[Paparazzi Corner] Top Korean idols who took the US entertainment market challenge

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18 May 2015, Singapore – The US music market is probably the only one that has a truly global outreach, and widely followed by people from all continents. This is definitely no different in Korea where the Koreans can be said to be widely influenced by the English Pop scene. Paparazzi Monday looks at some of the top groups who took the challenge in the far west of America. So who succeeded and who failed?


BoA is probably considered as the explorer of Korea, who at a tender age ventured into Japan alone; and at a later age into the US market. Nobody can doubt her talent and dedication to her work, but after spending much time in the United States releasing multiple pieces of music, and took the plunge into acting; nothing really came out from this venture.


Wonder Girls is one I consider to have failed quite miserably from their venture into the United States. Perhaps a wrong timing, or simply a wrong strategy from JYP to “throw” them far west for a prolonged period of time. The decision at that time was puzzling as the Wonder Girls were one of the hottest groups after they shot to fame globally with “Nobody”, and followed up in Korea with multiple other hits. JYP perhaps thought it was opportunistic, but the truth is their prolonged stay in the states did not result in global stardom. Instead, their popularity back in Korea was also declining with the many talented rookies at that time; and being absent from their home country did nothing to help the situation.


The Girls’ Generation‘s entry to the American market was a more strategic and well planned one, as compared to that of the Wonder Girls for sure. Instead of leaving the girls for long periods in America and risk losing their fans in Korea and other parts of the world, the company made the girls shuttle between the far west and Korea. I would not say that Girls’ Generation was a huge hit in the US, but I think they did relatively well with various appearances in top talk shows. It was probably what I call a “hit-and-run” move by the company, after seeing many groups fail.


The YG family groups like 2NE1, Big Bang and PSY are probably the most successful in the venture to the US with 2NE1 having the best shot at huge success. This is of course courtesy of some global craze over “Gangnam Style”, which propelled PSY to global star status. However, it leaves to be seen whether that status lasts; because I am not seeing equal success in the follow up “Gentleman”. I really think this is a one off success rather than a a prolonged global star status. 2NE1 and Big Bang’s strategy seems to be one of penetrating the fashion scene rather than the music scene, with CL seemingly good friends with Jeremy Scott and having many collaborations.

So is there a perfect strategy in penetrating the United States market? I do not have an answer for sure, but as far as I can see there is still a long way to go for the top Korean groups to go head to head with your Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber, One Direction, and even older comeback groups like Backstreet Boys. Perhaps Asian groups should just concentrate on the Asian markets, while taking a hit-and-run strategy in the far west may be the best option just for the exposure.

Read More at “KAvenyou: Your Avenue to Non-Stop Entertainment, Lifestyle and Fashion

Article by: James @ KAvenyou

KAvenyou: Singapore to Korea – Music, Wanderlust, Foodie, Lifestyle.

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