“The vibrant, two-hour, Michael Jackson-level affair has begun.”
The excerpt from G-Dragon’s video interview was posted on U.S. Billboard under the title “G-Dragon Opens Up at World Tour Kickoff” on April 4. The 15-minute video was posted online with an article about G-Dragon’s second solo concert “One of a Kind” on March 30 and 31 at Seoul Olympic Stadium. Also in the interview was Stacey Walker, G-Dragon World Tour’s co-creative director, who praises G-Dragon as having elements of both Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga. This was the first time for the U.S.’ Billboard to publish a column about a concert that happened in Korea.
Moreover, Billboard introduced the leader of K-pop boy band Big Bang earlier in the month with an article carefully breaking down G-Dragon’s new single “MichiGO.” On April 3, Billboard described the piece as an aggressive electronic rap track consisting of a recurrent dubstep breakdown which, curiously, appears before the catchy, repetitive “Michi go” hook.
Billboard’s recent interest in K-pop is not a fleeting phenomenon. “K-pop Star” finalist and YG Entertainment rookie singer Lee Hi was touted on March 8 as having a voice that “stands out like Adele or Duffy, grabbing the listener at first listen.” Jeff Benjamin, a Billboard journalist, goes on to praise her amazingly soulful vocals that make her “stand out in the highly competitive K-pop market.” Lee Hi managed to top the Billboard K-pop chart with her new single “Rose,” unveiled recently on April 5.
Another major K-pop group, Girl’s Generation, was presented on Billboard when they recently showcased their new track “I Got a Boy.” Lauded as one of the most progressive pop singles in the world, Billboard highlighted the track’s “minimal drum and bass, funky and clunky electronic production, hyper hipster dubstep, dramatic vocal showcase sections, and what sounds like xylophone.”
Most importantly, who can forget Psy? The comical Korean singer’s “Gangnam Style” took over the world last year, holding on to No. 2 on the Billboard chart for two consecutive weeks. Even now, the track has remained on the Billboard Single Chart for the 30th straight week at No. 44. The “Gangnam Style” music video garnered over 1.5 billion views worldwide, making it the most watched video on YouTube and No.1 on Billboard’s YouTube chart.
The overall influx of K-pop in the global music arena has led to increasing cooperation between Korean singers and those of the U.S. and Europe. Big Bang’s G-Dragon and T.O.P participated in Pixie Lott’s “Dancing On My Own” and K-pop girl band Rania worked with famous hip-hop artists Snoop Dogg and 2chainz for their U.S. track. Such collaborations strengthen K-pop’s position in the global music charts.
Billboard is the most trusted music chart in the U.S. Hence artists spotlighted by Billboard have that much advantage to advance there, in the world’s biggest music industry. The effect of YouTube and the Billboard chart cannot be ignored in the international success of Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” The more Billboard talks about K-pop, the faster the speed of K-pop advancement in the U.S. will be.
By Jeong Jin-young