K-Pop Idols: Inside the Hit Factory – 28 July 2021 – 28/7/2021 – Wednesday – BBC Four

The K-Pop phenomenon is shaking up the pop world. For the first time ever, there is a serious challenge to the west’s domination of the global music industry. Leading the way is the biggest boy band in the world, BTS. But how has this happened?

Music journalist James Ballardie travels to South Korea to uncover the secrets behind this worldwide success story and to find out how, in just 20 short years, the music industry in the country came from obscurity to become a major player on the world stage.

In the summer of 2019, BTS played two sold-out performance at the UK’s most icon venue, Wembley Stadium. Their catchy pop songs, bombastic beats, good looks and natty dance moves have captivated young pop fans worldwide, and sent them to the top of the charts in the US and beyond.

To try and understand this latest pop explosion, James heads to Seoul and goes inside the K-pop industry. He meets Soo-Man Lee, the Svengali-like figure who has helped shape Korean pop music for over 30 years and still drives giant K-Pop company SM entertainment’s vision today. He also catches up with some of the songwriters, producers, music video makers and the idols themselves, from the biggest names in the business to the newcomers. Among them are members of EXO, NCT 127, SHINee and WayV, all bands with millions of fans around the world. They are all part of a new star-studded supergroup, SuperM. Their success in Asia will be guaranteed, but can they replicate BTS’s global achievements? James meets SuperM as they prepare to be launched on the world.


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