50. Psy – opening doors for more Korean artists

If you haven’t heard of Korean rapper Psy by now, I ask you…what have you been doing with your life the last month?!


Since his end-of-summer song “Gangnam Style” went viral, with the video reaching 475 million views so far, Psy has become a household name in the US. He’s been on award shows, The Today Show, The Ellen Show and even made an appearance on Saturday Night Live! His hit has also been the inspiration of countless parodies. Youtube and other social media outlets are to thank for Psy’s insane and sudden success here. I wonder now – has Psy opened a new door for other Korean artists hoping to succeed in the US?

As Simon Dumenco discussed in his article, paying attention to what’s going on in the world of social media can help predict cultural and social trends that are about to hit it big. Without these tools, Psy would most likely not have been signed to SchoolBoy Records so quickly.

Being a major Korean pop music fan myself, all of this sudden success is very exciting to me! The fact that American audiences can enjoy Psy’s music without understanding his language is great news for Kpop artists hoping to make it big in the US; however, this can only last for so long. Korean artists wishing to debut here need to have some sort of English ability, or many American listeners won’t give them the time of day. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, big Korean record labels, such as S.M. Entertainment and YG, already provide social media pages for their artists in both Korean and English.

One group who I think has a chance for US success is girl-group 2NE1. A #1 artist in Korea, this group has already had minor US success. They recently held a concert in New Jersey as part of a larger tour where more than 10,000 “blackjack” fans cheered them on and even sang along. While the group was here, the girls took a moment to chat with Zach O’Malley Greenburg from Forbes.com.

CL’s perfect English shines in this interview, solidifying that the girls not only have the ability to record a song in English, but also to successfully communicate their artistic message to American fans.Β  With an in-your-face attitude, swagger and wacky-but-sophisticated fashion, they remind me of American artists like Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga. They come off as strong, powerful young women which I think is a very appealing trait in America.

Speaking of Nicki Minaj, the girls were recently featured in a new Adidas commercial with her. While they’ve represented and sponsored a wide range of popular brands in Korea, this is their first time working with an American product. As Greenburg mentioned in his Forbes article, the importance placed on high-fashion brands and products in the Kpop world is very similar to the hip-hop scene in the US.

With what sounds like a possible song in the works, I’m eager to watch 2NE1’s American success unfold. Their musical talent can’t be denied, and with the proper management, social media use, timing and songs, I’d say the girls are a group to keep an eye on! You can view their most recent music video and Like them on Facebook to keep up with their latest activities.

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