Well, this is interesting.
Swizz Beatz‘s production company has entered into a partnership with South Korean entertainment company O&Media in a new deal to break K-Pop artists in America, and American artists in Asia.
He’s just one of a growing number of American hitmakers coming for a piece of the K-Pop pie, following the likes of Will.i.am, Darkchild, and Teddy Riley.
“What I found in Korean pop music is a new expression. The world is open for new things and I think right now K-pop in Korea is leading in that area. I’d like to be the one to introduce that to the West,” the musician said during a news conference in Seoul.
“My idea to bridge the world together with music starting in Asia and going to the West is something that is new, untapped and leading to the future of bringing the worlds together. And this partnership is the beginning in making a history,” Beatz said.
It’s a pretty good idea as far as American artists are concerned. Japan is the world’s second biggest music market, and Asia as a whole is incredibly lucrative, so it’s about time that more American artists begin tapping into it, especially the ones that aren’t doing so good back home. Avril Lavigne is a good example: she sold 385,000 copies of her Goodbye Lullaby album in Japan alone – more than she sold back in the States.
As for the Korean artists that Swizz has his eye for global success, the super producer singled out 2NE1, BIGBANG, BoA, and even KARA, and is also hoping to put 2NE1 and domestic abuse advocate Rihanna together for a collaboration. There’s also talk that Swizz’s wife Alicia Keys might be lending her talents as a producer-songwriter-everything to the new partnership deal.
A lot of details on the deal are still a little fuzzy, but Swizz says that the partnered companies are currently training 15 soon-to-be artists, and they will be making some “groundbreaking announcements” in the near future.
I’m still a little confused about this whole thing, and while I see the upside for the American artists, I can’t say the same for the Korean artists hoping to crossover. One of the biggest mistakes that American producers have made when trying to bring K-Pop artists to the States is that they westernize them too much, and strip away everything that made them K-Pop in the first place. Se7en and BoA were perfect examples, although, to be fair, they both had no real promotional plans in place and were completely mishandled, which was actually their biggest problem — their music really wasn’t that bad, especially BoA’s.
I hope that Swizz Beatz and his company understand what makes K-Pop so good, and doesn’t try and cart over a non-English-speaking KARA, dressed like the Pussycat Dolls, singing some hideous RedOne song about getting drunk, and then complains when it flops.
The other big issue is quite simple: North America. South Koreans treat America like the holy grail, but unless you’re 2NE1 or BIGBANG, it’s just not going to work on a large scale. K-Pop is already making inroads in Europe and South America, so most K-Pop artists should be focusing more of their energy there, before trying to crossover to the States.
Still, the new partnership is interesting and I can’t wait to hear more specific details on their plans for the future, but for now the best option for any K-Pop artist wanting to make it in America is still simply signing a major label record deal. Girls’ Generation haven’t even officially tried to enter the US market yet, but their deal with Universal Music got them on Letterman, Extra, and Live! With Kelly, as well as major advertising in New York’s Time Square. Can Swizz Beatz’s company do that? I doubt it.