The Unique Factors of K-pop

‘The Debut: Dream Academy’ has garnered significant attention both domestically and internationally.

Unlike typical survival shows, ‘The Debut: Dream Academy’ is not broadcast on TV. Instead, the voting process takes place exclusively through the fan platform Weverse and YouTube, led by a Korean entertainment company, not an American one. Why has global fan interest gravitated toward this event? Experts attribute the popularity of Dream Academy to three key factors: ‘K-pop,’ ‘production system,’ and ‘realizing dreams.’

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K-pop has become a mainstream genre in the global music market. On platforms like Spotify and other popular international music streaming services, K-pop is classified into separate playlists, just like R&B or hip-hop. The American Music Awards even introduced a new category for K-pop artists. This signifies that K-pop has evolved into a distinct genre.

The Debut Dream Academy

According to the Illuminate Report, among the top 10,000 songs on global streaming platforms, the language proportion of Korean stands at 3.1%, ranking 4th place. Considering that the percentage of the global population speaking Korean is only 0.6%, one can gauge Korea’s influence on the worldwide music market. With K-pop firmly established as a popular music genre, the influx of participants in Dream Academy can be seen as a result of the confidence in its success.

Global attention is also directed towards the ‘K-pop methodology’ highlighted by HYBE Chairman Bang Si Hyuk in the initiation of ‘The Debut: Dream Academy.’ K-pop companies identify promising talents and nurture them into ‘idols’ through systematic training, encompassing vocal, dance, and even personality development.
They then debut them with albums produced through collaboration with experts, creating organic connections to fandom communities. Thanks to this unique production system, K-pop has expanded beyond mere music content and transformed into a cultural and methodological phenomenon. The influx of participants is seen as a testament to the belief that this methodology increases their chances of success.

The Debut: Dream Academy

K-pop is now celebrated as a pathway to go from ‘admiring from a distance’ to ‘becoming a star.’ Participants like Celeste from Argentina, who attended a BTS concert and was deeply moved, expressed her dream of becoming a K-pop idol. Samara from Brazil emphasized that skin color or nationality is not important in pursuing a career as a K-pop star. An official from HYBE mentioned that there were numerous potential K-pop aspirants worldwide, as evidenced by the large turnouts at K-pop cover dance events held overseas. Dream Academy provides aspiring stars with an opportunity to realize their dreams, leading to a surge in interest.

Furthermore, the diversity and limitless potential of K-pop are appealing factors. Although K-pop’s global market share in the music industry is currently around 3-4%, it is highly regarded as a content that can bring together diverse generations and races. For instance, fans of BLACKPINK’s Lisa (Thailand) or TWICE’s Momo, Mina, Sana (Japan), and Tzuyu (Taiwan) take pride in supporting members from their own countries. K-pop has become a shortcut to the mainstream pop music market that was previously hard to access.

Similar trends are seen not only in Asia but also in North and South America. The consumption of K-pop by Generation Z, which represents the most diverse races and ethnicities, is substantial, according to a report on U.S. content industry trends (2023 Issue 3) by KOCCA. In a survey conducted by the Korea Creative Content Agency, the Gen Z in the United States stated that they listen to K-pop 80% more than other generations.

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An official from HYBE stated, “There are many aspects of Dream Academy that align with the emotional sensibilities of the younger generation abroad, who embrace diversity and utilize music, performance, and social media as means to express their identity.” They also predicted that the upcoming mission performances and videos would cater to this global trend.

In conclusion, ‘The Debut: Dream Academy’ has become a global phenomenon due to the overwhelming popularity of K-pop, the innovative production system, and the opportunity it offers aspiring talents to realize their dreams. The diversity and expansiveness of K-pop have also contributed to its allure, making it a cultural force that transcends boundaries.

Source: daum.