Q. Is music from your country popular elsewhere?
Thanks to the influence of “Hallyu”, or the Korean Wave, the world has become increasingly aware of Korean music.
Korean pop or K-pop has become a genre in its own right and K-pop stars have a huge global following, especially in South-East Asia. These fans follow their idols on social media, liking and commenting on every video. Some die-hard supporters even learn the language and travel to Seoul to see their favourite artists live in concert.
A prime example of the popularity of Korean music is the song “Gangnam Style” by Psy. This was a worldwide hit – it went viral on YouTube and was the first video to ever get more than 1 billion views – that in itself is quite an achievement. It’s a real earworm, and as cheesy as it is, it’s really contributed to raising the profile of our music in new markets.
Even more recently, the boyband BTS topped the US Billboard charts with their album – it’s the first time that a K-pop album has reached the coveted number 1 position and it’s an incredible achievement – so I’d definitely agree that music from my country is popular abroad.
Q. Recently, many singers and groups have first become famous through television talent shows. What do you think about this?
I think there are both positive and negative sides to this.
Firstly, TV talent shows can allow unsigned singers to show off their talent – someone can rise from obscurity and become an overnight sensation. We usually see the audition performance from a member of the general public and that’s what blows us away – no-one expected Susan Boyle to have the voice she has, for example. Furthermore, these shows usually take place over a number of weeks or months so the viewing public form a bond with the performers and that allows them to build up a fan base – viewers vote for their favourite artist to remain in the competition.
However, there are too many of these shows on TV and it can be hard to tell the difference between them at times. Also, for many, fame does not last long. Contestants of shows like the X-Factor end up disappearing off the face of the earth once they have had their 15 minutes of fame. Even winners get dropped by their record label after their initial shine has worn off – the support shown by viewers on the show doesn’t always translate into sales of songs and albums.
So those are some pros and cons.
Q. Do you think that allowing more buskers in the city is a good idea?
An interesting question: I think it depends.
Street performers can help to add atmosphere to central areas – people might enjoy listening to live performances as they’re out shopping or sitting in pavement cafés. In Edinburgh, for example, during the summer festival period, it’s an opportunity to hear something new, and if you want to give a little money to show your appreciation for the performance you can.
That said, not all buskers are appreciated. For residents living in the city centre the extra noise and crowds that sometimes gather around to watch might not be appreciated. Also, not everyone has talent or musical ability. They might have a limited repertoire and sing the same songs on repeat or may have unique vocal stylings which might be hard to listen to as they try to hit the high notes!
Maybe quality is more important than quantity on this occasion.
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