Is K-Pop here to stay or just another flash in the pan? CEO Choi Jae Hyuk of The Key Artist Agency gives his thoughts on K-Pop and its future through his recent interview with Herald Pop.
K-Pop has grown massively over the past few years with the help of Youtube and other SNS platforms. Starting with Asia as its center, it took flight and expanded on a global level. It extended its field of activities to the United States, Canada, England, Germany, France, Chile, Peru, and other areas of South America. Many solo concerts as well as collaboration performances between artists were put on stage all over the world.
Perhaps it was due to the frequency of the performances compared to the demand, but the number of performance requests from non-Asian locations started dwindling and speculations of the “Downfall of K-Pop” were starting to surface. Could it be true that the popularity of K-Pop, which experienced massive growth over the last 10 years, was finally coming to a halt?
CEO Choi, who has been in both the United States and Korea, has a different opinion. He stated that K-Pop’s roots are still firmly in place and just because a few leaves are falling, it does not indicate that the entire plant is sick.
“Everyone said that the era of K-Pop is coming to an end. Most people have speculated this since 2~3 years ago. I think, however, that the opposite is true. When the craze ended in Japan, it started in South East Asia. When that ended, China took up the baton. Now the South American and European markets are showing more interest. For example, KCON is growing in size every year. Most rookie artists have no time to stay in Korea. This indicates that there is still a lot of demand for K-Pop in foreign markets. It’s an overstatement to say that K-Pop is facing difficulties.”
CEO Choi attributed the high quality of K-Pop as the reason for its bright future. K-Pop takes a trendy genre and completes it with flashy choreography and movie quality music videos. Choi further stated that such music can’t be found in other places.
“K-Pop music and music videos are much higher in quality when compared to other countries. I’ve worked in studios in America and met many people. I haven’t come across anything as high in quality as K-Pop. Much like how Hollywood came to be a brand of its own, K-Pop is becoming a genre in its own category. The work ethic of Korean staff as well as their ideas played a large role in this. They also scrutinize every little detail and the songs they create reflect this.”
CEO Choi Jae Hyuk stated K-Pop can encompass various genres. Although it may have begun solely as dance music for idols, it now pertains to hip-hop, ballads, rock, as well as many other genres.
“If you take a look at the last year’s music chart, Soyou X Junggigo‘s ‘SOME’, San-E and Reina‘s ‘Midsummer Night’s Sweetness’ as well as Taeyang‘s ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips,’ have garnered huge popularity. These aren’t stereotypical idols that focus on choreography and performance. It means that the public responds to good music and this fact does not change overseas. There aren’t any boundaries in the world when it comes to music.”
Producer, composer, and CEO, Choi experienced the work field in both the United States and Korea in order to better understand K-Pop. In 2003 he attended a prestigious music school located near Hollywood, Musicians Institute. After studying acoustics he was at the Silent Sound Studio for a more hands on experience. He even had the honor of recording the late Rick James a week before his passing. He also took part in the albums of renowned artists such as Kool Keith, Master P, Chino XL and Snoop Dogg.
After painstaking hard work, he was promoted as a main producer in six months. This is when he met songwriter Shin Hoon Chul and his eyes landed on the K-Pop industry. He was on a plane to Korea soon after and entered Pledis Entertainment to start from the bottom again as an A&R manager.
With 10 years of field work in both countries, he started working with artists that he developed close relations with. He started as a music publisher in Korea and worked in the placement and publishing the unit To Heart (SHINee‘s Key & INFINITE‘s Woohyun), SISTAR‘s “Sunshine,” Brown Eyed Girls‘ “Come With Me,” and NU’EST‘s “Beautiful Ghost.” He also took part in producing SISTAR’s Sunshine and the rookie hip-hop group 4TEN‘s “Tornado.” Besides his outstanding past achievements in K-Pop, he directed music videos for SISTAR’s “Alone” and “Loving U.”
He established The Key Artist Agency 2 years ago, and is currently the CEO. His purpose was to discover and produce artists that satisfy markets both in and out of Korea. CEO Choi plans to turn The Key Artist Agency into a company that can provide not only original music but management, marketing, choreography, as well as any other creative content that artists may need.
Source: Herald Pop