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Changes Ahead for Korean Music

Posted January. 04, 2006 03:03,   


Music critics and songwriters predict that the music industry’s catchphrase for 2006 will be “change amidst stability.”

They predict the digital single market, which went through chaos last year regarding copyright laws, will stabilize this year. They also believe last year’s hip medium-tempo ballads or remakes of songs will be developed further. The return of household names to the music industry should also strengthen its base, experts say.

Digital Single Market Stabilizes-

Keum Ki-hoon, the 36-year-old chief of Wizmax, an online music portal, says, “Last year, the market value of the entire digital media market was 400 billion won. This year, it is predicted to be around 500 billion,” adding, “The provisional disposition of ‘Soribada’ last year, the MP3 pay-per-download service of ‘Bugs Music,’ and the participation of all three mobile telecommunications industries through programs like ‘Music On’; ‘Dosirak,’ and ‘Melon’ will provide the base for full-scale growth in the digital single market this year.”

In other words, the concept of buying MP3 files will take hold in the digital single market, which had been restricted primarily to sales of ring tones and caller ring back tones.

Im Jin-mo, a pop music critic, expressed hope, saying, “The stabilization of the online single market will expand the range of music content.”

Once profits can be reaped from the online market, albums devoted to popular music genres, such as medium-tempo ballads will change, and music genres with small but devoted fan bases such as hip-hop, rock, shibuya kei, and world music, could expand greatly.

Medium-Tempo Ballads Gain Popularity-

Industry watchers say that medium-tempo ballads, like those from the group “SG Wannabe” and Kim Jong-guk from last year, will stay in the mainstream this year. But they also say that specific details about the music may change.

Songwriter Jeon Hae-seong (36), who wrote the score for Yoon Do-hyun’s “Maybe I Loved You,” predicts this year’s music will be “sad, but with developments using fast beats and acoustic sounds.”

Experts in the music industry seem to agree that music based on sexy concepts or remakes of older songs will be hard pressed to generate any buzz on this year’s music scene. Critics believe that “all the useful material has been used.”

The Return of “Toy”-

The hottest issue of the pop music scene late last year was the release of a new album from male-duo group “Panic” after a seven-year hiatus. The return of well-known artists should continue this year.

One of them is the project group “Toy,” which has its sixth release (after a five-year hiatus) scheduled for May.

Pop music critic Seong Woo-jin said, “I am looking forward to see whether songwriter Yoo Hee-yul, who was married last year, will continue to write unique, experimental scores, or produce popular, established music scores.”

Yang Pa, whose album release was postponed because of a conflict with her management office, will return around March with her fifth release after a gap of five years.

Lee Hyo-ri, who created a “Sexy Frenzy” with her hit single “10 Minutes” in 2003, is looking to continue her success with a second album. Kim Dong-ryul’s fifth album release, and the group Rollercoaster’s release are also highly anticipated by critics.

An eye should be kept on newcomers to the music scene producing Korean new-age music following the success of the world-music band; “The Second Moon” last year.