Riding the K-Wave

What began as a simple news post started to turn into a discussion about debuts in the United States in general. So I decided to bring the discussion over hear to YAM to see what everyone else thought.

On January 20th, Korean rock band YB announced that they signed with the former Guns N’ Roses manager; Doug Goldstein to work on their debut into the U.S. & U.K markets. They also announced they would be working with PR company Lesley Z Media of Duran Duran, Stone Temple Pilots, & The Offspring fame. This got me thinking about other Korean acts that have tried to debut here in the U.S. and not quite managed to do it successfully.

I’m glad that YB have taken their time and found the right manager and the right PR company. Many Korean acts have tried to debut here and have flopped (BoA, Se7en, Girls Generation, & although Wonder Girls did gain minor traction, they returned to Korea too soon.) I think that a good portion of the reason these acts didn’t make it here was because they had improper management. Not to say it’s the fault of a single person, but because they didn’t keep their eyes on the main target audience. When debuting in a foreign country, you should focus on 1) fans you have established in that country, and 2) fans of similar musical artists or genres.

With BoA, they focused very heavily on making her look “urban” and only released electronic dance tracks on the album. BoA’s strength is that she is versatile. She has the vocals for soft ballads and catchy pop tunes, but instead they boxed her into one style. It alienated the fans she already had and pushed away new fans that could  sense the insincerity of it all. They also screwed up the video release for the single. They gave the American’s this lame sound-stage number:

While releasing the same song for the Koreans with this music video:

I don’t know about you, but I’m far more likely to watch the latter. It has (somewhat) of a  plot, better direction, fashion, & pretty much everything else.  I don’t understand why they thought we Americans would even pay attention to the first video.


Part-time student, full-time media whore, fan of all things Asian.

3 Responses

  1. amy says:

    BoA’s Eat You Up in the Cha Eun Taek version is the only BoA song that I like to listen from time to time. I think the choreography is rocking in it. In theory, I suppose… they thought Diane Martel is more known (she did Aguilera’s What a Girl Want… and possibly Genie in a Bottle… and may have directed Britney too) than Cha Eun Taek.

    • Jenna says:

      @amy, Yeah, it was a good theory, just didn’t pan out sadly. I think by the time this video came out the pop audience was ready for something completely different from Diane’s style.

      • amy says:

        @Jenna, I think it may have been a budget thing. I supposed $100K USD in Korea is a lot more than $100K in the US. I doubt Martel (at the time) was used to this type of tiny budget.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.