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Korean pop music (known in the West as K-pop) is an umbrella term for pop music originating from South Korea, usually similar in genre to pop in the United States. However, the material performed/produced by K-Pop artists covers a wide variety of genres, from EDM-inspired music to rock to softer ballads, and everything in between. Usually known outside the country for the numerous Idol Singers and idol Boy Bands and Girl Groups in the industry. K-pop and other Korean based entertainment such as Korean Dramas first became very popular throughout Asia in the 2000s, in a phenomenon that has been nicknamed the "Hallyu" or "Korean Wave". Like many things in South Korea, the talent agencies managing the singers are mostly based in Seoul.

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Outside of South Korea, K-pop is most popular in Indochina, Central Asia and Latin America, particularly in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Peru and Argentina.

The term "K-pop" is somewhat controversial, however. Its legitimacy (since it originated in Western media) and its exact meaning are still debated to this day - in and outside of Korea. Does it refer to all Korean pop music, or just idol music? Is it a genre or an industry? Does the "K" in "K-pop" denote the Korean identity and unique aspects of Korean pop, or is it just other-izing it away from so-called "main" (that is, Western) pop? Notably, even some Korean artists are reluctant to describe it as a music genre rather than an industry or a dance/music/visuals package with a diversity of music genres. This is all complicated further by its use in Western media, with music platforms labeling Korean music of any kind as "K-pop" (even indie artists), with Minority Show Ghetto implications.

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Notable Korean Pop artists:

  • Seo Taiji and Boys: Highly influential Hip-Hop/pop/rock trio from The '90s, led by mastermind Seo Taiji. Widely considered the Trope Maker of Korean Pop music as we know it today. Massively popular and critically acclaimed, they challenged the Moral Guardians of the time by working independently from TV stations, including social critique in their lyrics, and mixing Western and Korean music genres (including, most notably, rap) in what became the Genre-Busting sound that would later characterize what we know as K-pop. Seo Taiji is still active as a solo artist after the group's disbandment, while fellow ex member YG would go on to create YG Entertainment, one of the three most powerful Korean music companies known as the Big Three.
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The Big Three

The three biggest and most powerful agencies/labels in the Korean music industry (at least for part of the Turn of the Millennium and most of The New '10s).

     SM Entertainment 
Active Artists
  • Aespa
  • BoA
  • EXO
  • Girls' Generation
    • Girls' Generation-TTS
    • Taeyeon
    • Jessica note 
    • Tiffany Young note 
    • Hyoyeon
    • Seohyun note 
    • Yoona
    • Yuri
    • Oh!GG
  • The Grace
    • The Grace - Dana & Sunday
    • Dana
    • Sunday
    • Stephanie
  • H.O.T: Considered the first Kpop idol group and Trope Codifier for the Korean idol formula.
    • Kangta
  • J-Min
  • LUCY (managed under Mystic Story Entertainment, a subsidary label of SM Entertainment)
  • NCT
    • NCT U
    • NCT 127
    • NCT Dream
    • WayV
  • Red Velvet
  • S.E.S.
  • SHINee
    • Taemin
    • Jonghyun
  • SuperM
  • Super Junior
    • Super Junior-M
      • Henry
      • Zhou Mi
    • Super Junior-T
    • Super Junior-M
    • Super Junior KRY
    • Super Junior Happy
    • Super Junior-D&E
    • Kyuhyun
    • Ryeowook
    • Yesung
    • Heechul
  • TRAX
  • TVXQ
    • Changmin
    • Yunho
    • JYJ note 

Project Groups

  • The Blue
  • Kangta & Vanness
  • S.M. The Ballad
  • M&D
  • Younique Unit
  • S.M. The Performance
  • TOHEART

Former

     JYP Entertainment 
Active Artists Former:

     YG Entertainment 
  • 2NE1
    • Bom
    • CL
    • Dara
    • Minzy (former; left the company in 2016)
  • Akdong Musician
    • Hi Suhyun
  • Big Bang
    • GD & TOP
    • G-Dragon
    • Taeyang
    • T.O.P
    • Daesung
    • Seungri (former)
  • Blackpink
  • Epik High (former; they left the company in 2018)
    • Tablo
  • iKON
    • Bobby
  • Lee Hi (former; left the company in 2020)
  • PSY (former; left the company in 2018)
  • SECHSKIES
  • TREASURE
  • WINNER
    • Mino
    • MOBB

Other Labels

     Big Hit Entertainment 
Big Hit Entertainment
  • 8eight (inactive)
  • BTS
    • RM
    • SUGA (also known as Agust D)
    • j-hope
  • Lee Hyun
  • GLAM (disbanded in 2014)
  • Homme (officially disbanded in 2018)
  • TXT

Source Music (subsidiary since 2019)

Pledis Entertainment (subsidiary since 2020)

Belift Lab (subsidiary created in 2020)

  • ENHYPEN
  • Hanbin

Big Hit Japan Global Debut Project

  • Unnamed group (to debut in 2021)
    • K
    • Nicholas
    • EJ
    • Kyungmin
    • Taki

     Cube Entertainment 

     FNC Entertainment 
  • AOA (Ace of Angels)
    • AOA Black
    • AOA Dance Unit
    • AOA White
    • AOA Cream
  • Cherry Bullet
  • CN Blue
    • Jung Yonghwa
  • FT Island
    • FT Triple
    • Lee Hongki
  • N.Flying
  • P1Harmony
  • SF9
  • Honeyst

     Starship Entertainment 

     Jellyfish Entertainment 
  • Gugudan
    • gugudan 5959
    • Kim Sejeong
  • Verivery
  • VIXX
    • VIXX LR
    • Ravi
    • Leo
    • Ken

     Woollim Entertainment 
  • Drippin
  • Golden Child
  • INFINITE
    • Infinite F
    • Infinite H
    • Sunggyu
    • Woohyun
  • Lovelyz
    • Jin
    • Jiae
  • Rocket Punch

     DSP Media 
  • April
  • Fin K.L.
    • Lee Hyori
  • KARA (disbanded in 2015)
    • Gyuri
    • Hara
    • Nicole
  • KARD
  • Sechs Kies
  • SS501
  • Rainbow
    • Rainbow Pixie
    • Rainbow Blaxx

     MBK Entertainment 
  • BAE173
  • Coed School
    • Speed
    • F-ve Dolls
  • DIA
    • BinChaenHyunSeuS
    • L.U.B
  • T-ara (former; left the company in 2018)
    • T-ara N4
    • QBS
    • Jiyeon
    • Hyomin
    • Elsie
  • Shannon Williams

     Kakao M 
Play M Entertainment

EDAM

  • IU
  • History

Cre.ker Entertainment

     B2M Entertainment 
  • Davichi
  • Eric Nam
  • SG Wannabe
  • Spica
    • SpicaS

     AOMG 
  • Jay Park
  • Simon Dominic
  • Gray
  • Lee Hi

     Fantagio 
  • Astro
  • Hello Venus
  • Ong Seongwoo
  • Weki Meki

     TS Entertainment 
  • B.A.P
    • Bang Yongguk
  • Secret
    • Hyosung
    • Jieun
  • Sonamoo

     Star Empire Entertainment 
  • ARIAZ
  • Imfact
  • Nine Muses
    • Nine Muses A
    • Sera
    • Moon Hyuna
    • Kyungri
  • ZE:A (Children of Empire)
    • ZE:A J
    • ZE:A 4U
    • ZE:A Five

     TOP Media 
  • Teen Top
  • 100%
  • MCND
  • Up10tion

     WM Entertainment 

     KQ Entertainment 

Seven Seasons (subsidiary)

     RBW 

     P Nation 
  • PSY
  • Jessi
  • HyunA
  • Dawn
  • Crush

     Happy Face Entertainment 
  • 4Men
  • Dal Shabet
    • Subin
  • D1CE
  • Dream Catcher (Now under Dreamcatcher Company, a Happy Face sublabel)

     MNH Entertainment 

     Dream T Entertainment 

     YMC Entertainment 

     NH Media 

     Others 
  • 24K
  • AA (Double A)
  • AB6IX
  • ACE
  • Ailee
  • A.Kor
    • A.Kor Black
    • Kemy
  • AleXa
  • BBde Girl
  • Berry Good
  • BESTie
  • BIGSTAR
  • BIKINY
  • Bonus Baby
  • Boohwal
  • The Boss (aka DGNA)
  • Brown Eyed Girls
    • Narsha
    • Jea
    • Gain
    • Miryo
  • Bulldok
    • Kimi
  • Chocolat
  • Clazziquai Project
  • Cocosori
    • Coco
    • Sori
  • Craxy
  • Crayon Pop
    • Strawberry Milk
  • D-Unit
  • Dean
  • Everglow
  • EvoL
    • Jucy
  • EXID
    • DASONI (aka SoljiHani)
    • LE
    • Hani
  • Fiestar
    • Yezi
  • Geeks
  • G.NA
  • GI (Global Icon)
  • Girls Girls
    • MiSo
  • Holland
  • Honey Popcorn
  • H.U.B.
  • Ivy
  • IZ
  • IZ*ONE
  • JBJ
  • Jewelry
  • JJCC
  • Juniel
  • Kahi
  • Kang Daniel
  • Kim Beom-Soo
  • Kim Gun Mo
  • Kiss&Cry
    • Dia
  • Ladies' Code
    • Ashley
  • LedT (aka LED Apple)
  • Lee Jung Hyun
  • Lee Sora
  • Lim Kim
  • LOONA
    • LOONA 1/3
    • ODD EYE CIRCLE
    • yyxy
  • MBLAQ
  • MIXX
  • Momoland
  • MyB
  • MyName
  • My-Q
  • NC.A
  • Norazo
    • Lee Hyuk
  • NS Yoon-G
  • Oh Hyuk
  • Park Jung-Hyun
  • Purfles
  • RAIN
  • RaNia
    • BP Rania
  • Se7en
  • Secret Number
  • Shinhwa
  • Sinawe
  • Son Dam Bi
  • Spectrum
  • Stellar
  • Sunny Hill
  • Supernova
  • Tahiti
  • Tasty
    • Niel
  • Tiny-G
    • Mint
  • XENO-T (aka Topp Dogg)
  • Turbo
    • Kim Jong-Kook
  • Ulala Session
  • Wa$$up
    • Nada
  • Winterplay
  • Wonder Boyz
  • YB
  • Younha
  • X1


Alternative Title(s): K Pop

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