Friday, June 10, 2011

Well, this is something.

Approximately 1,000 French fans of K-pop conducted a flashmob demonstration in front of the Louvre, demanding that the visiting SM Town stars to extend their visit as the planned concert sold out in 15 minutes. Reports of this demonstration, and the popularity of K-pop in Europe, took up an entire Culture section page in Le Monde.

The Korean had thought that K-pop was reaching a saturation point, but he is glad to be wrong.


  1. Hey there!
    I'm from France and I'm reading your posts as often as I can. I'm so glad to see that you're finally talking about France's interest in k-pop and korean culture. Thanks to this flash mob I'll be watching the SM town concert on tomorrow!!
    I'm also glad to tell you that this exciting feeling european people have for k-pop is reaching popular interest as articles, in some famous French papers, shows us that medias keep an eye on the phenomenon.
    I really wanted to share French people's craze for this music, and in my opinion these two concerts will increase curiosity among European boundaries.

  2. Wait, just making sure... But you WERE being sarcastic with your last sentence, right?

    It was the last thing I'd have expected you to say, but I'm not always good at detecting sarcasm.

  3. They added a second concert for SMTOWN when they saw the big response they got for it and I actually tried to buy tickets for that but it was sold out in 10 minutes! It's crazy.

  4. Blue, no, no sarcasm. The Korean dislikes the K-pop music itself, but he does not mind that Korea is increasing its soft power. Hopefully this will be an inroad towards the world appreciating more meaningful K-pop artists like Lee Sora.

    What K-pop really needs right now is a Madonna -- someone who starts out as a vacuous pop figure, but grows into a serious musician. There were several figures like this, but they came and went before K-pop became globalized. But the current crop of idol groups seems to show some potential.

  5. Man what a horrible trend. A bunch of K-clones (klones?) of Usher, Britney, Beyonce, Spice Girls/NSync. That, and the ever-common Asian emo balladry.

    Sometimes I like to pretend K-music stopped existing sometime in the 90s.

  6. Sometimes I like to pretend K-music stopped existing sometime in the 90s.

    Same here. Except the Korean's imagination also entails a select few K-pop artists somehow surviving the neutron blast that wiped out all the stupid K-pop "idols."

  7. To somewhat agreement with cornflakes, I think my cut off point was 2005. When I returned to Kpop last year after dropping it in high school (I was starting to feel old by then), I was shocked by how much I missed in 3 years.There's a new group debuting every other week like they believed the world was ending, and the genre has gotten so vapid it irks me. I think about 45% of the idols or artist can hold their own talent wise (and I don't believe having a personality is a talent when you're in a singing group). What's worse is that I've seen some talented groups or individuals debut or make a comeback only to be stomped into the ground by any idol from the 'BIG THREE' companies.

  8. Koreans have unleashed a great evil unto the world...


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  10. its like a freaking pandemic you can't contain.

    maybe it's because of too much eyeliner or guyliner or bleached hair or long legs or generic looking idols. or maybe it's because of the dance moves & the same-sounding songs

    but trust me, 2NE1 stands out from the rest. music-wise, fashion-wise, they're totally the complete package!! ^^,

  11. Why not export Drunken Tiger and Yoonmirae? You know, people with talent.

  12. Ok so what we have here is what appears to be some Africans along with white Europeans in Paris singing/dancing to a song by a Korean girl group that was exclusively released in Japan with Japanese lyrics with some English sprinkled in being posted on a site that originates in the US. No no one concert is not enough.

    I'm sure that was science fiction to people who grew up in Korea when it was the backwater.

  13. Pop music is like junk food... And I do enjoy my fair share of junk food :D

  14. Yea, K-pop is really getting more exposure through Youtube. Korean entertainment companies aren't as diligent about deleting copyrighted content as Japanese entertainment companies (but more videos are being deleted). I wish they wouldn't do that because fan subbing is often better quality than official english subbing. You can see that SM Entertainment's video of SNSD's Paris concert got half-million views in two days and is in the top five most-viewed videos for today today.

    But this growing popularity will bite back at Korean entertainment companies, if they don't change business practices because rumors are that the French concert sponsors are unhappy with SM and they wouldn't be the first to never host K-pop companies again.

  15. Like The Korean said, I welcome the fact that Korea is making inroads through soft power, no matter the form it takes (although unlike TK I do like me some of the latest K-pop; some good stuff gets unfairly lumped in with the not-so-great). I just hope this rapid-growth popularity doesn't lead to some sort of backlash down the road. The Korean tendency to take things to extremes is never far from my mind whenever I hear positive news out of Korea.

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  17. That Le Monde article was a much deserved put-down of K-Pop.(in the ironic, subtle, uniquely French sense). Quite rightly so. It's nice to know that we can at least rely on the French to be--if not the vanguards of haute culture--at least the guardians of good sense.

    The article rightly describes how these production companies mass produce music as though making products for export, and the tedious recipes they use to replicate group after group of forgettable teenagers.

    Most of all, it mocks the blatant presence of the Korean government in all of this. I'm no advocate of small government, but there really needs to be limits to the government's meddling in Korean industry. This takes it to new heights. This is about the uncoolest thing I could think of, and I'm not sure it will help an industry whose success usually hinges on anti-establishment rebellion or being edgy (can you picture 2MB with Lady Gaga?).

    Most of all, the dominance of the 3 big entertainment companies is reflective of the chaebol-choked South Korean economy as a whole: how can upcoming, raw talent (be it Hongdae's underground grunge bands, or Korea's young entrepreneurs) thrive in such a suffocating environment of patronage?

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  19. in response to hope_springs_eternal

    Everyone's entitled to their opinion and I guess the French newspaper too.

    However let's not forget why the Bieber boy is so huge in US. He got big basically because some big media corporation thought they could make a lot of $$$ off of him by promoting the heck out of him and joining for the ride to the bank.

    It shows what's happening in SK isn't all that unique.

    And in a strange way US govt is pretty protective of its media companies too. Didn't US congress change trademark/copyright law to protect the icons of Disney, by extending the expiration date of copyright Disney icons?

  20. Europe is in serious need of shiny plastic pop. Labels won't spend money on these kind of groups, not that European people would have the discipline for the amount of work these idols do.
    South Korean producers are very good at the Northern European sound, and there are also some quite good stylists in Korea, etc etc.
    Unless any other government invests a lot in their pop music soon, SK still has a few good years.

  21. Please beware of these kinds of news stories. Much of this has been staged and sponsored by a certain Korean government department at the urging of a certain wealthy Korean citizen. Follow-up "flash mobs" in other countries have also been revealed as staged, though the Korean media will never report on it. This fakery is embarrassing to Korea and I'd hoped someone outside of Korea, with more exposure to events than the ridiculous Korean media, would have been able to be more discerning. :(

    Additionally, there was a ticketing scam with these concerts. They did not, in fact, sell out in 10-15 minutes or even at all. The system was made to sell tickets in blocks; if one ticket from the block was sold, the entire block showed as sold, making the shows appear sold out.

    Make no mistake, the goal of these concerts was not to make money or gain new French fans. They were paid for by the tax dollars of Korean citizens. Objectively, the concerts were failures both financially and were destroyed thoroughly in the French media. The reason for these shows was to raise the image of SM Entertainment within Korea and obtain new investors in the heavily-troubled company (have you seen their recent quarterly reports?). It's worked, too. The Korean media won't shut up about how K-pop has conquered Europe and even Kookmin Bank is advertising for Lee Soo-man, despite his status as a criminal convicted of financial crimes (pardoned, of course, by the LMB administration).


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