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Industry experts see K-pop as the future

Oct 02,2019
Nicole Frantz, left, creative director of Capitol Music Group and Phil Quartararo, founder of music company Tripod Partners, talk to local press on Tuesday at Coex, southern Seoul, prior to giving speeches during MU:CON Seoul 2019. [KOCCA]
BTS may be K-pop’s biggest international success thus far, but their fame shouldn’t represent the K-pop industry as a whole, said Phil Quartararo, founder of music company Tripod Partners.

Quartararo and Nicole Frantz, creative director of Capitol Music Group, met with local press on Tuesday prior to speaking at the MU:CON Seoul 2019 Conference at Coex, southern Seoul, to talk about their confidence in K-pop’s potential growth in the global market.

“BTS is both good news and bad news,” said Quartararo. “The good news is that BTS showed a new world. They were number one on the charts, they sold out hundreds of thousands of tickets to concerts. That’s the good news. The bad news is that world thinks BTS is K-pop, and only BTS. But that’s not right.”

According to Quartararo, pop music in the American music industry shifts every five to six years, due to certain catalysts.

Pop music over the past couple of years has become “stale and flat,” creating a gap in the music market for K-pop to infiltrate. The fun and easy sound of K-pop has the potential to succeed, and not just BTS, he said.

“When we talk about K-pop, even right now, we talk about BTS. They’re a success story, but it didn’t work because it was from Korea. It worked because it’s great. You shouldn’t let the fact that they’re from Korea undermine how great it actually is. BTS broke the ice, but they’re not the ice,” Quartararo said.

The change in trend won’t just be something that goes away in a few years, however.

“Trends come and go,” said Frantz. “Trends impact the business in the short term, but have a lasting impact in the long term. K-pop will have a lasting influence in the global pop market. It will open the door for a global shift in American pop music.”

And a new K-pop success story may as well come in a few days, according to Frantz. Capitol Music Group is readying the launch of their collaborate project with SM Entertainment, the seven-member act SuperM, who will make their official debut this Saturday.

It is the third time she’s seen a group perform at the Capitol Tower, and the live-streaming around the world makes it even more exciting.

“The fandom of K-pop is unique and complex,” she said. “I’m not an expert, though I count myself as a fan. I don’t know what will happen with fandoms [after SuperM’s debut], but I hope that a project like this will bring the fandoms together. In the U.S., if you go to a concert, it’s the most diverse pool of fans compared to anyone. You see kids from every walk of life together enjoying K-pop. It moves me to see that, and my hope is that SuperM has that same impact.”

Frantz gave her speech, “From Crossroads to Crossover: Is K-Pop Now the New Pop in America?” on Tuesday afternoon, while Quartararo gives his speech, “Lessons for the Brighter Future of K-pop” this afternoon. MU:CON wraps up on Thursday.

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]



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