Kpop starting taking off seriously in popularity in Korea around 1992. It had its origins in the mid-1980s. It is a fusion of Asian music with a variety of international types of music.Western pop music, rock, classical music, jazz, gospel, Latin, hip-hop, reggae, electronic, dance and country are layered into traditional Korean music, creating the Kpop style.
The boy band “H.O.T” started the pop idol cultural phenomenon around 1996, and large fan followings came around as a result. Merchandise became important as part of the culture, and the large integration of audiovisual elements and colourful clothing in videos, and snappy dance routines created a huge gathering of devotees internationally via social media and YouTube channels as the Internet enabled easier global distribution.
Kpop Merchandise Takes Off
As the happy messages and cultural adaptation to the masses became international, marketers recognised that money was to be made through touring and production of merchandise in the music industry. Music is generally no longer downloaded or distributed on CDs, and it is more often streamed via YouTube and other digital distribution services such as Spotify.
Korean musicians having seen the financial potential from having popular clothing lines and merchandise enlisted designers and product creators to distribute items and fashion accoutrements in order to satisfy fan demand. Fans and devotees of certain artists like to demonstrate their belonging to a particular fan tribe through wearing and owning of Kpop merchandise.
Phenomenon of Kpop Merchandise
Merchandise is recognised as one of the large ways that enables business owners to create additional income streams. With the happy messages that are packaged with Kpop, transnational values (a fusion of western sound) with the fusion of Asian performance styles, its brightness and vibrancy has an easily adoptable feelgood appeal to it. Pop is generally recognised as a style of music that most people (particularly the youth in one generation) find appealing, and due to the adaptation of some western stylisation, Kpop has adopted an international following.
South Koreans attend a huge concert that is held every year to celebrate the cultural phenomenon that is Kpop, balloons are released, fans wear colourful and creatively styled fashion and purchase accessories that display their favourite artist boldly. They emulate cultural popularity, and it enables for a group consensus and sharing of a group mindset of happiness and enjoyment.
Kpop merchandise marketers understand that creating products that are enticing for fans (and audiences) to purchase and demonstrate their adherence to a particular style of artist means that the scope for product creation and subsequent financial turnover in the industry is potentially huge.
Marketers Design Kpop Products
The industry behind the musicians in Kpop understand the power of having a huge international market, and the psychology behind creating what is going to be trending in both fashion and music. Kpop has wholesome feelings about it, including promotions of feeling of wellbeing, and social inclusiveness. Kpop as a cultural styling encourages social cohesiveness, and encourages happiness and upbeat outlooks. Kpop is optimistic and colourful as opposed to the more sinister music styles of goth, punk and alternative music.
Pop has always been representative of youthful beauty, optimism and social cohesiveness. Integrating of some western ideals has modernised South Korea, and created an international following. The uptake of Korean products into international markets has created larger incentives for the government and legislative bodies, and industry leaders to exploit more of the Kpop industry as a cultural export.
Cultural Export of Kpop
As a result of the cultural export of Kpop, a whole variety of associated merchandise has become a must-have in the tribes that enjoy being in the hipster or socially popular social groups. Feeling happy, demonstrating wearing of colourful garments and listening to grooving melodies that are full of messages of light hearted nature grants access to a sense of belonging to a group of people that are associated with joy and excitement.
The sponsoring of large music festivals, and international broadcast of Asian music concerts featuring the best artists continues to grow the audience of Kpop internationally, and those who enjoy the style and appeal of the visual and orchestrated performance are enticed to demonstrate their enjoyment through owning of merchandise.
Fashion, accessories, beauty products and other types of items featuring branding made on trend by Kpop artists and designers are coveted by the music devotees, and as the audience grows and continues to do so on a global scale, the demand for Kpop merchandise continues to increase.