Author: edabbott

About myself? What to say about myself... Long time listener, first time blogger. One of the requirements for my degree of B Communication & Media Studies at the University of Wollongong is to create a blog. So, here I am, joining the wonderful world of the blogosphere. Join me on this journey as I discover the wonderful things the world wide web has on offer. So sit tight and hold on, this could be one hell of a bumpy ride.

Asia’s Got Talent

Have you ever watched a talent show? You know the type – X factor and such that promote obscure talent from around the country that you never could have seen otherwise – it’s so cringeworthy, and yet amazing at the same time. Of course, these types of shows exist all around the world, we all know that X factor originated in the UK, and was exported here in Australia among other nations – among other shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and the like.

Although I knew this process had occurred, I was never aware that these types of shows existed in Asian countries – a very silly stereotype that I can abolish now that I have looked into the topic!

After researching talent shows around the world, the most prominent Asian version I found was titled simply ‘Asia’s Got Talent’. This show is exported around the world by Fremantle Media into a variety of both Asian and Western countries.

This is just one of many examples of the way that Western ideals in the form of television programs can be exported. ‘Asia’s Got Talent’ is just one of the many examples of how these programs have been culturally appropriated.

I found this rather interesting to research due to the high interest I have in these talent shows here in Australia. I watch X factor almost every week, and it was intriguing to discover the different ways in which this genre of program is displayed around the world.

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The Effect of GuruPop

This week I decided to look into the different ways in which fans all over the globe could interact with their favourite Asian pop artists. The primary platform I discovered was a website called Gurupop, which is a multi-dimensional platform that allows for news to be posted about particular Asian pop artists, as well as a participatory media culture being established in the form of forum posts and a related Twitter feed.

This was really interesting to explore in terms of the different types of content that I discovered on the site. For instance, there is a section dedicated entirely to ‘fan clubs’ that allows users to discuss certain artists, songs and factors of the Asian music industry that may be of interest.

This was very interesting for me to look into due to the fact that there was no language barrier that stopped me from exploring this platform (like usual – yay!) which means that I was able to fully understand what was going on.

The platform also features top contributors that often post to multiple forums in a variety of different topics – this intrigued me as I wondered what made people the top contributors. Obviously many different people around the world are very dedicated to the K and J-pop culture and this was rather interesting as it paralleled those in the Western world – in terms of the hype behind Western artists such as One Direction, Justin Bieber and 5 Seconds of Summer.

The website also features a Q&A section that was highly beneficial as it allowed me to discover topics that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. For instance, these forums give a very personalised view into the K and J pop genres as people ask questions such as ‘when was the first time you bought a Super Junior CD? What did you think of it?’ – and other users are able to post their answers.

This gave me an added insight into how such artists can affect their fan base.

Making it Through YouTube

Since the rise of social media technologies, it has become increasingly easier for artists to be discovered and heard of around the world. For instance, Justin Bieber (who DOESN’T know his songs, right?) was discovered by R&B artist Usher, through his busking videos posted to YouTube, and the rest is history.

All over Asia, YouTube videos are quickly becoming the way to gain fame in the music industry. For example, Filipino solo artist known as ‘Cherice’ gained popularity through posting her work on YouTube, and then was recognised by Oprah Winfrey as ‘the most talented girl in the world’. This happened in 2010, and since then, Cherice has now been signed as a judge on the Filipino version of X Factor. This is just one of many examples of how social media platforms are able to be utilised to promote an artist that had no way to promote their work previously.

Personally, I think that this is a definite effective method of promotion that can be utilized by artists – not only for up and coming performers but those that have already been established in the industry.

For instance, how many times have you signed into Facebook and a band’s new video clip has been the first story on your newsfeed? Not to mention, signing into YouTube and having countless recommendations for video clips relating to videos you may have previously watched.

This is such an interesting way social media has now been changed to accommodate for the user’s wants and needs, rather than the other way around.

Super Easy, Super Junior

Over time, the way that celebrities have interacted with their fans has dramatically changed. For instance, in the 1960’s when the Beatles were at their height of fame all over the world, the main way in which fans interacted with the band was through live broadcasts over TV and radio, or either in real life (for example, at live events).

Nowadays, there are countless ways in which fans are able to connect with their favourite artists. One of the primary ways they are able to do so is through the power of social media – i.e., Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Most artists either have a collective page in which their official updates and programs are posted to the public, as well as personal accounts just like everyone else.

This is highly beneficial to each artist’s popularity – it gives a better way for the artists to procure more fans, and from a variety of locations – the internet has no boundaries!

To demonstrate this shift in interaction, I looked into Korean boy-band Super Junior and their popularity over different social media platforms and how their fans reacted to this.

I am a rather huge fan of the band myself, among other Western boy bands (One Direction!) so it was very interesting for me to see how this differed to other Western artists.

I found Super Junior’s official Twitter account, which has over four million followers. Although this proves they are hugely popular, I really could not understand anything that was going on due to the fact that every single tweet was in Korean – and there was no option for me to translate to English.

This proves that although Super Junior have become known worldwide, their main fan-base is still situated in their home country of Korea.

Although I am a large fan of the band, I quickly lost interest in exploring their social media practices due to the difficult language barrier.

*Sigh*

Psy is a South Korean singer who has recently become known worldwide for his pop song ‘Gangnam Style’, however he has been known domestically in South Korea since 2001, having released music there since this time. Psy also is an avid songwriter, and is well-known in the online community. His official music video for his song Gangnam Style is actually the most watched video on YouTube of all time, with over two billion views.

Psy is a great example to talk about when we discuss Asian diasporic groups, because of the way that he has gained worldwide fame, after such a long time only being recognised in his home nation. He is also an avid social media user, which makes him perfect for a case study into the way that it can be utilised for his own promotion online.

I find Psy’s fans to be really interesting – I wanted to look into whether he had die hard fans not only in South Korea, but also in other nations that were not affiliated with the culture over there.

After researching fan bases for Psy, I found an official fan page on public website Fanpop. This is basically a hub for information about Psy – including videos, photos, blog posts and forums. I think this is a great example of how social media can be used to connect fans, no matter what their geographical location may be. Although this is a great way for fans to come together, it is in no way affiliated with Psy himself, which can be considered a downside.

In saying this, Psy also has an official Twitter account that has regular updates. After looking at his account, I found that his tweets were not actually written by Psy, but rather a publicist or management type, and were focused on what he is doing in the global pop community, rather than personal updates.

This is interesting to compare to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, who I talked about in my last post, who interacted quite personally with her hometown fans through Twitter.

Following Kyary

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is a Japanese model and singer, with three full-length studio albums that were released in Japan, as well as a deal being signed recently to release her material in the United States.

Although Kyary has been working in these industries in Japan since 2011, she has only recently achieved worldwide fame through her viral Internet videos. 

She also has a pretty famous fashion sense, sometimes being described as a ‘Harajuku girl’, and being compared to American pop star Lady Gaga (Bill Browning, 2011).

Kyary is pretty well known throughout Asia, mainly because of her Internet use and social media personality.

After looking into this, I found Kyary is very active across a variety of platforms. In terms of her amounts of followers, it is obvious that Twitter is the main way she interacts with her fans. She has over two million followers, and usually tweets regularly.

It is also really interesting to note that all of her tweets are written in Japanese – this shows that Kyary is catering for her market in her home country, rather than anyone else in countries that speak other languages. Kyary also has an active Instagram account that she posts to regularly.

It’s actually interesting to look at her Instagram photos, as almost all of them are selfies. This demonstrates her awareness of her public image that is projected to her fans.

Although Kyary doesn’t have a personal Facebook page, she has two separate official Facebook pages. Unlike Twitter and Instagram, Kyary herself does not run these, rather management to which she belongs.

The reason behind the two different pages is simple – one is for Japanese speakers, and the other is for those who do not know the language. I found it strange that rather than combining the two pages with options for translation, Kyary’s management found it necessary to separate the two.

After looking into Kyary Pamyu Pamyu as one of the most influential artists in Asian pop, I discovered the sheer popularity that artists in the genre can have. I got this mainly through looking at her Twitter account.

Although the page only catered for one small community in terms of the world online, she still has over two million followers, and gets about two thousand favourites on every tweet. 

これは日本にあり

Konichiwa!

For my personal research project, I will be focusing on mainstream Asian pop music, while also looking at fans in an Asian setting as well as worldwide.

I also think it will be interesting to explore how both artists and fans use social and digital media to connect with others in the fandom, regardless of their location.

This topic is so interesting to me because of my own love for trashy pop music. I can’t get enough of them, whether they are from Britain, the US or Australia… Although I haven’t listened to much J-pop or K-pop, it seems like something that I would really like!

Over the semester, I am going to look into different areas of Asian pop, focusing sometimes on different sub-genres, artists, locations and fandom groups to see how different nations are networked with their pop culture.

I will also be focusing on social media platforms and how they are used by fans to connect with their favorite Asian pop artists. This will be interesting to explore in terms of different artists and locations – for instance, which sites are used mostly by fans in which area, and why this may be.

Examples of mainstream Asian artists I will focus on can be Japanese model and singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu; Korean singer PSY; Korean boyband Super Junior; and others that are classed in the same genre.

All of these artists have a huge following both in their hometowns and around the world, and it will be interesting to explore these and the way they interact with fans.

I’d love to see how fans in Western locations like the ones of the music I usually listen to compare to those in different Asian countries – are we using the same social media to connect with our favourite artists?

Although I haven’t chosen a particular country or region to focus on, I think my research project will cover a lot of ground and it gives me the freedom to explore so many different sub-genres of mainstream Asian music.

Thanks for reading. Kop khun ka!