It’s been almost 50-years since The Beatles led what was known as the British Invasion in pop music. American culture was transformed as a result and things have never been quite the same.

Now, enters the Korean Invasion, with artists such as 2NE1 and Girl’s Generation spearheading a revolutionary commercial breakthrough that has quickly evolved into a worldwide pop phenomenon.

Perhaps no single artist personifies the K-Pop Invasion as definitively as Psy, whose Gangnam Style became more than just a hit song and viral sensation – it became the first video to get over one-billion hits online and is the most ‘liked’ YouTube video in history!

The implications of the Korean pop sensation are many and are potentially lucrative. Stylish and not ashamed to mix commerce and art, Korean pop artists are readily accepting of commercial exploitation, seeing it as a way to be more visible and more accessible to the fans.

Korean Cultural Exports

At the dawn of the millennium, Korea leaned on cultural exports to lift it from the economic doldrums reverberating through Asia. It appears to be working. Just as Japan scored successes with Hello Kitty and the popular acceptance of anime art, Korean pop has thrived, helping South Korea to post over 4-billion dollars in cultural exports in the past year.

Aside from deft usage of social media platforms to reach audiences across the globe and an undeniably passionate and supportive fan-base, Korean pop artists are more comfortable with commercial associations and direct involvement in advertising than their sometimes art-conscious American peers. Selling-out is not a term that seems to apply here as much as cashing-in and using marketing and commercialism to maximize the potential for pop success.

Opportunities in Creating Global Brands

This so-called Korean Invasion appears to be just the ‘tip-of-the-iceberg’ for a rapidly ascending Asian pop-culture market. The commercial potential of such a market can only be seen as astronomical. The emergence of Korean Pop and all that is to follow underscores the revolutionary nature of the internet, social media, and an increasingly diversified and cross-cultural artistic and commercial world.

About SIS Market Research

SIS International Research often conducts research for Korean cultural organizations and electronics companies seeking to build global brands.  We conduct:

  • Focus Groups
  • Influencer In-Depth Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Market Opportunity and Entry Assessments
  • Online Communities


Contact us for your next K-pop Market Research study.