KPop and Korean Dramas Gaining Tremendous Popularity in North America
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Korean Dramas and KPop are taking the world by storm. Audiences in North America are increasingly captivated by Hallyu, the Korean Wave - and we can see this by the attendance at conventions and pop concerts across this continent. JeffreyFever explains really well how easy it is to get addicted to KDramas.
Just last week there was the KCon convention in New York. They invited special guests Yim Si Wan (lead actor Triangle, Misaeng) and Park Bo Young (lead actress from Oh My Ghostess!). They also had amazing K-Pop groups including BTS, Seventeen, and Ailee. This proves the point that Korea itself has realized that its popularity worldwide is recognizing its international audience by making available a number of tour dates in North America.
We also saw a new convention in Toronto this year called Hallyu North - and although the festival was very popular and would be considered a success, it suffered from logistical issues due to the huge attendance in comparison to the expected attendance. Having too many people? Good problem to have. The main complaint was that people waited in line for hours to see SHINee, the A-list K-Pop band that came to perform - and yet the band performed for only a half hour.
If we look at the attendance of KCon, in 2015 there were 58,000 people that went to KCon in LA and another 17,000 people went to the first KCon event in New York. Tickets to KCon concert range from $50 to $800, proving that people will pay amazing amounts for the chance to see their Korean Idols perform.
There are a number of reasons that people get hooked on Korean culture - but most people have an entry point. Buzzfeed interviewed attendees of KCon and they all mentioned their "entry" song - that first one that got them hooked on KPop. Most people hear about bands like GOT7, Wonder Girls, EXO, Super Junior, Big Bang, Seventeen, SHINee, Shinhwa, Taeyang, BTS and more. The fact that these names are getting to be so well known outside of Korea goes to show that music transcends language. A lot of the fans don't speak Korean (although some of us are trying to learn).
Hallyu North included a breakdown of demographics of the audience that was expected at their event in their exhibitor package.
It's interesting (and not terribly surprising) to see that the biggest demographic for Korean content is females age 18-24. This is a group that's highly connected, watches nearly all of its content online, and isn't scared of subtitles. Also women of this age group are highly romantic, and the one thing all of KPop and KDrama has in common is romance. It doesn't matter if you're listening to a song or if you're watching a TV show, Korean culture always goes back to the romantic. A lot of Hollywood productions have lost that romantic quality - they go for gritty, or sexy, but without that actual romance of two people connecting with each other emotionally. In fact, try saying the word 'emotionally' out loud without cringing in embarrassment.
There are also a huge amount of YouTube Vloggers who are vlogging in English about Korean Culture. My favourite dynamic duo by far is Hallyu Back, who vlogs about news, culture, KPop, KDrama you name it.
On a final note, check out this hilarious video of How to Know You're Addicted to KPop.