The popularity of K-pop music is steadily increasing in the United States, with Psy's 'Gangnam Style" leading the way. With over 734 million views on YouTube, the comical dance moves and memorable lyrics have become the subject of dozens of parodies and remakes. Since the release of 'Gangnam Style' this past July, interest in the K-pop genre has increased tremendously, especially in those in their teens and early 20s. Other K-pop groups, such as Girls' Generation, are also gaining a larger fan base. Their synchronized dance moves and charm are getting them a lot of attention from young people around the world.
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But K-pop music isn't the only thing grabbing Americans' attention. Korean dramas are also becoming increasingly popular overseas. Rosally Sapla, the vice president of communications of DramaFever, one of the most popular online providers of Korean dramas, says that each month over 3 million people tune in to watch Korea's most popular dramas, 85% of which aren't Asian. Sapla also reports that their website's audience has doubled every six months since 2009.
Often featuring actors in their twenties and K-pop stars, these television shows have become very attractive to teens and college students. The Korean dramas are quite similar to American shows with their universal themes of love, friendship, heartache, and growing pains. Viewers have reported they love the shows so much because Korean dramas often end their shows at the moment of greatest conflict, leaving the audience in suspense. This nature of the show can lead it to become very addicting, from the viewers desire to see the conflict be resolved.
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Despite the similar themes, watching Korean dramas and listening to K-pop music has proven to be more than just great entertainment, but also an eye-opening cultural experience that is linking people around the world together.