What’s The Future of K-Pop?

We have seen rapid growth of K-Pop in the past ten years. Based on its present status, we can forecast what will happen to K-Pop as a whole in the coming years. These will be discussed in this article.


One major question:

What would K-Pop look like ten years from now?

I also discussed this in my previous article. However, with news on the change in K-Pop industry, I decided to talk further about it in a separate article.

New groups

With new groups sprouting, and with their various debut songs, multi-fandom people like me will be confused. Which one should be followed? We will end up selecting only groups that matter.

We have witnessed various groups formed this year. These include ITZY, ONEUS, Cherry Bullet, TXT, BVNDIT, AB6IX, 1the9, TARGET, and VeriVery. These groups will be added more in the coming years. As new groups are trying to be relevant, and competing for limited attention, many will end up with less views and underrated performances.

New approaches

More stars will collaborate with non-Korean artists, like Nicki Minaj, Dua Lipa, and Lauv. But owing to lack of promotions, popularity, and music videos, these kind of music will not last for long.

With various groups catering to international audiences, and adding more English lyrics, mainstream radio stations will feature their songs. But for TV stations, only few will make it, like BTS and BLACKPINK. And only few dance crazes wil also make it.

The battle in the next years would focus more on quantity and time. The battle now would be on number of views, streams, and likes. Some existing groups are on hiatus, giving other groups chance to stand out.

With intense competition, more new songs and concepts will be featured, focusing on modern side of music, instead of traditional music used by pioneers of K-Pop. In turn, K-Pop loses its distinct flavor and might sway with mainstream trends.

The genre will expand promotions, focusing more on US and Latin America. Expect some changes if this happens, which includes assimilating Latino music into the genre.

Fans will increase. Expect more distasteful remarks between fandoms, and more support in promoting each other’s music. Sasaengs will also increase, and expect more attacks toward artists. Expect also some fandoms turning tables around, as is the case with Monbebes today.

As a whole, K-Pop might feel a gradual downturn as it battles various issues, especially that more agencies are unresponsive to these. Plus its aversion to experiment on new styles of music, as what TheBiasList pointed out. It reached the apex, and going through declining stage is becoming inevitable.

New milestones

Existing and former groups made their mark on various aspects, from album sales, concerts, and ability to penetrate Western markets. New groups will usually find it hard surpassing milestones made by pioneers, like being featured in a Time Magazine or three billion views.

We will also see more stars from new groups rise to fame. This we see today with some members of ITZY and AB6IX, who were named as one of famous Korean personalities. Even if they debuted just months ago, they immediately caught attention from more people.

More groups will disband. This is apparently the case for new groups which will only exist for a limited time (instead of usual seven years). Also, other groups under indefinite hiatus will eventually disband.

Oldies

More and more oldies will face pressing issues, like drugs, sex, and crimes, regardless if proven or not. This we see from Seungri, Daesung, and B.I, and this is not farfetched. On the other side, some oldies will do solo debuts or collab, as was the case with 2NE1’s Park Bom or Sistar’s Soyou.

More and more stars will experience depression, especially among the oldies. Take the case of Sistar’s Dasom, and even Taeyeon from Girls’ Generation. Worse, this might lead to another death like that of Sulli.

If not involved in bad stuff, more oldies will go to drama, and some will go on a date and marry. They will prefer to stick on personal life. This we see now with 2NE1’s Dara, who is now dating with her longtime crush. Even SHINee’s Minho is now thinking of having a family. Take also the words of Jin and V (Taehyung), who want to live simple lives after ten years.

Specific Forecasts

YG Entertainment, while still taking the lead in bringing K-Pop to the world, will struggle to be relevant in the music industry, as it battles various issues from its talents.

Others like SM, BigHit, JYP, and even small entertainment agencies will still remain afloat. Meanwhile, new agencies like that of Daniel Kang and PSY will start showing their own talents, competing with the big ones.  As to 1theK, we see less and less MV uploads from other agencies to the channel.

K-Pop sees Japan as a very profitable and “critical” market. In fact, July 2019 was full of comebacks in Japanese. Some groups already have Japanese members (like IZ*ONE, TWICE, and Cherry Bullet). However, the ongoing trade war and racism against Japan will indirectly cripple K-Pop in terms of sales.

Military service

All of EXO, SHINee, and Super Junior members in the camp today will finish military service, in which case they will continue their careers together.

As to BTS, all members will be in active service, at which point their fame will be on a halt until their comeback. In the meantime, TXT will take the lead.

Other talents

Produce 101 will not air anymore owing to breach of trust with fans and future trainees. This vacuum will be filled by other shows, which more or less adopt the same format. On other cases, existing groups and members will venture on different shows like Queendom, as another way of promotions.

Few soloists will stand out, like IU, Chung Ha, Heize, Park Bom, and Eric Nam. Others like Mina (AOA), Sunha (SATURDAY), and other Pristin members who left their groups will battle for fame as soloists or venture on drama.

Opening doors to non-Korean talents are giving exciting prospects to K-Pop. Expect more agencies opening its doors to them. In fact, JYP Entertainment debuted its Chinese group Boy Story, and SM Ent did the same with WayV. An agency debuted SB19, an all-Filipino group, and Zenith Media formed Z-Boys and Z-Girls.

For Z-Boys and Z-Girls, though they are quite related/non-related to K-Pop, their boom in the future will inspire other agencies to follow their concepts, shifting K-Pop to become more global in approach. This also might push agencies to add more non-Koreans to their respective groups, which will force some Koreans to tone down their racist remarks.

Final Words

In general, the challenges K-Pop will face in the coming years include (1) ability to penetrate mainstream media, (2) maintaining the vibe it has amidst globalization, (3) agencies to respond to worst of issues, (4) handling of increase in new groups, (5) keeping and maintaining talents (as is the case with IZ*ONE), (6) surpass milestones made by pioneers, and (7) need to change negative attitudes of some Koreans.

K-Pop Annual Report 2019

At this point, we will start telling what happened to K-Pop this 2019, covering from January to November.


The events in K-Pop for the year 2019 is perfectly summed up in one phrase: Rookies and Scandals.

Positives

More positives happened this year. This includes creating a special celebrity challenge called Queendom. In this show, select girl groups are given tasks and are to experiment on different genres. This helped some underrated groups rise to fame, as is the case with AOA and Oh My Girl.

For the first time in K-Pop, SuperM was created out of different groups. The select members from EXO, SHINee, and NCT were combined to form a supergroup.

Enlistments are still ongoing, with Hongki, D.O., and Xiumin joining the corps. Meanwhile, some military discharges are happening like that of Super Junior and Bigbang.

This has been also the Year of the Rookies, with so many new groups debuting and garnering attention. Listed were Cherry Bullet, AB6IX, TXT, ITZY, VeriVery, BVNDIT, Hinapia, and others. For TXT, ITZY, and AB6IX, they bagged awards, got promotions, and endorsements in a short span of time.

Another positive aspect was on proactive approach of fandoms in various issues. With the power they have, fandoms are going to be less beholden to unresponsive agencies. Take the case of Monbebes, who are taking collective efforts for Wonho to return. They even launched a fundraising to install posters at Times Square. To a lesser extent, this is happening on Merries and Produce 101 fans.

On dating scandals, some succeeded in this hurdle, but many failed to go through. Famous success stories were on TWICE’s Jihyo and Kang Daniel, and Hyuna and Dawn. Failures include that of Jennie and Kai, and Daisy and Yunyeong.

Some pioneer groups are trying to go back to the K-Pop scene. This we see with Fin.K.L, Brown Eyed Girls, Ladies’ Code, and Super Junior with their respective comebacks.

Negatives

More sad news are surfacing in the industry. First is on disbandment, namely that of f(x), Wanna One, B.A.P., Myteen, Boyfriend, Hello Venus, and Pristin.

Second, but equally painful, was the scandals. Scandals that made major impact on K-Pop were on Seungri’s case and Sulli’s death. The Burning Sun, in which various artists were involved, later crippled YG Entertainment, even if Seungri and Yang Hyun Suk were kicked out.

Sulli’s death highlighted the dark side of K-Pop, primarily pressure from agencies and hate remarks from netizens. Her death prompted several stars to suspend or cancel various engagements as sign of respect.

More and more members are going to rest due to health reasons. This is the case with Choi Yoojung, Dino, Yanan, and Minari. If not on hiatus, they part ways mainly on career change, retirement, and scandals. Notable cases were on B.I., Woojin, Hwall, Laun, Kangin, AOA’s Mina, and Wonho.

This year characterized several hiatus with Momoland and Cherry Bullet. Both have two members on hold for unspecified reason. And as of this writing, their agencies are silent on this lingering problem.

The voting scandals of Produce series are now casting doubts, not only on future shows, but also on groups born in it (IZ*ONE and X1). There have been petitions to ban these groups from future engagements.

In the next article, we will discuss on the future of K-Pop ten years from now.


Featured Image Credit: KMania Channel

How To Improve Produce 101 (?)

With recent vote-rigging scandals on Produce series, some weak points are being revealed. In this essay, we will attempt to present improvements on these shows. Side comments also included.


Overview

IZ*ONE recently suspended their comeback, which was supposed to be on November 11. X1, on the other hand, had to shy away from some engagements. Reunions of Wanna One and I.O.I are being halted.

These are happening amidst vote manipulations in Produce series, led by PD Ahn Joon Young. Producers picked talents even before actual vote began. Worse, appearances and scenes are edited to make other talents look good (which even GFRIEND’s SinB noticed when she appeared there, and Produce took her words out of context).

It led to trainees’ parents and fans to clamor for improvements, or them pressing charges against producers. While we see some fans now taking proactive approach, this revelation is definitely one of the worst events in K-Pop for this year.

To disband IZ*ONE and X1 or not, the author is strictly neutral on this. What matters for us is on how to improve these kinds of programs.

Produce series are intended to “produce” talents for K-Pop, and give fresh blood to the genre. Winning trainees are debuted for a limited time, and afterwards go back to their respective agencies.

Improvements

TheBiasList made some good points on how Produce is stifling the K-Pop industry. From that point, the author will supply the blogger’s write-up with some matters to be considered.

From the title itself, the meaning is pretty obvious. At least in theory. But if the new group turns out to be so popular, it has to be given a permanent place. Not one year or five years contract. If they are intending to debut groups for a limited time, it must be given to other shows, not for Produce.

It’s unwise to “produce” groups if they are only given short lives. More than supposed profits that might be foregone if the project group disbanded, many fans will get hurt and dismayed.

As to the nature of Produce focusing more on popularity, it must develop mechanisms to emphasize talent. This must not be overlooked. Especially that we reviewers are sensing some downturn on quality of performances unlike in the past.

Finally, voting results must be vouched by a third-party, preferably auditing firms (like EY, KPMG, Grant Thornton). Aside from vouching for truthfulness of results, it verifies integrity of voting process.

It’s already apparent that Produce lacks internal control, with overrides like vote puffing, cooking show, and “nightlife” to manipulate votes.

Final Words

Prospects for Produce series point to its ultimate demise. Nevertheless, these points are very helpful for networks and agencies who want to replicate the show’s format.

It is sincerely hoped that future shows which follow Produce will learn lessons from latter. Repeating mistakes like that today is very costly and damaging.


Featured Image Credit: Soompi

Love Advice No. 109 (IZ*ONE’s Chaewon)

For the first time, we will give love advice to a K-Pop star, this time IZ*ONE’s Kim Chaewon. While earlier, we reviewed the group, this time we’ll review their member to help them improve their personality. Let’s start!


From KPopMap:

Q: Do you dislike fat people?
Chaewon: Who doesn’t?

Q: What kind of guys do you like?
C: Don’t really have a preference. Lol as long as they’re not short.

Q: What kid of visuals in a guy do you like?
C: Handsome.

My Answer:

Take note that the word used is like (좋아). There’s no problem if we talk about liking him. This is more on having crushes. You can say that you like a handsome man at this point (say, Park Bo Gum), then forget it later. But if we go on loving him, Chaewon has a problem if that’s the case.

Honestly, my answer to these questions will be the same. Anyway, we have our own set of preferences, and we cannot deny that.

To add, this convo was taken at the time they are too young for relationships, or even marry. Therefore, this needs to be viewed in the context of teenager’s feelings.

Pointers

While this should not be a big deal for us, some points have to keep in mind.

One thing that should be kept in mind is this: Our preferences change as we age. We realize some points, we ponder on it, and therefore make us a better, mature person than yesterday. This makes us wiser when deciding on the ideal partner.

Another thing: There are some instances where we don’t like him/her at first (due to physique) but we later on love that guy. That includes me, who loved a not-so-good looking girl. For Chaewon to better understand my situation, here’s the description:

A guy who is tall and medium built, but has braces and wears glasses. He’s not the type of man you want to be with, as he is shy. His talking is also a bit off, especially if you treat him sarcastically.

Would Chaewon at that time like him? Definitely no. But spend time with him. Know him more, and she’ll later on fall in love with him unconsciously.

So, it’s very important to know the guy better first. Looks will fade, but personality remains. That’s the reality we will eventually face.


Photo Image Credit: From one of fanpages of IZ*ONE.

IZ*ONE (아이즈원) – Violeta (비올레타): MV Review

This time, we are now reviewing another newbie group called IZ*ONE with their song Violeta. For a little bit of intro, this is composed of Wonyoung, Sakura, Yuri, Yena, Yujin, Nako, Eunbi, Hyewon, Hitomi, Chaewon, Minjoo, and Chaeyeon, which debuted last October. This is their second lead song, and this is my first time to do a review of them.

I recently had more time to do it, as I am getting curious on what they will offer to us in this song. Actually, I am pressured to finish this due to lack of time. But before reviewing it, you may watch first their MV here:


Storyline

  1. Video must have a storyline – 3 points

The story revolves on the girls searching for beauty, and then celebrates it at the end.

Pardon for the rating, but I did not see the storyline behind this music video.

  1. Theme must be consistent and clear – 5 points

The themes presented in this video are more on shades of violet, different kinds of glasses, and flowers. These give added beauty to their MV.

Appearance

  1. The music video as a whole must be colorful – 5 points
  1. Must be done in good taste – 5 points
  1. Does not celebrate Halloween, Easter, or similar celebrations – 5 points
  1. Does not feature astrology – 5 points
  1. Less horror is featured in the video – 5 points
  1. Not too revealing outfits – 5 points

Music

  1. Ability of the music to excite the listener – 4 points

Best description for this is exciting, but not enough for me to be determined on hearing the song.

  1. Music should not be deafening on the ears – 4 points

The song was not too deafening, except for the chorus part, particularly at the highest note.

Dance

  1. Dance can be learned easily even by beginners – 5 points

This deserves a perfect score, as I can “read” the dance steps with ease. In fact, the easiest dance moves are on 2:07 – 2:12, and at the last nine seconds of the video.

  1. Dance must not be too sensual – 5 points

Lessons

  1. Moral lesson must be clearly stated – 2 points

Pardon also. Had they considered including the moral lesson in the video?

  1. They must impart something beneficial for their viewers – 5 points

Viewers can learn something beneficial from IZ*ONE’s music video:

First of all is on appreciating the beauty of nature, particularly on flowers. This will help us somehow not to take for granted flowers we see everyday on the streets, and also in our houses.

Second is on using glasses to beautify our houses. This will give added elegance and beauty to our homes. These are featured by the following:

Chandeliers at 0:44 and 1:06…

Glass mirrors at 1:15…

Glass box at 0:42…

And glass prism at 0:29.

Other Matters

  1. Inject sense of humor in the music video – 1 point

Sorry again. I did not see something humorous in the music video.

  1. Ability of the song to make it to mainstream media – 3 points

This might not make it to mainstream media, though their popularity is rising. It is because the tone was not exciting to tickle the ears of non-K Pop fans.

  1. Review by other sites – 4 points

Obsessed and Assessed noted the song as following the lead of its debut one, that is progressive. While it was “definitely fun,” the blogger was confused on this song. While some points enumerated need to be considered, it nevertheless praised the song for its “punchy and addictive” nature.

On the video, though the sceneries were plain, it was better as they added more fixtures in the video, like flowers and chandeliers. And on the choreography, that was their best so far with their detailed yet simple moves. As a whole, the MV is just as fine.

(Side Note: O&A was inactive for the whole of March because of K-Pop scandals. As a piece of advice to the blogger, what happened during the scandals last March should not hinder him/her in doing MV reviews. If all K-Pop groups stopped debuting and doing comebacks this March because of this issue, then that’s the time we feel disappointed.)

KPopReviewed felt that the first verse was not as captivating, but is so starting at the pre-chorus. The flair of the tune and the voices were beautifully performed. It noted also the nature of the MV, which describes the preference of color violet. Most of the contents in the video were fine, and exciting, to say the least.

TheBiasList did not enjoy the song and the MV as it shares the same issues with the debut song. It suggested that the production will add more content next time, and not use their songs as merely cliffhangers.

  1. Review of the music video as a whole – 5 points

They made their music video in a beautiful manner, and I do appreciate their performance as a whole. I also view it as a sequel to their debut MV La Vie En Rose.

From what I see in the video, various things featured here can be interpreted as follows:

Glasses, which represent reflection of themselves;

Flowers, which represents the beauty they want to show;

And water, which represents the purity of their intentions.

  1. Other factors
  • Resemblance with other members – 5 points

At 0:38, Chaeyeon resembles Chaeryeong of ITZY in the latter’s MV of Dalla Dalla.

Haha. 🙂 Sorry, I only knew now why they resembled that much, as they were sisters. Anyway, that will also be a positive factor for this criterion.

On the other hand, at 1:22, Minju resembles Sana of TWICE in her Fancy MV (at 0:46).

  • Shares concepts with other groups – 5 points

Look at 2:21, where the girl lies with the flowers:

Looks like it was the same concept shared with Mino of WINNER in his solo “Fiance” (0:22):

Second is on 0:51, where another holds a flower in its branch:

The pose shares with that of Hwasa in her song TWIT (2:26), where she holds a bird.

They also shared the burning flower concept from CLC’s NO (2:42) in their short feature at 2:19.

Finally, the pose at 2:58 in the hallway resembles that of Dreamcatcher in their song Piri (at 1:04).

TweetNewscaster’s Overall Rating: 81.90%

Final Words

The MV was not bad really. But some improvements must be done by the group in their next comeback. They have to make their storyline clear, and add at least one funny scene. Also, they have to inject moral lessons in their next MV.

Hope this review guides IZ*ONE in their next comeback. There will always be room for improvement, nevertheless, this was beautifully made and thought-of.

News and Tidbits (April 29, 2019)

For this year, we will introduce another feature to this site called Tidbits. This refers to pieces of news and opinions of the author it wishes to tell. Let’s start!

K-Pop in general

Last March, the industry suffered setbacks on sex scandals by some K-Pop stars (Hello, Seungri!). It was foretold that it will put an end to the industry, but events tell otherwise. This season was full of new groups and debut songs, and schedules are full of these. The biggest challenge for the newbies is on how to stand out.

Also, last March was full of comebacks like Heize, DreamNote, MAMAMOO, and KARD. As the saying goes, “The show must go on.”

*****

Some Korean fans scoff at international fans who follow more than one group. They must know how to respect preferences from multi-fandomers, especially if the latter also purchases albums from different groups.

While their preference is respected, they are expected to do the same to multi-fandomers. They are not the only ones who stan their respective groups. We will discuss this in detail in a separate article.

*****

Talk about groups

BTS and BLACKPINK topped the mainstream charts and became popular.

It helped that Rosé, Jennie, and Lisa have working knowledge of English, as many viewers of The Late Late Show With James Corden can relate with them. Funny moment is that Jisoo, though not fluent on English, told that “I’m not scary,” meaning she was not a horror character.

*****

BTS, though not fluent on that language, used non-Korean staff to get their message across in their comeback song Boy With Luv. They were also featured on that show,and I have to watch it later.

The group is very popular in North Korea, such that fans there would devise a secret code for BTS. This is due to their government’s ban on K-Pop. But even this policy will not hinder the spread of Hallyu in the country.

*****

TWICE will have their concert in Manila this June. Would they go to It’s Showtime? Definitely no. Consider: Many will go to the studio, and hence be crowded. Not to mention their sasaengs (though not Filipinos) who follow the group wherever they go. If at KMJS or Rated K, that would be possible.

*****

It has been almost a month since IZ*ONE released their second lead song Violeta.

Seems that Produce series can’t make up its mind, especially on maintaining talents. Honestly, with the demise of other groups under Produce series like I.O.I and Wanna One, we can surely tell that this group will not last for long. We can actually project that they will last till next year or 2021. Is this possible? Yes.

*****

Sunha left her group SATURDAY to focus more on her career. It was a sad day, since they now only gained enough popularity in their song WiFi.

Their agency afterwards named Minseo as her replacement and at the same time, new maknae of the group.

And since all of SATURDAY’s members are my biases, Minseo is now included in my bias list. As to Sunha, her being my bias will be suspended for now.

How about Chaerwon, their former member? No, unless she joins again with her group.

*****

GFRIEND recently came with their “soft comeback.” Instead of uploading their song to 1theK, it did the same to Genie Music.

I felt uneasy on them uploading to a different video channel, not having enough rest, and not having a definite comeback. Their uploading might confuse Buddies (if they intend to use it as their new song), as not all their music make it to a single channel.

*****

Fantagio Entertainment, the agency which also handles ASTRO, announced the disbandment of girl group Hello Venus. It was suprising, to say the least.

*****

We may wonder on what happened to Daisy and Taeha of MOMOLAND since they were not included in I’m So Hot and Banana Chacha.

*****

(G)I-DLE is supposed to have another comeback soon, but we don’t know when. Hope they consider some points for improvement.

*****

On the other hand, AOA is planning to renew their contract with FNC Entertainment, after speculations that it might disband.

Since their last performance of Bingle Bangle about a year ago, we haven’t heard any news of them anymore, except for Jimin. Seems also that the group can’t live without Choa, who left the group due to depression. With the future renewal of contract, hope they can do another powerful comeback next month.