Editor’s Chatroom: EXO and The State of Asian Pop

Julyssa: Well, I guess they need to distinguish themselves somehow. Suddenly I am seeing Asian pop as a circus, a very shiny and hyped circus.
Amy: But such is pop… It is always a circus.
Julyssa: True. So where the h**l will this whole EXO ordeal fit in said circus? Because I can’t still wrap my mind around it. I can understand the positive sides to it, but it also brings up a whole bunch of questions.
Amy: I think the only hope for EXO is to… well, make money right? Make its budget back?
Julyssa: Dude, I mean, although I can rant about the fact that there’s a tremendous lack of variety in the whole EXO thing dayum have they thrown money down this project.
Amy: That’s the thing… some people see music as their creative art… but pop, in general, is business. People may have passion for it, but business is business.
Julyssa: The other question is if EXO-M will be able to take over China with their “it’s-kpop-but-sung-in-Chinese-and-we-do-have-real-Chinese-members-in-this-group” concept.

Amy: Cpop against Kpop — in terms of concept, they’re more than just pop in different language, though…
Julyssa: So, how is the business for pop in China?
Amy: Music isn’t really a good business, over all… in Asia, that’s why they all aim for popularity and then sponsors, non? There’s no group in China that has the budget that EXO-M has been given, so they’re at a special place… just as much as they’re not. In China, very much like anywhere else, you need the contacts — I don’t know what types of contacts SM will have in China…
Julyssa: I feel that EXO-M is Tohoshinki back in their grueling Japan days: all that hard work, all that struggle to break in to the Japanese market and when they did, woah!
Amy: Maybe… but DBSK had their Avex deal, non?
Julyssa: They did.
Amy: So they had one foot there…
Julyssa: But they had to begin from square one because back then, you needed to earn your dues in Japan.
Amy: But as far as I understand, SM is doing this alone in China, no contact…
Julyssa: Woah, talk about ballsy.
Amy: Yeah, that’s why people in the Cpop communities where talking about whether they were Kpop or Cpop. Since it’s all Kpop work… no Cpop contact. It’s Kpop trying to break into Cpop.
Julyssa: I think SM is aiming for Asian domination, by their own means so that they don’t owe nobody nothing. For every day that passes, more people around the world are falling for the bedazzle of Kpop. The hallyu is growing momentum everyday outside of the Asian shores, Europe is about to be flooded.
Amy: Kpop is like candy, it’s good and sweet… if you get too much, though, you might end up with bad teeth or worse… a diabetic coma.
Julyssa: Where does that put me? Wait, I don’t think I want to know.
Amy: You get your insulin shot every time you try something else!
Julyssa: Yeah, like me going to go watch some Smash or GCB after this chat. I need my dose of Western entertainment between all the Kpop.

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Do you agree with what Julyssa and Amy are saying?

What do you think about EXO-M and EXO-K?

Do you think EXO-M will make it in the Chinese music market?

Discuss and comment below! 

11 Responses

  1. Margot says:

    to be quite honest, I’ve been half sucked into the EXO craze. the reason though, EXO-M. I have not listened to EXO-K and probably won’t because as mentioned above, it’s all the same, just different voices and language. As for the whole Kpop trying to dominate Asia…I agree, but I also believe that China may be wanted to step it up and stop this “invasive weed”. Last year a 5 member boy group, J-ONE, debuted in China, although they obviously don’t have the resources that EXO-M has from my understanding they were trained like Kpop idols. from the audition of hundreds to the elimination process to find the best 5. They trained in Korea for about a year, singing, dancing, etc. of course I could be wrong as very little information about them in known…in English anyway. at least to me since I don’t know Chinese. It would seem to me though that perhaps China is making an attempt to revamp their music to what their youth seems to be attracted to. It may take them a while though since, again they lack the resources that Korean labels have. from my understanding, J-ONE is signed under a new label so there’s that too. ….I’m not even sure I made sense at all, but I tried to! ^^;;

    • amy says:

      @Margot, that’s interesting about you getting into it for EXO-M. I had heard about J-ONE before, but interestingly enough from non-Mandarin speakers. Did they really train in Korea? I know that a lot of the Mainland companies are bringing in producers and choreographers from outside the Mainland circuit to bring something that feels fresh… but they are also bringing in people from Arts Academies and turning them into idols…

      All Mandarin speakers that follow pop music from the Mainland, however, are all talking about M.I.C — and they get name-dropped all the time by other famous people too.

  2. I only catch some K-pop here and there, but in response to this: “Lol. I think Kpop might be a visual style. When I think of Kpop, I think lush music videos — even the most mundane of them — have nice stages, colors, and decent production value. They can look cheap, but they still escape the cheapest of cheap.”
    I agree, but I also think it’s all a package that has to work together. At least for me, I can’t take the music by itself, but with a music video or stage routine, it’s great.

    • amy says:

      @Diandra Rodriguez, I think for me it really depends on who does the music (I really think that Brown Eyed Girls and Sunny Hill work with just music, but then again… they are my bias). But I agree… Kpop caught me because of the package – I think that used to be a “pop thing” though, something that I’ve just been missing from American pop.

      Then bam! Kpop gave it to me, and I just can’t stop looking at it.

  3. Julyssa Diaz says:

    Amy, a thing that dawned upon me reading this again, with the whole “it’s Kpop trying to brake in to Cpop” — that is very true but that is also what SME did in Japan. They brought in their Kpop as to make some momentum but then they started to produce real Jpop. It ended with SME producing better Jpop then what was being produced by the older and more established Jpop companies. Makes me wonder if that is not what SME is trying to do again: use EXO-M to break in to the market and once they are there, gather all the great producer +composers and create even better original Cpop.

    Oh man, I am now all giddy!

  4. ghost says:

    But didn’t you guys say SME had that AVEX deal, and the contacts to get the producers or lyricist… but not in China? They won’t be able to do better Cpop… >=D, not with the lyrics they do. They might create better dance pop, but won’t take the essence of Cpop lyrics.

    As I see it, groups like CN Blue or FT Island are more better suited for the market.

    • amy says:

      @ghost, Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh here we go again. LOL

      Let’s just call it the CMusic industry… and yeah, okay. They won’t be able to surpass someone like Faye Wong who did only 2 concerts last year, yet she’s the #4 Top earner in the industry… and who’s paid her dues and gets to sing about Buddhism in her electronic-infused Cpop.

      But in Asia… there’s always a place for boybands… Maybe they won’t make better Cpop, but they could certainly do better boybands. LOL

    • Julyssa Diaz says:

      @ghost, But they might get the contacts. Sure, Avex opened several doors for Tohishinki in Japan but then it turned to ppl wanting to work with Toho because they were 1. very popular and 2. very talented. Now, EXO-M’s talent can be discussed but there’s no denying that they might become very popular in China. The Kpop bug has already cast their victims there and as the zombies the Kpop fans become, as soon as it’s Kpop they just go at it with out thinking.
      Popularity=money and that’s how you get the contacts in China.

  5. EmilySh says:

    Inspiring conversation ;)

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