Hot issues in K-pop scene

By Korea.net Honorary Reporter John Paul Vergonia
K-pop has proved to be popular in many parts of East Asia and elsewhere in the world. Even though a lot of people don’t really understand the lyrics of an entire song in Korean, still, K-pop enthusiasts of all ages continue to support them with a passion. With the continued success of the modern-day Korean pop music industry, not only in Korea but elsewhere, too, hip and trendy pop music can’t stop growing and will continue to influence the life of fans all around the world, especially as we are now in the new millennium.
With the success of “Gangnam Style” in 2012, the famous single and its accompanying music video went viral and became the first YouTube video to reach 1 billion views. It was performed by the most celebrated Korean musician today, Psy. This has had a knock-off effect on K-pop, and his fame has helped K-pop music to become more widely renowned. His fame also contributed a lot to the recognition of not just K-pop but to the broader world of Korean TV shows and movies, too. Besides, K-pop on its own has also influenced pop culture in some markets and has made huge changes on music scenes there. K-pop itself continues to become a trend on social media and video streaming sites.
A proof of the great influence of K-pop was the historic recognition and record breaking votes that the seven-member K-pop group BTS received at the Billboard Music Awards. That K-pop group won the Top Social Artist award, a measure of online popularity, as a result of its wide online support from its large international fan base and its league of followers, called the “Army.” This May, BTS was the first K-pop group to receive a nomination and to bring home an award at those awards, an honor given by Billboard based on the number of albums and digital song sales, including the online social engagement of the artist or band.
In addition to stylish Korean fashion that has its share of effects on the rising popularity of K-pop, the associated music videos also bring attention and play an important part in the progress of the K-pop scene itself, and the larger Korean entertainment industry more broadly. Last summer, the Ko Ko Bop Challenge,  a new K-pop trend, gained rapid popularity among some people in East Asia and elsewhere, and was the talk of the town online for months because of the fun and witty dance moves it inspired.
The name of the song “Ko Ko Bop” means “fans dancing.” It was co-written by EXO members Chen, Chanyeol and Baekhyun, and is included on the group’s newest and record-breaking studio album “The War” (2017). 
The Korean-Chinese K-pop group EXO recorded its energetic reggae single “Ko Ko Bop,” which was included on its fourth studio album, “The War.” This was the inspiration behind the viral dance trend. The Ko Ko Bop Challenge was created by Instagramer Sheryse Skinner, an Australian fan of EXO. She introduced it online on July 24, 2017. She posted a video of her over-the-top version of EXO’s signature dance moves. Her sister suggested that she add a hashtag, too, making it into a challenge, and then she posted it online.
The challenge rapidly went viral on social media as more people made their own versions of the original dance choreography and uploaded it along with the #KoKoBopChallenge hashtag, which became a trending topic on some social media sharing sites. With the topic trending across various social media platforms, it resulted in many people nominating others to do the dance and engage in the fun and entertaining challenge.
The concept behind the Ko Ko Bop Challenge centers on recreating EXO’s signature step sequence, where people dance to the song “Ko Ko Bop,” particularly in the “down down baby” part of the song. There, the dancers’ arms sway back and forth as the knees are bent and they bounce up and down. As it’s a fun dance, some people do it beyond the usual, wearing all sorts of costumes and dancing at random moments in public places, which makes it an interesting challenge for everyone.
Besides the cover dance groups that made the Ko Ko Bop Challenge an online favorite, especially the amazingly fun version by the dance troupe Kaotsun, the trend and its signature dance moves also stirred interest from many news and TV show around the world, including the Bolivian TV show “La Revista Al Dia,” Australia’s “SBS PopAsia,” the Philippine noontime TV program “It’s Showtime” and the U.S. TV show “Good Day Sacramento,” just to name a few. They all attempted and accomplished the Ko Ko Bop Challenge live on TV.
The Siu Twinz try out their Ko Ko Bap dance moves on YouTube. (The Siu Twinz)
The viral spread of such K-pop inspired silliness has brought great attention on social media in recent weeks, as the whole world has gotten interested in learning and searching about it. The popularity of the Ko Ko Bop Challenge has spread beyond Korea and has infected many countries, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, Argentina, Russia, and even Europe and the U.S.
EXO’s record-breaking new album, which included the song “Ko Ko Bop,” has reached more than a million physical copies sold, excluding digital copies, and the accompanying music video has hit 1 million views on YouTube within its first hour of being released on July 18, 2017. It has shown globally the prowess of the K-pop industry. The song “Ko Ko Bop,” which means “fun dancing,” was co-written by EXO members Chen, Chanyeol and Baekhyun.
With the easy acceptance of the Ko Ko Bop Challenge by many fans, K-pop has reignited its power, and the broader wave of popularity seen by Korean TV shows and Korean movies has once more continued to influence the entire region. With this year coming to an end, K-pop fans are ready to witness other K-pop phenomenon, and trend that is sure to come next year.
wisdom117@korea.kr