Organizing K-Pop: Emergence and market making of large Korean entertainment houses, 1980-2010

Solee I. Shin, Lanu Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper studies the connection between the emergence and market making activities of the large Korean entertainment houses and the global level success of "K-pop," an increasingly popular type of Korean popular music. We review a set of conventional explanations, respectively pointing to cultural factors, government support, and technological development as core factors that led to the global success of K-pop. We find all three explanations unsatisfactory and, alternatively, building on studies of market intermediaries, argue that the roles of three large entertainment houses - SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment - have been the most crucial in the development and success of K-pop. Through combining data from Korean music charts, newspaper articles, and revenue data, we trace the increasingly systematic musical production strategies of the entertainment houses and the macro-consequences of their organizational activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-272
Number of pages18
JournalEast Asia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Globalization of music
  • Intermediaries
  • K-pop
  • Media groups
  • Popular music industry
  • Producer driven production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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