Money 4 Nothing

K-Pop Histories Beyond BTS (Featuring The Idolcast)

July 18, 2022

Over the last few years, K-Pop has taken the world by storm. Groups like BTS and BLACKPINK have reached pinnacles of music-biz success both traditional (selling out stadiums worldwide) and distinctly modern (see: serving as the center for a vast and dedicated online community of fans across the globe). But while such groups have received mountains of breathless hype from the western media, this coverage has consistently failed to explain what K-Pop really is—or how it works.

To help us learn more, we spoke to Kara of The Idolcast, one of the best English-language resources for understanding this complex music industry. Tracing the story of K-pop from its beginnings in post-dictatorship South Korea to its present-day prominence, we talk geo-political dynamics of government-funded culture, the amount of dance training it takes to learn those synchronized moves, why it’s necessary to have a “goofy” one, “Johnny & Associates,” whether idol fandom challenges the basic categories of the American music industry and the glory that is “Bistro SMAP.” We couldn't get to everything, obviously, but... get ready to go a WHOLE lot deeper than “BTS is the New Beatles.”  

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