Will K-pop Finally be Officially Recognized at the Grammys?

“Korea KPOP World Festival” by Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service (Jeon Han)
is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

K-pop is a beloved art form. It takes influences from hip-hop, pop, Korean, and many other forms to create something new and unique. Like so many art forms that break barriers, it can take a long time for them to finally be recognized by the more established institutions in the industry.

So when is K-pop’s moment going to happen? This just might be the year we have all been waiting for. After decades spreading their influence are the globe, the stars are better known than ever. Let’s take a look at what they have accomplished and why we think this is finally the year for K-pop to get some Grammy love.

 

K-pop and Music Awards

This is likely to be the year for K-pop to move into the Grammy spotlight. They have put in the work. That’s for sure. You can keep an eye on the odds from a variety of reliable sites, where you can also bet on entertainment specials. There, you can watch the odds as a surrogate for K-pop’s popularity.

But it is not just the rise of K-pop that is setting them up for success, but also the way the Grammys are changing. Their recent changes have made them better prepared to see K-pop for what it is and have the technical ability to match K-pop star power.

The Grammys are increasingly global and less fearful of languages other than English. Plus, with the need for social distancing, the Grammys are already set up to handle and benefit from their screen-ready spectacle experience. K-pop and Grammy are on a collision course of success.

While the Grammys would be a big deal, K-pop has been bringing in Korean Music Awards for years now. And these awards are a big deal! While most Korean music awards rely on charts and record sales, these rely on a panel of music experts to make awards based on contribution as well as success.

These awards started in 2004, and the very next year, they began recognizing Best Pop Album and Best Pop Song. This is a clear recognition of the importance and centrality of pop music in Korean culture.

 

What it Takes to Break In

It is somewhat expected that new music forms take a long time to be recognized for their contributions. At first, they are normally dismissed as irrelevant, commercial, or unoriginal. Take, for example, hip hop. When they finally created the category for best hip hop album, they decided not to air the category. This led to protests, including Will Smith who declined to attend the event, even though he was nominated for the category.

Once a genre gets its own category, the next big sign of respect is when it becomes part of the contenders for the general music categories. This happened with hip hop when Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer Prize.

 

A Global Fan Base

“K-Pop Festa #Kpop” by Andy Miah is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Korean pop has a fan base that extends way beyond the peninsula. Their influence extends to South America, Europe, South East Asia, and North America. There were two big moments for the K-pop stars in terms of the US market, the most relevant for the Grammy’s.

One was the Netflix documentary. As part of their Explained series, Netflix took an inside look into Korean pop. This was a big moment with a big audience for what was more niche before that.

Another important moment came through an act of solidarity. The groups and fans led an online prank on Donald Trump by signing up for all the free tickets to his rally and then not showing up. His campaign then rented the biggest stadium and bragged about the huge crowds he was expecting.

When hardly anyone attended, K-pop fans revealed themselves as the foil of his plan. It was part of their solidarity with Black rights in the United States, which showed their international awareness, and just how many die-hard fans they had in the US.

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