The founder of entertainment behemoth HYBE Corporation, K-Pop pioneer Bang Si Hyuk, caused a stir this week when he suggested dropping the “K” from the name of the genre. In an interview with Maeil Business News, Bang argued that the “K” prevents the industry from expanding and that this drastic alteration is vital for the genre to continue finding popularity.
Bang has previously argued that K-Pop should seek new audiences outside of Korea. The CEO of HYBE seems to think that, despite K-Pop’s massive recent success around the world, the genre needs to become less uniquely Korean in order to attract a wider audience. As Bang pointed out, there are persistent worries about the future of K-Pop being too centred on Korea. Slowing streaming and export growth rates are among the warning indicators he has previously identified, and he has stated, “If K-pop continues in its current structure, I am certain that there will be limitations to its growth.”
Fans are divided on whether or not the “K” should be dropped. Many say K-Pop attaining success globally while preserving its Korean roots is exactly what makes the genre creative. K-Pop acts that make use of the Korean language, Korean cultural references, and Korean creative talent have found a receptive audience outside.
Bang Si Hyuk said:
“These days, I often say that we need to remove the ‘K’ from K-pop. K-Pop now needs to meet a broader consumer base in a wider market.”
But the HYBE creator seems to think that focusing on more universal topics is the key to breaking the genre out onto a larger international scale. This could involve collaborating with Western producers and songwriters, writing songs in English, and reducing the emphasis on uniquely Korean elements.
HYBE’s Bang Si Hyuk Suggests Removing The “Korean” From K-Pophttps://t.co/elGf1fLSy3
— Koreaboo (@Koreaboo) November 8, 2023
However, not every supporter is on board. Some people are in favor of K-Pop artists reaching a wider audience, while others claim that K-Pop acts that heavily feature Korean lyrics in their songs are selling out to Western audiences. Multiple K-Pop groups have been the subject of similar discussions as they increasingly choose English lyrics.
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While Bang thinks dropping the “K” will help K-Pop succeed even more, many listeners are concerned that watering down the genre’s uniquely Korean characteristics will dilute what makes it so great. Whether K-Pop groups and entertainment corporations take Bang up on his suggestion to shed their Korean roots in favor of a more global appeal remains to be seen.
The HYBE CEO speaks with a lot of weight. However, there will be heated debate among fans as to whether or not erasing Korean influences will help the genre spread over the world.
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