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The Rise of K-Pop

Dylan Dobson, 4Play Editor
December 4, 2012
Filed under 4Play


Since debuting on Youtube July 15, 2012, “Gangnam Style” has accumulated more than 800 million views, recently eclipsing Justin Bieber’s video for “Baby.”

The popularity of “Gangnam Style” represents the culmination of the growing Korean pop music trend.

Korean pop, or K-Pop is an industry-driven genre that was pioneered in Asia by groups such as Girl Generation and the Wonder Girls. Similar to ‘90s pop groups, these collections of singers tend to be handpicked by industry experts before being trained and repackaged to the masses.

Korean pop first made its way to the U.S. through Internet and gaming culture with popular tracks such as Hyuna’s “Bubble Pop.”

The trend was initially written off by American critics as too niche to survive in the mainstream. However, with catchy hooks resembling those of ‘90s pop bands such as Spice Girls, and modern hip-hop beats reminiscent of Lady Gaga tracks, K-Pop has made a home for itself stateside.

The popularity of “Gangnam Style” has inspired a number of American imitators, including the subversive anthem “Party Milk,” produced by art student Dorian Electra, that has been dubbed “post-Gangnam” by some critics, as well as similar-sounding tracks by American pop stars such as Miley Cyrus.