Kpop and PSY continue to gain popularity in the USA

Kpop is continuing to gain popularity in the USA after PSY's "Gangnam Style." PSY's video remains the most viewed video on YouTube. The singer has made several appearance on popular TV shows including the "Today Show." PSY is not the first as South Korean companies and singers have hosted concerts over the past few years firmly giving Kpop a foot in the US market.




PSY "Gangnam Style"
“You know what I’m saying?” 

You might not be able to answer the question in PSY's “Gangnam Style,” but the Korean song has become widely popular worldwide despite the language barrier.

“To be honest, I still don’t know what he’s saying,” said Stephanie, 22 and "Gangnam Style" fan. “It’s fun to listen and dance to though.”

The horse-dance from the music video has become just as popular as the song, with stars such as Britney Spears on Ellen to the hosts of the Today Show taking their try. “Gangnam Style” spent six consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 list and continues to stay at the number one single on iTunes. The music video, which was released in July, now has over eight million views making it the most viewed video on YouTube. Justin Bieber with “Baby” previously held the top spot.

South Korean pop, or Kpop, has been steadily gaining attention, particularly amongst teenagers and young adults, in the United States over the past few years. Music videos receive millions of views and hundreds of thousands of comments on YouTube. Just last summer Billboard launched their Kpop Hot 100 chart due to Kpop’s growing popularity. Allkpop.com, an English-language Korean entertainment news website based out of New Jersey, experienced its first sharp increase in views in 2009. According to the Google Analytics for the website, they now receive an average of one million views a month.

“I like the range of music in Kpop,” said Hannah, 23-year-old Kpop fan. “I love that the groups can sound cohesive, but each member has their own distinct voice.”

Girls' Generation on Letterman
Psy is not the first South Korean singer to gain attention in the United States. In 2008 The Wonder Girls made their American debut with “Nobody” and even went on to tour with the then-popular Jonas Brothers. Last year, nine-member girl group Girls’ Generation appeared on CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman” and ABC’s “Live with Kelly” to perform their first English single “The Boys.”

This year South Korean television and music brand MNET hosted the first ever “KCON” on Oct 13 in Irvine, CA. According to the website, KCON was “the first-ever large scale convention dedicated to the hottest entertainment coming out of Korea including K-pop, K-drama and Korean movies.” The event featured several guest panelists and events as well as a concert featuring several popular Kpop groups.

KCON’s concert is not the first to take place in the United States; several South Korean TV stations have hosted concerts here.  This month, SBS hosted their “Super K-pop Concert” in Irvine. MBC teamed up with Google to put on a free concert in Anaheim, CA on May 21. Last year KBS hosted the first free concert in New Jersey.

2NE1
Individual artists and companies have held stateside concerts over the past couple of years as well. Girl group 2NE1 and boy group BIGBANG, label mates to Psy, each held sold-out concerts in Newark and Anaheim this year. Entertainment label SM Entertainment has hosted three concerts in Los Angeles and New York. The latter was the first Asian pop concert at Madison Square Garden in 2011.

“It was an experience, everyone was swept up and singing along,” said Hannah on the 2NE1 concert. “It didn’t matter that you couldn’t fully understand what they were singing.”

* Last names of interviewees removed to protect individuals' privacy. This was originally a trend story assignment for a class.

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