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Kpop Industry And The Battle Of Idealism 

1992 was the year that rocked the music industry Korean. The reason is, Seo Taiji and The Boys appeared with genre music that combines hip hop and techno, and rock, far different from the genre previously dominated by music folk such as ballad and trot. Apart from the genre, Seo Taiji and Boys was famous for breaking the norms that were taboo at that time, namely criticizing the education system and the government there so that they received a lot of criticism as well as attracting sympathy, especially from the sympathy of young people.

From there the term KPop was born and began to develop with the emergence of the first generation of KPop which was marked by the HOT group that was founded by SM Entertainment in 1996. Kpop music genres have also become increasingly diverse with each generation due to the results of interbreeding of previous genres, especially genres born in America. Such as Hip Hop, pop, R&B, jazz, trot and so on. Anyway, KPop music is famous for its uniqueness because it has a new musical color compared to others.

Unfortunately, unlike the music genre that has developed, on the other hand, idealism as the core of the music pioneered by Seo Taiji has suffered the opposite fate. After Seo Taiji, KPop was created industrially. Since the first generation was formed, aspiring idols are generally recruited by companies for entertainment, through auditions or casting street. Therefore, before they debuted as idols, they had to undergo a period of training and hone their singing / rap, dance, and skills public speaking.

They were created to be performers, physically, ability, and morally. Because apart from doing music, they do a lot of activities in other entertainment fields, including being ambassadors for commercial products and government programs. The effect is, society or fans who are generally still young have high expectations regarding the morals and ideals that these idols must have. Even if they campaign on the environment or represent their country in diplomatic relations, political views as individuals must ultimately be reduced or disguised as much as possible to suit sponsorship requests or audiences that vary socially, geographically, or ideologically.

If the ideal imagination is not realized, these artists will have to face criticism and even threats from fans or the general public. This also affects his career as a whole. As happened to Choi Siwon from Super Junior who was caught liking Hong Kong demonstration activist posts last year. As a result, Chinese fans protested against his behavior. In contrast to other artists who came from China and even from Hong Kong, they generally expressed support for the police or the Chinese government. Although they won the sympathy of the mainland Chinese audience, they actually got the antipathy of the Korean audience who generally supported the Hong Kong demonstration.

In other cases, earlier this year fans (mainly from America) demanded their idols, especially those who have lived or US citizens, to express solidarity and donate to the tragedy of discrimination that befell George Floyd, a black citizen, until he was killed. Through interactions between KPop fans, awareness Black Live Matters’ is increasingly reaching people outside America, especially those who do not know about racism. Besides asking for the solidarity of the artists because KPop itself was born from a genre that was born from black American culture and they have a platform big, this demand shows that fans are much more vocal in voicing their idealism than the artist. And more than that, fans from any social or geological background yearn for their idols to have the same idealism as what they believe.

Apart from the conflict between idols, agencies, and fans, the political dynamics of Korea and other countries have also influenced this industry, which has made entertainment companies have to spin their brains to get around it. Like the KPop ban in China since 2018, as Korea’s bad diplomatic relations with China have made them look for new markets or set up separate labels in the bamboo curtain country.

Unlike his music, which often mixes different genres, differences in idealism create fierce quarrels and do not seem to be muted immediately given how diverse cultural backgrounds are present and minimal communication. This unreachable idealism demand caused disappointment or hatred, especially among fans. On the other hand, the artists may not be clear about the issue or even if they do, they choose to remain silent. The reason is of course the risk of damaging good relations with fans or sponsors, both of which play an important role for the artist and the company that supports him.