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Why Korean Music Is Taking Asia By Storm

Posted October. 28, 2005 07:38,   


Bernie Cho, a manager for the cable music channel MTV, gave a lecture on the Korean Wave in Asia at a monthly meeting of the Ahrin Club on October 25.

Cho is a Korean-American who grew up in the America. He majored in politics and international relations at Dartmouth College and studied at Vancouver Film School. He came to Korea in 1992 and worked as a producer for MTV and a VJ for Channel V.

He pointed out a unique characteristic of Asia is that while MTV dominates the music market in Europe, there are many domestic music channels flourishing in Asia.

“Until the mid-1990s, Korean music was no more than a copycat of pop songs and Japanese songs. However, since 1998, with the Internet boom, it has entered the innovation phase: Korean music has created its own style by transforming foreign music.

“Korea is the second biggest music market only to China”-

Since CLON, a Korean dance group made the first inroads into the Chinese market, H.O.T., Lee Jeong-hyun, Park Ji-yun and Jang Na-ra have joined the Korean Wave one after another. This year, albums of four Korean pop stars including BOA, Rain, Seven, and K, made it onto the top-20 best-seller list in Japan.

As for the characteristics of the Korean music industry, he mentioned sexy singers with a keen sense of fashion, quality music, a large investment in music videos, and multi-lingual singers.

“To spread the Korean Wave throughout the world, the Korean music industry should sell music albums in many countries and seek joint projects with successful western pop stars,” he said. “It is necessary to benchmark globally successful Latin stars such as Ricky Martin or Jennifer Lopez.”

The Ahrin Club, which invited Cho, is a meeting led by the National Strategy Institute, a non-profit organization. Since its foundation in 1994, the club invites experts such as ambassadors to Korea every month for lectures on international issues related to Korea.

Yi-Young Cho lycho@donga.com