US music magazines launch editions in Korean to seduce K-pop fans
Fans of Korean pop music are among the most powerful worldwide. A recent Korea Foundation report showed that around 100 million people are associated with K-pop fan clubs on the planet. With such passion and popularity in mind, music magazines are launching editions in Korean to seduce this huge fan community.
The latest magazine to take the plunge in Korean is Rolling Stone. The powerful United States music magazine already counts a dozen international editions including in Spanish, Portuguese, German and Russian. This new edition, made in collaboration with e.L.e Media, will offer original content and on-the-scene reports as well as syndicated Rolling Stone features more relevant to local music lovers.
“The international popularity and success of music from Korea over the last few years has only grown our interest in launching the Rolling Stone brand in that market. We’re excited to give readers in Korea and beyond access to the brand’s unparalleled editorial content and world-class live events that Rolling Stone is known for,” said Gus Wenner, Rolling Stone president and CEO, in a press release.
Other print media are also rolling out bi-monthly issues in Korean to seduce K-pop fans. Billboard started in September 2019 with Billboard Korea. Every issue shows a column dedicated to a K-pop rising star. According to The Korea Herald, The Hollywood Reporter is also reportedly interested in finding a media partner in South Korea to launch in this thriving market.
A devoted and diverse fan community
Every big music media outlet wants its share of the K-pop mania. “K-pop stories are very popular overseas. When they write stories about BTS or Blackpink, there are huge interests and clicks. Big publications may want to do business in Korea, building closer relationships with music labels and the local industry overall,” an official from a music distributor told The Korea Herald on condition of anonymity.
At a time when the music industry is still suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, Korean pop seems to be spared. For instance, BTS production company Big Hit Entertainment launched a successful IPO in October. The company entered the Korean stock exchange market at an $8.4 billion value, thanks to the BTS fans “army.” This community is so devoted to its band that BTS became the most popular subject on Twitter during last spring’s lockdown.
In a recent opinion piece published in The Guardian, editor Tamar Herman highlights the fact that the K-pop community is very diverse. “While it’s easy to say ‘K-pop fans’ whenever discussing the movement, it’s not a centralized, formal group — it’s individuals who happen to be K-pop fans activating and using their combined values to make something happen. There is huge diversity in this group.” Such diversity in the K-pop sphere could be a blessing for the worldwide music press. RGA
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