K-Pop Big At MIDEM

K-pop was a main topic of discussion at the MIDEM music industry gathering in Cannes last month, according to various reports.

The worldwide popularity of “Gangnam Style” has emboldened Korean entertainment companies to make a more concerted push in the West, though that same popularity may, in fact, end up undermining some of those companies’ efforts.

As several industry people noted to the AFP news service, Psy is more or less an independent operator and was able to cash in on the success of his YouTube hit because he can move with relative freedom. Conversely, most K-pop acts are constrained by unwieldy management.

It seems likely that more and more K-pop artists are going to try to loosen the bonds that hold them back. Girls’ Generation  for instance, recently signed with Interscope in the U.S. and will be coming out with an English-language album in March.

However, experts didn’t think Korea’s pop success could be copied by other Asian countries, and while K-pop may be making modest inroads in the U.S. and European markets, its influence in the rest of Asia may have reached its limit. A fairly heated topic was Japan’s cooling to K-pop in the last year, a development that was put into perspective by the Jan. 27 concert of BoA in Seoul.

It was the Korean singer’s first ever headlining show in the South Korean capital, though she has been a big star in Japan for almost a decade. At a press conference just before the show, BoA said it was a more “mature” version of the concerts she gives in Japan, where she debuted as a teenager who was groomed specifically for the local market.
She also hinted that she would make more of an effort to connect to Korean fans and might appear in TV dramas and films in the future.