Companies, Korea-based or not, are turning to foreign markets for fame and economic gains.
When Kpop is no longer K-pop
More and more foreign companies are joining Kpop and debuting their own groups. Everglow, a group under the management of a Chinese company Yuehua, is using the Korean market as a leverage for their career and opening up the scope of the group’s activities, reaching out to foreign audiences.
Recently, 7 members of XG also debuted and did promotions in Korea. While they look like a Korean group, the members are in fact 7 Japanese girls who sing English-language songs and only use Korean in necessary situations.
XG is under XGALX, a subsidiary company of Avex, a Japanese entertainment conglomerate. The girl group wants the public to know them as a “global group”, not as a group of Kpop artists. Their management company aims at bringing them to the world market.
However, the group still focuses on their activities in Korea. The media compares XG’s activities in Korea to BLACKPINK, BTS or TWICE’s Japanese promotions. Apart from Korean audiences, the group also pays attention to their Japanese market similar to how NiziU does their promotions in Japan (a group under JYP Entertainment).
While following the Kpop model, Avex’s CEO, Max Matsuura still made some questionable statements, looking down on Korean artists and their respective music industry. Much to this controversy, the group still obtained several achievements in this market.
OCJ Newbies is another male group that follows this trend. The group is under One Cool Jasco (OCJ) Entertainment, based in Hong Kong. However the group will first debut and promote in Korea and then reach out to the international market.
However, different from XG, OCJ Newbies are all Korean or have Korean origins. Some members even debuted previously as idols and appeared in famous television shows and survival show Produce.
Kpop directs attention to the global music industry
Currently, entertainment companies in Korea are changing their strategies and putting more emphasis on the global market. In July, JYP Entertainment announced their collaboration with the US-based Republic Records (Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift’s recording label). The aim of this joint activity is to form a group inspired by Kpop but working in foreign markets, similar to XG.
In recent years, well-known groups such as BTS and BLACKPINK are also adding more international fans to their fan base, releasing English songs to easily approach global audiences.
More groups are gaining ground in foreign countries and regions but are unable to secure a spot in the domestic market. Ateez and LOONA are exemplary groups that can perform well in major world-cities but still need more recognition in Korea.
It seems that Kpop is having a substantial change in comparison to their earlier eras. Companies are switching up to foreign countries to build their reputation when Kpop is getting “crowded”.