Uniformity and Non-conformism: The Packaging of Korean Girl Groups

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    Hallyu has set new criteria for the presentation of male and female pop idols across a significant part of the Northeast and Southeast Asian region. The Korean entertainment companies that create and promote K-pop acts pay careful attention to the positioning of their stars, both on the competitive music scene in the region vis-à-vis similar acts, and within their own formations. Boy bands and girl groups have proven to be the most successful K-pop formula. It appears that in order to maximize their commercial potential, agencies eschew deviating from an established set of expectations that comprise synchronized dance routines, a mixture of contemporary R & B, rap and hip-hop with a heavy beat, good looks, and the latest fashion, as well as high-quality music videos and conservative lyrics that suit the predominantly teenage fan base. Many have either noted or criticized the homogeneity of K-pop acts' look and sound, but the uniformity in presentation is no new phenomenon and was first introduced to Korea in the 1910s. What is more, this standard helped generate US$177 million worth of exports in 2011, and is a major factor in the expansion of K-pop's overseas fanbase today. The various production agencies closely monitor their ever-diversifying markets and will do what they can to avoid jeopardizing their multi-million-dollar investments. It is partly due to the constant repositioning of existing acts and careful positioning of new ones that apart from a number of anti-Hallyu incidents and campaigns, there are few noticeable signs of K-pop fatigue as yet.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHallyu 2.0: The Korean Wave in the Age of Social Media
    Editors S Lee, AM Nornes
    Place of PublicationAnn Arbor
    PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
    Pages90-107
    Edition1st
    ISBN (Print)9780472052523
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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