When did we all become so obsessed with K-Pop?

I think we can all agree we’ve heard of K-pop in one way or another, whether it be hearing a song scrolling through TikTok or on the TV.   

By Nicola Scovell 

So, when did it all start? K-pop has been around for nearly two decades. Before K-pop exploded onto the scene, much of the music played in South Korea was patriotic as it was commissioned and promoted by the country’s government.  

It all changed in 1992 when boy band Seo Taiji and Boys made their debut on a talent show on Korean TV. The group are credited to pushing K-pop into the mainstream and bringing over American hip-hop fashion in Korea.  

Seo Taiji and Boys

Fast forward years later and we have multiple K-pop bands making their name known globally. Boyband BTS were the first K-pop group to perform at the American Music Awards in 2017. BLACKPINK were also the first Korean girl group to perform at Coachella in 2019.  

Korean boy bands and girl groups are no strangers to breaking records, especially when it comes to YouTube. BTS currently hold the record for the most-viewed music video with their single Dynamite, racking up 101.1 million views within 24 hours of its release. This record was previously held by BLACKPINK with their single How You Like That.  

So, what is the appeal? Marketing is a huge strategy when forming K-pop groups. The band names are often acronyms e.g., BTS, EXO. This makes them easy to remember and can be pronounced by non-Korean speakers. If you watch a K-pop music video you will instantly notice the intricate sets, bright colours and complex choreography.  Another notable thing about K-pop is the mix of genres. One song will contain at least three different genres. It may start with bubblegum pop weave into hip-hop and end with EDM, so there is something for everyone!