Reports surfaced earlier today that KARA are looking into making a possible debut in Europe. Kobalt, a global music publishing company and label service that currently represents everyone from Paul McCartney and Kelly Clarkson to Dr. Luke and Max Martin, has reached out to DSP Media to talk about debuting KARA in the UK and other parts of Europe.
This is one of the few times that there’s been talk of pushing a K-pop act in Europe instead of America, which is something that should be happening more regulary. We’ve all had this conversation a million times before and I’m not keen on going over it again in great detail, but if K-pop acts are going expand outside of Asia, they’re going to have more chance of success in Europe than in America. It’s less time-consuming, the market is smaller, more open-minded, and more pop-friendly, and blah blah blah.
In terms of K-pop acts crossing over, KARA have more going for them than most. They’ve got a safe and familiar member count of five (anything higher seems to freak Westerners the fuck out), they’re one of the prettiest girl groups in the game, and most importantly, they’ve got two English speakers: the California-born Nicole is 100% fluent, while Seungyeon has a decent grasp of the language after studying in the States for a period of time.
While K-pop continues to polarize music fans, it’s reaching a point now where it’s becoming a fairly notable sub-genre, or scene, in pop music. The international concerts and K-pop’s growing presence in the music media is proof of that. K-pop’s ending up on places like Pitchfork and Spin, while websites like Billboard, Popjustice and Popdust (who I also write for) have opened up their own K-pop sections. That doesn’t mean that K-pop has taken over the world or that it ever will, but when South Korea has gotten this much of a foothold while infinity larger music markets like Japan and Germany have not, it means that K-pop is now a “thing,” whether people like it or not. And why shouldn’t K-pop artists capitalize off of this? PSY is obviously a one-off kind of success story, but that doesn’t mean that acts like 2NE1, BIGBANG, and Girls’ Generation will never achieve anything outside of Asia. Personally, I’d be stoked to see any one of those artists crack the charts in any European country, even if it’s outside the top ten or twenty.
And at the end of the day, KARA have achieved everything that they can in Asia. They’re still huge stars, but they’ve peaked and completely conquered both Korea and Japan in a way that very few K-pop acts ever have before. Europe is the logical next step for KARA if they want to keep expanding and evolving. As long as they don’t completely neglect Asia like Wonder Girls did and make their intentional activities a side project rather than the primary focus of their career, then I’m all for KARA’s expansion into Europe.
Plus, the UK deserves a good girl group after having to suffer through garbage like The Saturdays and Little Mix.
up & up ah ah~