About K-pop

K-pop, or Korean pop, is a genre of music that originated in South Korea. Although many South Korean singers did enjoy domestic popularity, it was only in the 1990s that K-pop became extremely global. Koreans refer to this as Hallyu (한류), or the Korean wave. The 1990s were met with many groups, some of the most popular being H.O.T., Sechskies, Shinhwa, S.E.S., and Fin.K.L. It was then that entertainment companies began establishing their presence. The Korean wave in the 21st century was led by BoA, a solo artist debuted by SM Entertainment in 2000. Only fourteen years old at the time, BoA inspired many of today’s idols, or singers, to follow their dreams. In 2004 came the debut of TVXQ, otherwise known as DBSK (동방신기). Although controversy erupted in 2008-2009 with the departure of three of the five original members, at one point TVXQ held the record for the largest fan club. In 2005, Super Junior debuted with twelve members under SM Entertainment, adding a thirteenth a year later. They became one of the biggest boy bands of all time, and though many were skeptical at first, their catchy music put them at the forefront of Hallyu. Then in 2006, Big Bang made their debut under YG Entertainment and garnered much interest for their style of music, hip-hop. In 2007 came Girls Generation or SNSD (소녀시대), KARA, and the Wonder Girls, followed by SHINee, 2PM, 2AM, and U-Kiss in 2008. Once 2009 hit, the K-pop scene erupted with the formation of new groups. Some of the more popular ones include 2NE1, 4minute, f(x), MBLAQ, and B2ST. It was then that the phrase the “Big Three” was applied to K-pop. The “Big Three” in K-pop refer to three of the most popular agencies, SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment. Soon after, more companies were able to gain recognition with the debut of new groups, and a wider variety of music was introduced to the K-pop genre. Though there were quite a lot of debuts, only a handful blatantly stood out. In 2010 came Infinite, SISTAR, and miss A, 2011 Apink, Block B, and B1A4, and 2012 EXO, BAP, BTOB, and the solo singer Ailee. And while there are other solo artists who are quite successful, it is very clear that boy band/girl group fever has hit Korea and does not intend to fade any time soon.