Client: The Guardian (2018)
The slick, highly trained K-pop groups have slowly but surely gained traction in the west over the years. In 2012, the US-based Korean pop culture convention, KCON, drew an audience of 10,000. Last year, that figure was 149,000, but the US and UK music industries have remained oblivious to the phenomenon, or unconvinced that a record sung in Korean could ever find an English-speaking audience large enough to compete with their homegrown artists.
That theory is now shattered by BTS’s success, and the spotlight is now on South Korean pop, a fast-paced, riveting and fertile industry but one with its own rules and lexicon that isn’t always simple to navigate. This is your essential guide to who’s who and what’s what in K-Pop.