Manufacturing Creativity: Production, Performance,
and Dissemination of K-pop
K-Pop has been slowly rising in popularity and gaining attention these past years. It’s gotten so popular that it now appears on our social media and news websites. Gil-Sun Park states, “The global dissemination of K-pop would not have been possible without global social network service (SNS) sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter” which expresses how important social media is in today’s society. Social media helps people instantly gain access to something outside their country with no issues. It was really interesting to learn about how Park is breaking down K-Pop and explaining why it’s so popular and how it’s different from the American and Japanese music industries. Park believes that the success of a K-pop song relies on a mix of innovation and sustainability. They have a balance in which the American and Japanese music industries do not have. They tend to lean to one or the other.
Learning more about the top Korean music company was an eye-opener. As a CEO of a company, one would assume that they would at least have a small team to help manage things at the start, however, Lee Soo-man did everything himself: recruitment, training musical talent, hiring composers, producing and marketing music videos albums and more. After the expand, Lee Soo-man still controls the creative aspects of the company and leaves the business department to someone else. It was interesting to learn the secret of SM’s success was not only to outsource the song’s production, but to take that production and to tweak little things about it from its lyrics to certain instruments to make it have unique feeling that is only found at that particular company. Other big companies such as YG and JYP have tried to imitate how SM does things, but was unable to do so. Instead they took different approaches. When PSY was in YG, he understood the importance of YouTube and social media. That was why his hit songs Gangnam Style and Gentleman trended and was a hit globally. JYP on the other hand, has his groups collaborate with international stars. For example, he had his group, the Wonder Girls, tour with Jonas Brothers. Recently, Jackson Wang from GOT7 has been seen collaborating with singers and songwriters part of 88rising like Rich Brian and Joji.
With rising company, BigHit that manages BTS, they have taken all different aspects that the top 3 companies does and combined it into one. One huge thing that helped them gain popularity was social media. Rather than having separate social media accounts they have interacted with their fans on one social media account for almost five years. Another huge thing that helped them gain popular was the size of the company. For five years, BigHit has only managed one group so all their focus was on helping them gain popularity. Also, since the members of BTS are not only singers, they also help produce and choreograph the songs, adding that unique feeling that can only be found in their group. Since the group’s original intention was to be a hip hop group, BigHit sent them to LA to learn from famous rappers that helped influence the way they produce and write their songs.