History Maker, Ground Breaker

As you all may have heard Psy and his Gangnam Style have managed to make history as the first Korean Artist to make it to number one in the UK charts.

This is no mean feat and I am sure he has managed to make many Korean people in the UK feel proud of his achievement.

In fact the whole of South Korea are proud of Psy and his ability to conquer the world with his Korean song.

Of course we all know how he has done it, the wonder of the internet and the catchy dance moves.

However what Psy represents is more than music, but rather the ability for an Asian artist to make an impact on the UK Chart which seemed impossible.

Furthermore he has put South Korea (and more importantly Gangnam) on the international map.

Although as previously mentioned he is not your typical Kpop idol he has managed to do what so many have tried and failed miserably to do.

Psy offers them something different, although some analysts have called his success a product of the reinforcement of Asian male stereotypes.

Psy himself doesn’t seem to think about this too deeply, for him his success is due to the song and the video being silly and fun.

So what does Psy’s success mean for the global future of K-pop?

Well, Psy has reinvigorated the Kpop industry and has shown them the best way to approach global domination.

Previous attempts to go abroad involved groups trying to emulate western acts in order to fit into the market.

This obviously proved to be detrimental and produced low results. American audiences did not want to see Asian copycats of groups and music that they were familiar with.

He has shown that the industry needs to think outside the box and not just market their idols the way they would in Korea.

Fans in the West do not seem to have the same idolisation that Korean have over their idols.

We all know that the fans of One Direction are hormonal teenage girls but their loyalty does not match up to that of Korean fans.

These teenage girls are devoted to their groups and will buy anything that is produced in relation to them. Even if it is a re-release or new special edition featuring just one new song.

I am pretty sure that if One Direction released an album and then released a new edition many girls would not rush to buy it.

The strategy should be to turn away from the idol and focus more on the individuals making them relatable to the audience.

They should be the down to earth boys and girls that we can all identify with and want to be.

Furthermore K-pop must not try and hide its Asian identity; rather it needs to embrace it. This is what makes it stand out from the rest of the music industry.

Fundamentally they must lose the tight control that exists over their image, personalities and music.

In the UK we want to see artists that are themselves, they might swear, they might make a lot of jokes but most of all they must come across as human.

No one is perfect and unlike the South Korean music system, Britain embraces and celebrates the unique qualities of the individual.

K-pop, stop taking yourself too seriously and just have fun.

That’s the only way to capture the hearts and minds of new listeners in the international market.

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