Music execs discuss helping Psy stay popular

5 November 2012 / 3 years 11 months ago

Source: The Korea HeraldThe inaugural Mu:Con international music conference in Seoul on Friday drew many leading figures of the entertainment industry who shared their expertise on issues concerning the global music community. Among the participants was Ted Chung, the manager of the internationally famed Asian American hip-hop group the Far East Movement. He is also a senior partner of Stampede Records and president of Doggy Style Records, which is home of hip-hop artist Snoop Lion, formerly known as Snoop Dogg. Chung shared his thoughts on the quintessential factors needed for artists, including K-pop performers, to successfully infiltrate the Western music market. “I think that while it’s not necessary for the songs to be in English, I think it’s important that the artists can at least speak conversational English so that they can participate in promotional activities and share their stories,‘ he said. “The fact that Psy can speak English has been a crucial component to his success in the U.S.‘Chung stressed the importance of K-pop entertainers being able to communicate a narrative to their audience. “Who they are, where they come from, what are they about, what are their beliefs, what do they stand for; I think those are important pieces of the puzzle.‘The recent wave of Gangnam Style fever in the West has sparked many questions about whether or not K-pop has fighting power to successfully penetrate the Western music market, not as a temporary trend, but for the long haul. Chung said that it’s crucial for songs that are not in English to have some component that is enticing enough to overlook the language barrier.“Perhaps the most unifying thing about Gangnam Style is that it’s a dance, and that dance translates worldwide,‘ he said. “The same way that dance music translates worldwide ‘¦ it’s conceptual, something that someone can grab onto and it was instrumental in the success of the song.‘He went on to explain that, just as Psy had done with his horse dancing choreography, it is important for groups to utilize fresh creativity to garner the interest of markets outside of Korea.Rob Schwartz, the Billboard USA Tokyo bureau chief, claimed that pre-Gangnam Style, the popularity of Korean music in the U.S. was overly hyped in Korea. “K-pop is huge in Southeast Asia, absolutely gigantic ‘¦ so people who are living here (Korea) think that K-pop is really huge in the Untied States. But until Psy, that was just totally wrong,‘ said Schwartz. “There were these fans that were rabid K-pop fans in the U.S., but there are a tiny amount of them.‘However, he believes that Psy has now opened the door for K-pop music to see a potentially prosperous market outside of Asia. Schwartz discussed a five-point plan that he has devised that he claims is necessary for Psy to maintain his popularity in the West. The first point of his theory is that Psy must continue to appear on TV shows, but not solely as the musical act, but participating in interviews and sharing his story. “What he needs to do is continue to appear on American TV shows, not just like doing his dancing but talking, explaining to people who he is, interviewing, his personality, having people get to know him,‘ he said. The second point he mentioned is Psy needing to appear on American singles as a featured artist. Schwartz explained that this would allow people to mentally associate Psy with other famous artists in the Western music scene. “So many American artist have professed their admiration for him, like Katy Perry. So you need to have a Katy Perry track featuring Psy,‘ he said. “It would get his name out there. More radio play.‘The third point is continued national exposure. Schwartz stated that Psy should become the spokesperson for a large Korean company such as Samsung so that he can have the opportunity to have his face appearing in advertisements overseas. “You need that basic recognition,‘ he said. “Then it won’t matter anymore that he’s Asian or he’s Korean. He’s just Psy.‘The fourth and five points were that Psy must release a full album, not a single, within the next three to six months and that it is imperative that he hit all these marks.“Now it’s like he’s this funny Korean guy jumping around. If he does all this ‘¦ he will be an established artist and it won’t matter anymore that he Korean.‘

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