Sharing the video of Zoom meeting held on June 23, 2020.
Making Icons: The Rise of the K-pop Adjacent Industries
Speaker: CedarBough T. Saeji
Korean popular music (K-pop) is a musical industry centered on artistic products of idol stars. In tandem with K-pop’s success, but beyond those leading entertainment agencies and singers, an entire industry that parasitically feeds off K-pop while also symbiotically amplifying it has emerged. The K-pop industry is now supporting and supported by a multitude of lime-light eschewing and lime-light seeking people who are making a living through various K-pop dependent activities—a secondary yet autonomous industry. New participants in this adjacent/dependent industry support K-pop fandom, and may become secondary stars or in rare cases, penetrate the ranks of the idols. The very publicness of their activities gestures not at a subculture but at a *side *culture, generating a fascinating and contradictory transcultural practice and dialogue. I explore the specific issue of the K-pop adjacent industries that are dependent on the same sources of finances—fans and the Korean government—that the industry relies on. I conducted in-person and online interviews with performers, educators, and artists; (1) performers whose esire to be noticed collectively encourages creativity—a weakness of the hegemonic K-pop insiders, (2) educators that deepen fan engagement with K-pop through dance classes, tourism experiences, and educational programs, and (3) artists who produce new unofficial merchandise. I argue that these industries have become an integral part of interacting with and understanding K-pop today, introducing and enabling personal encounters with K-pop and Korea, and contributing to the growth of the industry.