[Trash Talk] Korean Pop (K-Pop) is on a decline?

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Decided to come up with this new segment for me to talk trash, and yes please take this literally since these are just my opinions and thoughts.

This topic has been heard or discussed, and I did a little poll to get some opinions, and surprisingly there are actually people who agrees that K-Pop is going on a downward trajectory. Yay!

Pretty ironic for this to come from me and this site where we started as a Korean entertainment portal, and still a large part follow this area closely. I am not going to go all geeky on my opinions, and I really think many things can avoid those scientific explanations. “Spare me from those scientific jargon that nobody understand anyway” or “anyone speak human?”

Everything on this planet, world or galaxy seems to work on some cycle like day and night, four seasons, economy and product lifecycle. Like it or not that is how it works, and me not being someone whose not too radical or creative in thinking follows this cycle blindly (add some blame to the Singapore education system too). Your favourite Apple products follow a lifecycle, and that is why new products are launched every year to beat the cycle. Think of the cycle as throwing a ball into the air and eventually it drops to the ground due to gravitational pull (I’m getting a little geeky on this). The only way to counter the drop is to throw a new ball up or exert some pressure to push it into the air again. Recall the first iPhone and the version it is in now will give you a sense of how many cycles it has been through.

If we apply this on the entertainment industry, it should work the same way. If we discount the English pop industry being more established, the Asian pop industry has gone through this cycle. Think Japanese Pop (J-Pop) taking the limelight in the 1990s with Chage & Aska followed by Namie Amuro (“Can You Celebrate”), Hikaru Utada (“First Love”), SMAP, V6, Kinki Kids, Speed etc. I have not even mentioned BoA who technically made her mark in Japan with “Listen to My Heart” in the closing stages of the J-Pop era.

Next, think Mandopop and CantoPop which was pretty big in the 1990s and 2000s. The “Four Heavenly Kings” ring a bell? Maybe not so much for the younger ones, but Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung, Leon Lai and Aaron Kwok definitely will remind you of something being the much respected figures now in the entertainment industry. This is then followed by the rise of LeeHom Wang, David Tao, Eason Chan, Mayday, Jolin Tsai, the prince (now married) Jay Chou and our homegrown Stephanie Sun and JJ Lin. However, all these Mandopop hype definitely came to limelight with your favourite F4 and the subsequent 5566.

Obviously what came next we all knew in the form of Korean Pop and the wave swept across Asia in the 2010s. I personally thought the wave started brewing in the time of H.O.T, G.O.D and Shinhwa, but became a tsunami with the Kings of TVXQ and followed by the juniors or Super Junior, Girls’ Generation etc to name a few (you wouldn’t be bashing me because I didn’t mention your group right?).

KPop has experienced its peak in what I think is 2013-2014, but activities has since quieten down and became more focused. Many agencies forgot that in order for their groups to still be considered KPop, they should first be active in Korea. With the hundreds of new groups fighting for the same pie, how do you think the big groups can maintain the size of the fan base without even being active in Korea? Think supply and demand, and the agencies will fill the market with a limitless number of new groups (Supply). I know the big groups make big bucks still, but that just means the agency will continue to squeeze their asset to make more money. At the same time, the money needed to engage these top idols has been increasing and that contributes to rising ticket prices, and my common sense tells me fans will think harder before buying tickets. Will you pay SG$ 400-500 for KPop concerts? You use to be able to go to 2-3 concerts with SG$500 and now you can only go for one with the same amount.

Like it or not, KPop seems to be on a decline and that does not mean it is gone for good. It just means that something else is coming up, while you still can follow KPop at a smaller scale. Even when KPop is on a high, JPop and Mandopop is still widely being followed. The only difference is just that you may not see it as widespread as now.

Whatever the case, you still have us @ KAvenyou.com to walk your fan journey with you. =)

Let me leave you with a little thinking. What is next? (Leave us comments)

Article by: James @ KAvenyou

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

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