-mouth marketing.

Far from being innocently unaware of its humorous appeal, we�d suggest that a vital part of K-Pop�s success has been its main players understanding how the genre translates into killer online content, and replicating the formula.

Whether it�s got staying power as a mainstream Western entertainment form remains yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure: K-Pop has memed itself into the spotlight.

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