Over the weekend 2NE1 made their U.S. debut in Newark, Jersey performing to around 20,000 fans. Over the last month PSY‘s music video for “Gangnam Style” has hit over 40,000,000 viewers on YouTube. Last year Girls Generation performed on David Letterman and on ‘Live With Kelly.’ Hyuna from 4Minute also made a splash with her “Bubble Pop” music video. Other artists such as BoA, The Wonder Girls and and Se7en have also debuted on U.S. soil within the last couple of years. If it hasn’t completely sinked in, K-pop (Korean pop music) has been penetrating the U.S. market and it hasn’t slowed down.
Almost a year ago, Billboard added the Billboard K-pop Hot 100. And according to a Billboard staff member:
“The rise of K-Pop Hot 100 is resplendent. We’ve launched charts from different countries during various times, but this is the first time that a foreign chart has taken off so rapidly.”
When the chart opened, K-pop group SISTAR was ranked number 1 with their track “So Cool.” The bubbling pop song moved quick with its electronic beats and synths taking you on a rollar coaster ride. Their glittery outfits caught your attention and the hip-hop break down in the middle of the track made you break it down along with them.
The girls were quite surprised by the ranking:
“When we first heard we took the No.1 spot on the first Billboard K-Pop chart, we couldn’t believe it. Our reaction was ‘REALLY?’ Every time we would go overseas to perform afterwards, we gave our utmost while remembering that we were one of the representative faces of K-Pop to the international community.”
A year removed from the ranking, SISTAR has completely taken off in South Korea. Being only two years old as a group, it’s quite impressive for a K-pop group to have risen up so high. The group has recently released their new single “Loving U” in June. The charmingly sweet track topped all of the charts once it was released. The group has now joined some of the top idol groups such as 2NE1, The Wonder Girls, f(x) and Big Bang.
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As globalization becomes easier through the use of social media and other digital formats, there is no doubt that more and more K-pop will be heard and seen in the U.S. market. The Korean entertainment market has mastered the use of YouTube in order to spread the music. And language barrier hasn’t stopped thousands of Americans singing along to songs in the Korean language.
The next barrier for K-pop to break would be: “Which artist will actually break into the U.S. Billboard Hot 100?” Will we ever hear any of their songs on American Top 40s radio stations? Only time will tell. But for now, check out some of the K-pop songs you shouldn’t miss out on:
SISTAR “Loving U”
PSY “Gangnam Style”
BoA “Only One”
2NE1 “I Love You”
Girls Generation “The Boys”
Big Bang “Monster”
The Wonder Girls “Like This”