SM Entertainment is one of the largest South Korean entertainment companies. Founded by Lee Soo-man, the label is known to be one of the key players behind the global K-pop phenomenon. SM Entertainment’s boyband H.O.T. are considered to be the first K-pop idol group. Their ground-breaking success resulted in the formation of a so-called K-pop idol culture. Idols are usually young individuals, who are known for being good-looking, fashionable, highly trained in singing and dancing, as well as having an almost perfect image. They often make their debut in boy- or girl groups, who perform their songs with intense choreographies. Today, the label manages some of the biggest bands in the industry, such as EXO and NCT.
The musical side of Hallyu
SM Entertainment’s soloist BoA and boyband TVXQ became the first K-pop idols to successfully break into the Japanese market, starting off the musical side of Hallyu, also known as the Korean wave, in 2003. While the majority in Western countries have not heard about K-pop before PSY’s “Gangnam Style” in 2012, K-pop’s global popularity is undeniable today. Currently, the seven-member boyband BTS is the biggest active K-pop band, with both domestic and global success.