How Kpop Could Break Outside Korea

After I put out my “How to Create Kpop Idol Group,” I’ve been seeing a lot of traffic on these posts. I’m not sure exactly where the searches pull from or why people might find these interesting since they are very opinionated in my own desire for the creation of a Kpop girl group.

It’s also been a long time since these posts were published, over six months. Though I do enjoy that people have been looking at the posts and I do think that creating this type of Kpop girl idol group could break a lot of borders for fans of the kpop genre.

But my thoughts now are how, Korea could break outside of the borders of Korea.

Honestly, after seeing Se7en, BoA, and even the Wonder Girls try to break into the United States, a lot of flaws of their ideas have become noticeable quickly. Breaking it down would be easier.


Se7en has a vocal style that could work well with United States R&B genres. But the main issue is that his vocal style isn’t varied enough to show his true talents within the United States market. After watching his comeback on Korea music shows, it’s obvious that his abilities are more aligned with the Kpop market than the United States.

He has a style that mixes a lot of genres depending on the song that he’s performing and his single “Girls” while interesting didn’t really follow the same type of music that the genre was producing. The issue is that the subjects that Korean music really talk about in song are not as common when compared to the United States. Also the fact that the United States is a lot more sexual than Korea has a big part because the marketing campaign of the debut wasn’t directed at a pointed place, but rather as a whole.

The United States has a big Kpop fan population, but trying to debut for the general music audience is too difficult for anyone who has a big following in Asia.

Learning to sing and perform in English isn’t enough to debut successfully in the United States, and Se7en showed that while he has the talent, he doesn’t have the appearance that United States audiences are looking for.


BoA had a very interesting debut in the United States and it’s pretty simple to see why she didn’t make an impact like was possible for her abilities. Her album’s concept was about two years behind the then-current trend in dance pop that was present in the United States.

Even though she is huge in Korea and Japan, the music genres of both those countries are much different than the United States. Partially because appearances play such a big part on sales of albums and merchandise.

BoA is very talented, shown by her recent re-debut on Korean soil after five years. But even though her United States debut was strong, her music just wasn’t what was popular at the time and she was quickly forgotten by mainstream media, even if she received notice from smaller media.

Wonder Girls

The Wonder Girls have followed a slightly different path when it comes to their United States debut. Opening for the Jonas Brothers got them a lot of notice by fans of the Brothers, but it didn’t really bring them individual notice. Even after seeing their tour in San Francisco, it shows that they are performing in the Korean style for an American audience.

They need to break out of their character types and become a bit more free. The concert was very scripted and even though they learned English, it was apparent that they were unsure if they ventured off their scripted parts. While I think the Wonder Girls had the best United States debut, they were still banking on Kpop fans rather than United States audiences.

I know JYP entertainment has a strong grasp on how to possibly break the United States audience, but they need to look at the music interests closely or they’re going to appear dated quickly.

I do think that there is a good possibility of Kpop artists doing well in the United States, but I do think that Korean companies don’t fully understand how quickly the United States market changes. It’s not too much about groups, but soloists, which is something that doesn’t happen too often in Korea to transfer to the United States.

I think the potential for Korean pop artists to break in the United States is possible, but it is all about venturing outside the recognizable Korean pop machine and actually trying to mix the two music markets together. While the Asian population in the United States can bring some money for these artists, it is very weak compared to what could be done if the proper planning and marketing was brought forward.

I do think Korean indie and rock bands have a much better chance to bring their music to the United States, it’s just getting the tours, merchandise, and music out to the interested areas of the United States.