[Letters] Returning to a basic melody

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[Letters] Returning to a basic melody

K-pop sure does seem to have a significant stance in the international market. In the Korea JoongAng Daily’s June 14 column, “The Korean invasion comes ashore,” it was clearly expressed how well K-pop music has performed abroad. I strongly agree that the Korean music industry should take full use of this popularity and concentrate on appropriate marketing.

Yet, I also came to ponder about our own market. Since the international market is greater in size and possibility, domestic players consider the situation as an overall success when achievements are made. However, it has actually been a while since the Korean music industry has seen dazzling sunshine.

Due to the emergence of MP3 players and other electronic devices, many recording companies are struggling to survive in the digital era. Many singers are now releasing single albums rather than full-length ones.

The Korean music market is becoming a tough ground for survival. The fast changing trends, the emergence of too many idol singers, and people getting sick of ‘hook songs’ are some barriers in the music industry. Korean music lovers want pure and original music.

However, instead of fulfilling the desires of their fans, the Korean music industry is only focusing on the broad international market.

In other words, the Korean music market is being neglected with no specific strategy for above-average returns.

The Korean music industry should apply a basics strategy. This does not mean the industry should focus on talent scouting and continue to nurture new idol musicians. Instead, music companies should work on marketing by making usage of the oldies, which are the basics of music itself. These days there are so many Korean idol singers that it is hard to keep track of who is who. For a while it seemed that idol singers were the main axis of the music industry.

However, the circumstances are changing. More and more Koreans are drifting back to the 60s, 70s and 80s and listening to the oldies. With the start of the so-called ‘C’est si Bon’ craze led by musicians Song Chang-sik, Yoon Hyeong-ju and Kim Se-hwan, Koreans are turning their backs to idol singers and going back to the past.

In other words, the ears of Koreans are reacting to the soothing melody of a more basic kind of music. Early birds who have already caught glimpses of the trend have made profits by arranging concerts and albums based on songs from the past. The concert of C’est si Bon friends was arranged as a tour concert, performing all the main stages in Korea.

In a way it would be correct to say that a ‘going back to the basics’ strategy is actually already starting to sprout in the Korean music industry. With a little boost by music programs on television and radio programs, the oldies wave will emerge significantly and become the next activator of the music market.

Because the international market is the path to selling music, businesses tend to focus on strategies that meet ‘global ears.’ If the strategy succeeds in the international market, they tend to think that it will also work in the domestic market as well. However, different strategies at appropriate times should be applied for success.

Korean idol singers may be a driving force in the current international music market, but they no longer pass through in Korea.

Therefore, in order for Korea to maintain a more stable music industry in the future, players in the music industry should come up with strategies to develop music inside the country.

*Letters and commentaries for publication should be addressed “Letters to the Editor.” E-mailed letters should be sent to eopinion@joongang.co.kr.


Kim Da-young, a senior at Ewha Womans University
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