Netizens Debate Whether Global Groups Are Really K-Pop

What is K-Pop?

In recent years, there has been an increase in international or multinational K-Pop groups.

UK-based K-Pop girl group KAACHI and Bora Kim‘s K-Pop boy group with non-Korean guys EXP Edition were both met with backlash. Many K-Pop fans targeted the groups and the members with hate comments and videos, declaring them not “K-Pop,” even if they trained or sang some Korean.

Yet, it seems like times have changed. DR Music‘s 4-member global K-Pop girl group, BLACKSWAN, is without question a K-Pop group, although none of the remaining members are Korean. They host live broadcasts, promote on music shows, live in Korea, etc.

They appear to have opened the door for more multinational and global K-Pop groups, too, as in recent years, South Korea-based Japanese girl group XG debuted in 2022. Both JYP Entertainment and Republic RecordsVCHA, formed through A2K (America to Korea), and Hybe Corporation and Geffen RecordsKATSEYE, formed through Dream Academy, recently debuted.

Since most of the recent releases are predominantly in English and the groups are already multinational, netizens have begun debating whether they should be classified as K-Pop. Some fans declare that all these groups are technically K-Pop.

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Yet, many believe these groups shouldn’t be counted as K-Pop. They said that just because a group has promoted in South Korea doesn’t mean anything, considering many American artists, including Conan Gray, Lady Gaga, and even Usher, have done it at least once.

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For some, K-Pop means the song has to have Korean lyrics, sung in the language. Others feel it’s more than just the language but the overall concept.

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Some pointed out that the trainee system makes K-Pop stand out from other genres. Groups such as VCHA, KATSEYE, and XG have this in common. Yet, not everyone agrees with this either.

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So, what is classified as K-Pop is becoming increasingly a gray area. What do you think “K-Pop” means?

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