Audience is enjoying the lively and fun atmosphere of the live concert in Germany.
/photograph by Anabel Schmitt
Culture makes a country or people with a certain background connected and unique. However, culture is not limited to a certain area. Each country is highly influenced by neighboring countries. Also, culture itself is a concept existing in many forms and parts. There is a culture in every aspect of our daily life such as fine art, and food to laws and most importantly, in music. As a German student from a European country, I have noticed that the music culture here in South Korea is very different from German and have fascinating aspects.
Enormous popularity of K-pop
Music has a lot of categories such as indie, rock, alternative and so on. In this article, I would primarily discuss mainstream music and underground music for both countries. Let’s talk about mainstream music first. Even foreigners who have never been to South Korea are also familiar with K-pop. With the popularity of groups like BTS, the genre itself gained attention worldwide in the last couple of years. With a rare combination of Pop, Hip-Hop, R&B and techno elements, K-pop represents a diversity that is unique for itself. The artists are casted and built-up by entertainment companies.
On the other hand, in Germany, mainstream music is quite different. The distinction between the two countries is genres of music. German music is more direct and clear. If we focus on the German mainstream music, Deutschrap, which is a kind of rap music, plays a huge role when it comes to the music charts. There is a totally different sense to artists in Germany compared to those of South Korea. It is hard to find huge groups in the center of attention when it comes to German music. Solo artists are more dominant, but even then, the fame they receive from Germany is not comparable to the fame of K-pop groups being loved in Korea.
Numerous choices of merchandise products
Every artist has fans. Often those fans create a unique fandom culture. In South Korea, it is quite normal to pass by shops that sell socks or other items with faces of popular artists on them. So, Korean music environment could be a paradise for the true fan of the K-pop artists. However, in Germany, the fanbase market is not as well developed as South Korea, because it is not part of the music culture. Of course, there are T-shirts and CDs that fans can purchase, but the variance of products is very limited and only can be purchased online.
Interesting attitude as a viewer of concert
Korean music culture first seems strange from the European perspective, considering that concerts in Europe just seem to be a bit more grounded and laid back, most of the craziness belongs to K-pop. It is a unique experience that cannot be compared to a local German concert. It was an interesting experience to attend the Autumn Festival of Dongguk University when the group Red Velvet gave a performance. As a frequent visitor of local Germany concerts, I had certain knowledge of the overall process of concert and reaction of the crowd. However, my whole perception of the “normal” concert changed in South Korea. The fact that everyone was pushing forward and screaming was nothing special. The interesting phenomena were that there was no distinction viewing the attitude of males and females.
Korean male fans lose their mind the same way the female audience usually does. Also, no one really cares about it. Regardless of gender, everyone was screaming, jumping and looked like they have just entered heaven. The South Koreans’ reaction, from a German’s perspective, seemed a bit extreme, but also funny and filled with a sense of joy.
Difficulty of finding local live performances
Another difference was noticeable. Seoul, the main capital of South Korea, has a lot to offer when it comes to music. However, the number of live performances seems far less than in Germany or other European countries. I think being unfamiliar with locals makes it harder to actually be aware of a lot of live performances.
In addition, famous artists from the U.S. are unlikely to visit every local place in South Korea, while Germany’s local places are usually covered at European tours. Regarding this factor, foreigners may have a hard time to find many local performances.
Lively underground scene with venues
When there is mainstream, there is also an “underground” music scene. The “underground” music is more than alive in the main capital Seoul. Especially, small venues, there are lots of clubs and bands that play familiar songs for the audience. While there is the difference in attitude to enjoy the concert, going extremely crazy during a concert, similarities are also found in smaller venues. In the end, the only thing that matters is the music’s function to connect people from everywhere around the world.
Anabel Schmitt Anabel-Schmitt@web.de
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