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As the expansion of the K-pop industry and audience is spreading towards countries outside of Korea, the music industries and Korean netizens have coined this phenomena as the Hallyu wave. The spread of Korean pop has been credited towards the three music powerhouses within Korea: YG Entertainment, JYP, and SM Entertainment.
Contributed by Lynna Nguyen
The spread of K-pop, more commonly known as the Hallyu wave, has increased exponentially in the past few years. Especially with the release of Psy’s Gangnam Style, which quickly gained international attention, the kpop fandom is one of the fastest growing fandoms in the world. So here is a quick crash course for all the new K-pop fans: The three major entertainment companies in Korea, as of now, is SM entertainment, YG entertainment, and JYP entertainment. There are other companies quickly rising in the ranks, but these three are the largest. Let’s begin with SM entertainment. SM has the largest fanbase in Asia. Popular idol groups within the company are DBSK, EXO, f(x), SHINee, Super Junior, SNSD, and BoA. SM artists are known for their variety show appearances and good looks. In the industry, it is known that SM focuses more on appearance. In addition, SM management is plagued with lawsuits. Living conditions, wages, and working conditions for certain idols have been subpar and thus, leading to lawsuits against the company. One of the most publicized lawsuit in recent years was filed by three members of DBSK, known as “Asia’s most popular boyband”, against the company on the grounds that their 13 year contract is more of a lifetime contract, tying them to the company with unreasonable fees and forcing them to work ridiculously long hours. Nevertheless, SM is known to produce some of the most successful idols in the industry. The next is YG entertainment. Popular artists from YG include Big Bang, 2NE1, Lee Hi, Epik High, PSY, Gummy, and SE7EN. Out of the three companies, YG is known to be the most international. Big Bang won the 2012 EMI award for best international artist. 2NE1 has collaborated with Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas and has been featured in MTV Iggy. PSY has recently garnered mass international attention to the Kpop industry with his single “Gangnam Style.” YG is known to accept the most talented into the company, regardless of looks. In addition, YG artists often produce music most divergent from typical Kpop style. Thus, many non kpop fans are still fans of YG artists. For example, Epik High produces music with more of a rap and hip hop indie style. Big Bang and 2NE1 are often referred as the queens and kings of kpop. Lastly, there is JYP entertainment. The CEO of JYP is JYP, himself. He was a popular artist who created his own entertainment company. Popular idols from JYP are 2AM, 2PM, Miss A, JJ Project, and Wonder Girls. Wonder Girls were one of the first Kpop idols to break into the American music industry with their single “Nobody.” They made the Billboard top 100 and even performed on the dance show “So You Think You Can Dance.” In terms of auditioning, JYP takes into account both talent and appearances. These are the basics of the Korean Music industry and do not include all of the popular idols and companies.
Contributed by Viviana Yee