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Opinion: How BTS Changed The Way The West Views K-pop

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BTS Member RM
📷 SPLASHNEWS/UNCRAZED COMPOSITE

BTS have taken the world by storm with their chart success and have introduced hundreds of millions of people to a music genre they once knew nothing about.

To anyone who has remotely kept up with the latest news in the music industry, it should come at no surprise that BTS’s latest single ‘Butter’ broke multiple world records and dominated music charts all over the world.

Although, believe it or not, there was a time when K-pop was an unknown genre to most people in the west. It is really only over the last 10 years K-pop has started to take off in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.

Now it seems like even everyone’s mother is listening to K-pop.

Korean artist PSY, famously known for this track ‘Gangnam Style’, was the first artist to bring K-pop onto the world stage. But, for me, BTS didn’t just bring K-pop onto the world stage like PSY, they actually made it the most dominant music genre in the entire world.

Like most people in 2012, I enjoyed listening to ‘Gangnam Style’ when it soared to the top of music charts, but it didn’t entice me to listen to any other Korean music. BTS, however, didn’t have any instant hit and instead grew overtime thanks to their sheer hard work and determination.

This inspired me to think differently about K-pop and appreciate the effort many Korean artists put into their music.

It is great to see other Korean artists such as IU, BLACKPINK, Red Velvet, TWICE, Eric Nam and a whole lot more achieve success on charts in countries like the U.S.  TWICE recently appeared on The Ellen Show which just goes to show how much K-pop is influencing not just music, but entertainment as a whole in the U.S.

Not everything is rosy with K-pop’s expansion into the west though. With success you should always expect some toxicity, but over the past few years K-pop has grown so much that it is not longer just looked at as a music genre.

For some fans K-pop is now a competition in which their favourite artist must do better than someone else’s favourite. Almost every week, there seems to be some sort of ‘fan war’ on social media between different K-pop fan groups.

It makes it difficult to just enjoy listening to K-pop when so many fans focus on just the numbers.

Regardless, I would expect over the next few years K-pop will completely overtake the western music industry. Especially now that more songs that are coming out of Korea are beginning to either have completely full English lyrics or have at least partial.

One thing for sure is that K-pop’s growth is not going to slow down anytime soon.

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