K-pop is an influential force in music that is here to stay. That was the consensus of panelists who took part in the Nov. 30 panel 2021 MAMA: The Future of K-pop Panel Session, highlighting the upcoming MAMA Awards that recognize K-pop stars.
One of the telling signs that K-pop is not a flash in the pan is how BTS, Blackpink and other artists have been embraced as mainstream by young adults around the world because they are so widely available on streaming platforms.
“You could find Beyonce and BTS in the same side-by-side thumbnails, and that never happened before,” Angela Killoren, CEO of CJ ENM America told Variety’s co–editor in chief Cynthia Littleton during the session held at CJ ENM’s CGV Cinemas in Los Angeles’ Koreatown.
Killoren, along with Brooke Reese, radio personality and host of “The Chart Show” for Apple Music; Yeon-jeong Kim, head of global K-pop and K-content at partnership at Twitter; and Jake Hong, director of new music business and CJ ENM, discussed the K-pop market, its immense growth and how young people are driving it forward.
Yeon-jeong noted Twitter’s role in connecting artists and fans is in overdrive when it comes to K-pop stars. And its a virtuous circle.
“They want to be updated about what’s happening at this moment. [K-pop musicians] share their feelings to their fans in front of them, and fans will upload and share those feelings to the other fans,” she said.
From July 2020 to June 2021, K-pop as a subject matter set a new record with 7.5 billion tweets, she noted.
“I definitely feel like streaming services, such as Apple Music, are one of the things that helped to accelerate it, because it makes music from around the globe right at your fingertips,” Reese said.
With music from around the world, people are also able to learn more about the culture from the artists they’re listening to. “They want to know more about all these different countries, learning the customs and the culture,” said Reese. “Which is why I think it’s opened up so well.”
Killoren added, “This younger generation is a much more diverse, multi-cultural generation that is taking the real role of educating everybody else.”
CJ ENM has no shortage of ambition for the music, TV and digital content that is now falling under the general rubic of K-pop. “It’s just the beginning, I think. We see a bigger future and we’re excited about it,” he said.
Watch the full video above.
More From Our Brands