Universal Music teams up with BigHit Entertainment to create new Kpop boy band
“Tell me why! ain’t nothing but a heartache
Tell me why! ain’t nothing but a mistake
Tell me why! I never wanna hear you say
I want it that way”
That’s right, boy bands. From NYSNC to The Backstreet Boys, from One Direction to Big Time Rush, love em or hate em, the world has a long tradition of fawning over the synchronized singing and dancing of adolescent men in matching outfits.
But in the contemporary music scene, boy bands seem to be just about dead and buried. Every boy band that dominated the charts of the 90s and the 2000s has long since broken up, with many members sporting successful solo careers across various musical genres.
But the art of the boy band is far from deceased, it has just migrated halfway around the world, into the cultural juggernaut that is the Kpop industry. Perhaps you’ve heard of a little group by the name of BTS? If you haven’t then you must live under a rock. Topping Korean, American, and global music charts, this Kpop supergroup has quickly risen to the forefront of the contemporary music industry, as people jam along to their infectious pop sound without even knowing the words. Their sound ranges from the dark hip hop of their early records like “Danger” and “No More Dream”, to the bubblegum pop sounds of “Boy With Love”.
But whether you’re a superfan or just confused, you might find it interesting to know that BTS is not the first band of its kind, and it certainly won’t be the last. Trained for years at the world’s top entertainment companies, factory-produced boy bands have been dominating the Korean music scene for decades, and now they are here to take over the west.
On February 18, in a press release, Universal Music Group announced a collaboration with BTS’s record label and top Korean entertainment company, BigHit entertainment. This new “strategic partnership” revolves around two things, creating a new JV Korean-American record label, and more importantly, launching a new Kpop boy-band. Even more recently, BigHit announced that global auditions for the group will begin soon.
Big Hit’s global chief executive, Lenzo Yoon, stated the new project would “apply Big Hit’s success formula established over the past 16 years to the U.S, the center of the global music market.” UMG CEO Sir Lucian Grange coupled this sentiment, stating that the new project “will further accelerate K-Pop as a global cultural phenomenon.”
So if you’ve never heard of Kpop before, or think it’s just a foreign phenomenon, then get ready to be swept off your feet. The Kpop industry has perfected the model of the boy band, with entertainment juggernauts controlling everything from music composition to outfit choice. Just like One Direction and the X factor, these groups are often designed via a televised talent show-style audition process. This group will be no different.
Kpop is perhaps the fastest-growing phenomenon in music right now, so love it, hate it, it has come to America in full force, with the largest companies in the US and the world now pouring millions of dollars into acts designed to dominate the charts and get stuck in our heads, so brace urself for the Korean wave.
Arie Likhtman is a double major in music industry studies and Critical Communication and Media Studies with a minor in philosophy at Butler University. Originally from St.Louis Missouri, he has played music since the age of 4, studying everything from classical piano to ballroom dance to saxophone. He is deeply passionate about all aspects of music from the hot 100 charts to underground indie rock. He hopes to use his voice as a writer to bring new artists to the forefront of the conversation, and to offer new perspectives on music, culture, and society as a whole