Kpop, Capitalism and the Illusion of the American Dream

Why are kpop fans considered crazed consumers? Why are kpop idols undermined for “not writing their music”? Outsiders often use shock-value criticisms to diminish the Korean music industry, its kpop idols and fans, while ignoring those same criticisms that can be found within American music. Kpops’ success in the western market shines a light on not just the illusion of the American Dream, but also how much capitalism is the true owner of the music industry.

Whether it’s fans buying different versions of the same album or BTS’s ARMY using their power to stream “Butter” to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, kpop fans come under fire for participating in capitalism in a way that fans of American artists do not.

In this episode, we’re breaking down some of the myths around kpop and turning the narrative on ourselves as Americans to ask – what makes us believe these myths in the first place? And at the end of the day, is capitalism in America really all that different from Korea? 

We’re putting on our critical thinking caps to explore the way we view the American and Korean music industries, all with the help of Stephanie Parker, kpop fan since ‘04 and co-host of The Kpopcast!

Check out The Kpopcast on all podcast platforms + follow on Twitter for weekly live chats!

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Want to talk more? Find us: @name3songs | @sara_feigin | @jenna_million

Past episodes you might be interested in if you’re a fan of Kpop and just how powerful the genre and it’s fans are: The Importance of Boy Bands to Pop Culture and Their Dark History (with Maria Sherman) and Fangirls: Secret Marketing Geniuses (with Sydney Stein)

Sources for Kpop, Capitalism and the Illusion of the American Dream

Stray Kids Talk Double Knot (English Version), District 9 Tour, Being a Stray Kid (Zach Sang Show, 2020)

Every Taylor Swift Era Explained (The List, Hannah Jeon, 2021)

Pharrell Williams Says Justin Timberlake Got ‘Justified’ Songs After Michael Jackson Rejected Them (Billboard, Anna Chan, 2020)

“Asian people being portrayed as soulless robots” (Hyunsu Yim via Twitter, 2021

“China’s sports assembly line is designed for one purpose” (New York Times via Twitter, 2021)

Justin Bieber told fans to game Spotify and iTunes to give him a chart-topping song (The Verge, Dani, Deahl, 2020)

NCT Label Looking to Form a U.S.-Based K-Pop Group in New Competition Series (Billboard, Rebecca Sun, 2021)

BTS Trojan Horse Meme (Landon Mark via Twitter, 2021)

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