For the uninitiated, Korean pop music, or K-Pop, is a modern music genre combining elements from several other genres like rock, electronic, hip-hop, R&B, and pop. It’s been around for about a century but has gained worldwide acclaim in recent decades. Some of the most recognizable and famous artists include Exo, BTS, Twice, and BLACKPINK, among others.
Korean Pop or K-Pop has several interesting facts many people don’t know about. And here we dish out eight things that you probably don’t know about Hallyu that are worth sharing. Read it after the jump.
Training to Become a K-Pop Star Is Hugely Expensive
To become a Korean pop idol, the average cost of training is $3 million dollars. The trainees are usually very young and live together while spending several grueling hours per day in their studies. This includes reading music, singing techniques, dance forms, foreign languages, and other similar skills.
While a trainee doesn’t have to flip the bill during their education, they do have to pay the entire sum if they decide to quit during training. They also don’t make a dime for themselves until they’ve paid off their debt. Some labels split the cost, as with JYP Entertainment, creating a 50/50 divvy with artists.
Jackie Chan Manages a K-Pop Boy Band
JJCC is a South Korean boy band containing six members. Not only are they one of the more popular and successful, but they’re also managed by Jackie Chan, the famous Chinese Hollywood action movie star. He actually has his own entertainment management group in Seoul, South Korea.
Many K-Pop Groups Have a High Member Turnaround
While there are only a set number of members in each group, many have a huge list of former members. Leader’S has 28, APeace has 23, LPG has 15, Barbie D has 14 and BADKIZ also has 14.
Age Is a Major Factor
Most K-Pop stars are under the age of 18 years old and many of them begin their training around four or five years old. It’s rare that a K-Pop star continues their career well into their late 20s and early 30s.
The First K-Pop Album Released in 1925
The first-ever K-Pop album was released in 1925, entitled “Yo Pungin Sewol,” or “This Tumultuous Time,” from Park Chae-seon and Lee Ryu-saek. But our modern conception of K-Pop technically began in 1992 during the growing popularity of the group Seo Taiji and Boys.
The First K-Pop Album in the US Released in 1959
The Kim Sisters were the first K-Pop group to release a self-titled album in the US in 1959, recorded in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their cover of “Charlie Brown” reached the seventh spot on the Billboard singles chart that same year. They actually appeared on TV for the Ed Sullivan Show and one was with Dean Martin. They appeared on the show a total of 21 times.
K-Pop’s Roots Started with an American Missionary
In 1885, Henry Appenzeller, an American missionary, taught Korean school children British and American folk songs. The early days of K-Pop in the 1920s reflect this with echoes of it throughout the genre today.
The North and South Korea Used K-Pop along the Demilitarized Zone
The dividing line between Korea that defines north and south was a great source of tension for decades until 2018. Each side would blast K-Pop and propaganda along the demilitarized zone. It was a psychological operation demonstrating dominance.
Read more about K-pop here.
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