Try to Follow Me: A Look Into the Kaleidoscopic and Cosmopolitan Branding Scene of Pop Music in South Korea
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South Korea is at the forefront of the digital age. About half the size of Texas, the country leads Asia with 82.5 percent of its 48.6 million people actively using the Internet on a daily basis, surpassing even the United States. South Korea’s massive modernization has been mostly attributed to what has become known as the Korean Wave, or Hallyu, a cultural renaissance that has visitors from all over the world flocking year-round to the peninsular nation. Hallyu’s iconic musical arm—K-Pop—has recently been the subject of international attention, principally due to the release of the infectious song “Gangnam Style” by Korean rapper PSY in late 2012. This case study explores the history of the colorful music genre, whose origins can be traced back to the early 20th century, discusses its artistic as well as cultural influences and analyzes K-Pop’s role as a mechanism of brand experience for the Korean Wave and South Korea. Most importantly, this case study seeks to provide an impartial look into the kaleidoscopic world of K-Pop culture in contemporary South Korea.