Korean pop music, K-pop, has been rising in popularity among U.S teens in recent years. Current K-pop groups such as BTS and BlackPink have dominated music charts and created a worldwide fan base. Their catchy songs and attractive looks have garnered a large following.
K-pop is a well-established industry. Kpop entertainment companies such as YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment start recruiting trainees at ages as young as 8 years old. These trainees sign a contract to train for several years, during which they learn to sing, rap, and dance. Trainees typically debut between 16 and 20 years old.
As teens become obsessed with K-pop bands, some spend a concerning amount of time obsessing over their favorite artists. Band members often film vlogs and shows on Youtube and Vlive. K-pop fans also spend large amounts of money on concerts and merchandise, such as light sticks and t-shirts, from their favorite groups. While individual pieces of merchandise are generally inexpensive cheap, some K-pop fans spend enormous sums in aggregate to support their favorite bands.
The huge popularity of K-pop has also created an interest in Korean culture among U.S teens. Korean dramas and food have grown in popularity alongside Korean music. Many Korean BBQ restaurants have opened to take advantage of this trend. Video streaming platforms such as Netflix have also increased the number of Korean dramas available.