South Korea's music industry - Statistics & Facts

Starting with the girl group Wonder Girls with their hit 'Nobody' and Psy with 'Gangnam Style’, the South Korean boy band Bangtan Boys (BTS) is now taking South Korean pop music (K-POP) to the world. Supplemented by the popularity of YouTube, South Korean music has rapidly expanded since it was optimized for video platforms; with its highly choreographed performances and trendy style. As a result, the South Korean music market took sixth place in the world music market, preceded by the United States, Japan, Germany, UK and France.

In fact, Korean traditional music is influenced by shamanism and Buddhist traditions. For decades, it has been transformed into a modern form, influenced by styles and genres from around the world. Modern K-Pop is led mostly by dance groups of young entertainers of the same gender with the latest looks and dance skills. The most famous K-Pop groups include Super Junior, BTS, SHINee, INFINITE, TWICE, EXO, BIGBANG, TVXQ, and Girls' Generation.

In recent years, the size of the South Korean music industry has steadily expanded as the number of audiences around the world has continued to increase over the past decade. The main destinations of exports are Japan, China and Southeast Asian countries. For years, the support and efforts of entertainment agencies have been behind this success of the music industry. SM Entertainment, the largest entertainment agency headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, has worked with the largest number of prominent artists and is additionally expanding its business into TV show production.

Most South Korean music consumers prefer their local music such as K-pop or even K-trot, the oldest form of Korean pop music which is mainly loved by older generations, over music from other countries. With the emergence of smart speakers and as more and more people listen to music with their family and friends, the distribution of music genres, which has predominantly centered on K-pop, is diversifying to be enjoyed across various age groups. More than two thirds of music consumers in South Korea use music streaming services. The leading digital music provider is Melon, a South Korean music provider operated by Kakao.

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Music industry in South Korea

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