IMS ASIA-PACIFIC: SPOTLIGHT ON South Korea


17 November 2015

Capital: Seoul
Population: 50 million

South Korea is a country with a rich, colorful history and made up of a population of people that don’t hesitate to celebrate the unique cultural components that come out of their country. From K-Pop to Korean soap operas, it’s safe to say that Korea is easily hooked on cultural phenomena. Much like Tokyo, Seoul is a bustling metropolitan capital that thrives off of its youth culture. Though K-Pop remains a dominant musical obsession for many, the doors have obviously been thrust wide open for the emergence of electronic music, festivals and artists themselves.

Major Music Festivals:

Ultra Music Festival Korea
Global Gathering Korea
Seoul World DJ Festival

Major Nightclubs:

Octagon
The A Club
Ellui

Korean Talents:

Tokimonsta (Korean-American)
Shut Da Mouth
Steve Wu
Massive Ditto
JennyFTS

Major challenges and limitations:

Developing a real appreciation for music aside from “top hits”

Ultra Music Festival marked South Korea as one of the first few countries to watch when it first brought the Korean edition in 2012. This was a relatively early expansion in terms of the global electronic music boom, placing South Korea as one of the pioneers within the Eastern world for the industry. Since, other successful festivals like Global Gathering and Seoul World DJ Festival have continued to cultivate an interest in the music, and globally renowned headliners like The Chainsmokers, NERVO, Skrillex, David Guetta and many more have since visited the country to perform.

South Korea was one of the earliest Asian markets to open up to electronic music. In the early 2000s, there was already interest in the music and soon, major nightclubs like Octagon, The A and Ellui appeared to supplement the growing demand for ‘EDM’ talent.

Though this explosion also helped to encourage Korea’s own talent to begin experimenting with electronic music, DJs and producers in the region will face the challenge of truly bringing their own take and twist to the music without falling prey to what is considered a generic hit. Korean group Shut Da Mouth told DJ Mag that most club goers are eager to hear progressive and electro sounds and not much else. It will be important for these artists to take it upon themselves to distance nightclub culture from electronic music and find their own sound in the mix.

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