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The Next K-Pop Korean Wave Updated: 2010-11-11 12:00:00 KST

The Next K-Pop Korean Wave
Yes, SHINee is definitely saying hello to success.
Award-winning Korean pop idol sensations like SHINee are now spearheading the Korean Wave even drawing attention from foreign media such as France's TV5.
It's no secret that the Korean Wave is quickly evolving.
The first phase started in the late 90s and spread through TV dramas and popular actors and actresses with the fan base made up of mostly Asian women in their 40s and 50s.
But the second phase is happening now… and this time it's driven by K-Pop idols, attracting a broader spectrum of younger fans.
So what's the secret of their success[Interview : Kim Young-min, CEO SM Entertainment] "Training can last as long as six years, and I think it's rare to find other agencies around the world that invest in training as much as we do."

Kim says most Japanese idols relish the girl- or boy-next-door image, but their Korean counterparts stay true to the original meaning of the word 'idol'.
Also K-Pop now is more western influenced, with its catchy tunes that can appeal across borders.
The best composers and choreographers are hired from overseas, and then the final product gets a K-Pop touch.
Plus, social networking sites and YouTube play a huge role in spreading the new Korean Wave.
Fans abroad watch videos, recommend their favorites to their friends and do cover songs and dances also posted on the Internet.
All this is prompting Korean idols to reach out more to their overseas fans by holding more concerts abroad.

[Interview : Key, SHINee member
Jakarta, Oct. 18] "As soon as we got off the plane we were welcomed by our fans and we're happy that we can share music from Korea with our Indonesian fans."

The future of the next Korean Wave looks bright so far with industry insiders saying Korea could become an Asian entertainment hub.

[Interview : Kim Young-min, CEO SM Entertainment] "Our ultimate dream is to unify the Asian entertainment market as one, and make it the biggest market in the world, so the world will turn its eyes to Asia."

However some experts believe the Korean Wave must diversify in order to be sustainable.

[Interview : Jung Tae-soo, Research Associate
Samsung Economic Research Institute] "In a diverse sea of cultural content, there is bound to be some content overload. But currently all money is focused on a certain group. And although it's true this has provided a competitive edge until now, it can't be sustained for long."

So the question is will sensations like SHINee continue to shine and grow with their fans or be forced to say goodbye as the demands of the market keep changing.
Kim Han-ul, Arirang News.
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