As the years go on, K-Pop becomes more and more popular in the US, but how do these groups get started?
Here in the US, sometimes it’s looked down upon when a band gets started through a company instead of coming around authentically, maybe from inside their garage, or fresh off the internet. Americans don’t always like a manufactured group. However, in South Korea, this is different. They treat their bands like a product, and the consumers eat it up. So what is the process of creating a K-Pop group?
Becoming part a Korean Pop group is kind of like going through a factory. The young women and men who wish to make careers in K-Pop go through rigorous training. Depending on the situation, kids may spend years in training academies learning how to get noticed for even an audition. This also happens many times in J-Pop, or Japanese Pop. In fact, according to spin.com’s article on the subject, the training regime in Korea is a tweaked version of the Japanese ideology.
From the training to the auditions, a young person may hop around to several different companies, trying to get noticed. According to koreaboo.com, it’s not uncommon for kids to audition over thirty times just to find a place to hire them. If they do get hired, they sign a contract with the company.
However, even after they get noticed and hired, they go through even more training. Signing the contract for a company doesn’t guarantee them a slot in the newest group. In fact, the training can be so intense, that kids may even drop out of school to pursue it. Sometimes training sessions can last for up to fifteen hours a day. This second training session can last up to two years time before these kids make their debut and, really, only about 10% of the kids can get that far.
It isn’t as though, once you’ve made your debut, you are absolutely going to get to the fame that other K-Pop groups have received. Even after the years of training and work, you still would have to work to get your group known to the general public. Not everyone gets to the international level that groups like “Girls Generation” or “2NE1” have. However, if you were to get to this fame, you’d have dedicated fans just like any American group.
The system may be completely manipulated behind the scenes, like a machine, but it makes many people in South Korea and overseas incredibly happy. It’s much easier to find this music, despite the language barrier, in this day and age. It will be interesting to see how long the hype around K-Pop lasts.