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K-Pop Now!: The Korean Music Revolution

Paperback - 29 April 2014
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"K-Pop Now ...] features one hundred and twenty-eight glossy pages of Korean pop eye-candy."

K-Pop Now takes a fun look at Korea's high-energy pop music, and is written for its growing legions of fans. It features all the famous groups and singers, and takes an insider's look at how they have made it to the top.

In 2012, Psy's song and music video "Gangnam Style" suddenly took the world by storm. But K-Pop, the music of Psy's homeland of Korea has been winning fans for years with its infectious melodies and high-energy fun. Featuring incredibly attractive and talented singers and eye-popping visuals, K-Pop is the music of now.

Though K-Pop is a relatively young phenomenon in the West, it is rapidly gaining traction and reaching much larger audiences--thanks in large part to social media like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Top K-Pop acts get ten million to thirty million hits for their videos--the Girls Generation single "Gee" has over a hundred million views

In K-Pop Now you'll find:

  • Profiles of all the current K-Pop artists and their hits
  • A look at Seoul's hippest hot spots and hangouts
  • Interviews with top artists like Kevin from Ze: A and Brian Joo
  • A look at the K-Pop idols of tomorrow

You'll meet the biggest record producers, the hosts of the insanely popular "Eat Your Kimchi" website, and K-Pop groups like Big Bang, TVXQ, 2NE1, Girls Generation, HOT, SES, FinKL Busker Busker and The Koxx. The book also includes a guide for fans who plan to visit Seoul to explore K-Pop up close and personal.

Join the K-Pop revolution now

Customer Reviews

6 customer reviews Between 4−5 stars rating, 25 August 2014
By: Marketplace from American Public Media

When you hear the term K-Pop, chances are Gangnam Style by Psy pops in your head. (Editors' note: And we're sorry, because it will now probably stay there all day.)

But there is so much more to K-Pop than Psy, and chances are you’ll soon start hearing more proof.

South Korea is now the 11th biggest music market in the world. The most recent figures show the country raked in over $187 million in 2012, and the three big companies behind K-Pop are making a big international push.

Mark James Russell is a music journalist living in... See More

Seoul. His new book “K-Pop Now! The Korean Music Revolution” outlines the explosion of Korean pop music in the 1990s, and chronicles the acts that have kept it growing for the past three decades.

Our first question to Russell: What exactly is K-Pop, anyway?

“There’s usually upbeat dance music, it’s very loud, it’s very flashy," he said. "To use the old Spinal Tap reference, this one goes up to 11, in Korea, they start at 11 and they go up from there.”

Russell says “Gangnam Style” isn’t exactly the best song to represent K-Pop as a whole, but its success showed South Korea that its music was exportable. The video for the song is the most viewed YouTube video of all time, closing in on 2 billion views. To Russell, that represents a shift in the American public’s view toward Asian culture.

“Asia occupies a strange mental place with people in the West. Some people think it’s exotic or weird or goofy. Often they’re laughing at it. But when people enjoyed “Gangnam Style”, it felt like they were laughing with it.”

Boy bands and girl bands called "idol groups" similar to The Backstreet Boys or The Spice Girls are the biggest sellers in Seoul. And Russell says Korean pop stars and super groups are not only expanding their reach over borders, but are actually starting to compete with other music markets before songs are even recorded.

“K-Pop from very early on was looking to get out of Korea. It was looking to become more international. So they brought in songwriters from other places. They buy a lot of music from Scandinavia. Universal Music Europe sells a lot of stuff to Korea...I’ve talked several times to the head of A&R (Artists & Repertoire) there... he has taken away songs from American artists and given them to K-Pop artists because he feels the right combination could be more profitable in Korea.”

Russell says Korea’s embrace of K-Pop doesn’t just show an evolving taste in music, it represents a political and economic turnaround for a country that just a few decades ago looked drab and isolated.

“It’s been a whole series of changes that go back quite a ways. From the rise of democracy and the Olympics in ’88 (to) the country just opening up, it’s become a much more lifestyle-oriented country. For many years people worked very long hours six days a week. But now people have more money and more free time, and they want to fill that time with fun things.” 


6 customer reviews Between 4−5 stars rating, 25 August 2014
K-Pop Trend!
By: Library Journal, Spring 2014, Editors’ Pick

An even bigger cultural trend? K-Pop! Mark James Russell’s photo-heavy K-Pop Now! The Korean Music Revolution (Tuttle, Mar.) is bursting with profiles of hot new Korean pop artists: Wonder Girls, Brown Eyed Girls, Busker Busker, and, of course, Psy, best known for his YouTube-fueled smash “Gagnam Style.” This fun, colorful examination of a craze will appeal to die-hard fans looking for the latest info on their favorite groups, as well as to those merely curious about the trend.

6 customer reviews Between 4−5 stars rating, 25 August 2014
Russell's gift

Mark James Russell provides a unique voice to K-Pop Now! as writer who has spent more than a decade working and living in Korea. […] K-Pop Now! is a comprehensive guide that is helpful not only for fans of K-Pop, but journalists covering this musical genre.

6 customer reviews Between 4−5 stars rating, 25 August 2014
An easy way!

Whether you’re new to K-Pop and could use an easy yet thorough guidebook or you’re a K-Pop veteran who needs help explaining to friends and family what K-Pop is and how awesome it is, “K-Pop Now” would be your go-to book.

6 customer reviews Between 4−5 stars rating, 25 August 2014
Know K-Pop Well!

For those who are curious about what K-pop is all about, or who want to explore the scene but don’t know where to begin, K-Pop Now! offers a clear, easy, visually appealing point of entry to one of the most active and fascinating scenes in the rapidly rising Asian music industry.

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