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The Middle East is succumbing to the K-pop phenomenon

K-POP (Korean Pop) artists are breaking records and invading radio stations all over the world these days. But their interplanetary success has been built up gradually. First widespread in South Korea, where it was born, K-POP seduced Japan and Asia, before crossing the Atlantic and winning over America and Europe. Only recently has the Middle East, and more specifically Saudi Arabia, succumbed to the charm of celebrities with fashion-week worthy impeccable style and the catchy rhythms of their best hits.

An alignment of standards

If one were to remain indifferent to the musical genre that is K-POP, it would be impossible not to be drawn to the artists’ style of clothing, the stage settings, the music videos and the extremely elaborate choreography: it is a true cultural trend.

At first glance, this cultural trend has no connection with Eastern culture. But appearances are not enough! In fact, unlike Western fashions and habits, which promote relative nudity, lyrics and themes considered obscene, the world of K-POP combines a softened modernity, proudly displaying traditional Asian values : united families, modesty about love affairs and sexuality in general… Views that are in line with both cultures.

The proof also lies in the music: the latest hit pop star AleXa and Bader Al Shuaibi was a success, mixing K-POP and Khaleeji influences.

A diplomatic issue

In addition to the richness and plurality of culture that can be found thanks to this mix of styles and this openness to the world, there is a real diplomatic and societal issue at stake that stems from this new interest in the Middle East for Asia. The soft power brought about by these new trends tends to make Saudi Arabia, already known as a center of research and new technologies, and endowed with a precious heritage, a multicultural pole.

The results: a 140% increase in Spotify traffic between January 2020 and January 2021 in the Maghreb and Middle East regions for the K-POP genre!

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