it's got a good ringtone and you can dance to it
August 24, 2009 8:49 PM   Subscribe

Korean cell phone ads blur the line between music videos and ads. "Lollipop" from popular idol group Big Bang and newcomers 2NE1 was created to advertise LG cell phones and topped various Korean music charts in the process, even while government-owned broadcaster KBS refused to feature the song in its music countdown show because it was a jingle and not an actual single or album release. "Amoled", from Son Dambi and After School, was created to advertise Samsung's Amoled touchscreen phone.

Samsung has a long-running series of long-form music videos for their Anycall brand phones: Anymotion, Anyclub, Anystar. all featuring Lee Hyori. In 2007, Samsung formed a group called Anyband, composed of BoA, Xiah Junsu of TVXQ, Tablo from Epik High, and jazz pianist Jin Bora, which yielded several concerts and this long-form music video.

Cyon, LG's Korean mobile phone brand, got in the act with the aforementioned "Lollipop" and Oz Generation campaign featuring Clazziquai's "Wizard of OZ" (coincidentally, the English-language version of the song was used in Korea to promote Japanese animated film Summer Wars, which features an online virtual world called Oz).

Bonus: ad from Anycall's latest line, Magic Hole, with the unforgettable catchphrase "Anycall? Magic Hole!"
posted by needled (31 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
That song is hell personified. There's something very wrong with this world.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:54 PM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

If anyone asks me about how living in South Korea was, I will now point them to this post and say nothing more.

More funny stuff about South Korean blurry consumerism follows...!

Peppero day! It's like Valentine's day, except developed by the Lotte corporation to sell buckets of tasty chocolate covered crackers known as Peppero. And it works, too. Half of the year's Peppero sales are on Peppero day. On Peppero Day you'll see tons of people walking around with huge love-hearts made out of boxes of Peppero, covered in tinsel and rhinestones and fabric. My students seemed to hate it. I would ask them if they had a good Peppero Day and they would sneer at me like I had just asked them if they had ever gone to the moon. "We don't have boyfriends!" they'd chide, as if that explained it. (This was also their general reaction to me asking it they liked Christmas.)

Contrived pop stars! Check out this Wondergirls video whose thesis is--as far as I can tell--that the Wondergirls are literal stand ins for their writer/producer/record company owner JYP.

Contrived pop stars! On reality TV! Married! Or not married. Who knows.

And then there is White Day and Black Day and Green Day and a Day for the 14th of every single month where you should buy your significant other stuff from the department store to show them your love. And Christmas, too, seemed to be basically a big day to buy stuff and go on dates.

And my students loved Big Bang. Whenever I needed to get their attention I would just say Big Bang! and they would start screaming. I taught at an all girls middle school, though, which might explain some things.

My impression is of course inevitably distorted by the fact that I was a foreigner with the vocabulary of a twelve-day old who's been dropped on his head a couple times. Entirely likely that I only saw South Korean culture as some commercialized hyper-materialistic superficial mess only because that's all I could see, unable as I was to make real friendships and have real conversations beyond telling people how old I was and how much I liked kim chi.
posted by festivemanb at 9:50 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Musicians have been doing jingles for as long as there were audio ads, so really, the only news here is that this particular group of musicians is trying to pass their work as chartable.

I'm not particularly worried. In order to be a musician, you have to have at least some measure of ego to consider your stuff worth listening to. Add to that the fact that any artist is putting part of who they are into their work, and that their work will often be the only thing the public will really have to gauge who they are, and it's unlikely that this is a trend that will continue.

Related, but not specifically (because they don't explicitly sing about a product), there are the musicians who make music for movies or TV shows, and some that even (jump)started their careers that way (Imogen Heap and Greg Laswell come to mind). Those artists are no less legitimate because they were commissioned.
posted by spiderskull at 9:52 PM on August 24, 2009

"it's unlikely that this is a trend that will continue." -- on second thought, I take that back. I mean to say it's unlikely that this is something that will become the norm.
posted by spiderskull at 9:53 PM on August 24, 2009

Anyone remember Crazy Frog?

posted by Askiba at 10:04 PM on August 24, 2009

Well, I can't say I blame them. There was a thread earlier today where music "fans" were advocating musicians getting day jobs to support the audience's music-stealing habit. Who could blame musicians for focusing on the audience that actually thinks their work is worth paying for?
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:33 PM on August 24, 2009

Ween tried this... I'm sure it would have been a big hit if Pizza Hut had decided to use it... NSFW version. The video is not Ween-related, I think.
posted by Huck500 at 10:41 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is nothing new - didn't the Rolling Stones make the song "Start Me Up" for a Microsoft commercial? (and if not, why DID they make that song?)
posted by wendell at 11:35 PM on August 24, 2009

get used to it, it'll be here next.

posted by MrTenacious at 11:58 PM on August 24, 2009

What little teaching I still do here in Korea has for many years been with adults only, mostly men, mostly engineers and researchers, mostly in their 40s or older. One of the things I pride myself on is being able to explain context, historical or linguistic, when they ask me questions about the Way Things Are Abroad, being able to help them see how the pieces fit together to go some way to explaining aspects of society and culture that seem odd or alien to them. I enjoy it immensely, and it has spurred me on to a do a lot of learning of my own over the years, trying to understand why we western types actually tend to do and believe the things we do.

A week or two ago, I referred to something as 'cool' -- I think it was the design of a car -- and one of the older guys stopped me and asked me what I meant, exactly. Did it mean the same as 'hot'? Doesn't 'cool' used in a metaphorical way usually have a negative feeling to it?

For literally the next hour or so, we circled around the concept, trying to get a handle on it, and the half-dozen guys in the class were really having a lot of trouble, as was I. Admittedly, these are married men working for giant manufacturing company, technical types. But still, they were scratching their heads at almost any example I tried to throw at them. It was one of the first times in all these years that I really felt like I might not be able to help them wrap their heads around an unfamiliar idea.

I only mention this here because I do love Korea and have a huge soft spot for Korean people (I'd have to after more than a decade here), but there isn't a lot of cool here, at least in the way that I understand the word.

One of my many theories is that we've only been looking at 20 years or so since democracy and capitalism grasped hands and started leading South Korea into a new era, and the changes during that time have been breathtaking. I don't think there's been time, really, for there to be much of the kind of backlash and countercultural impetus that inspired the youthful rebelliousness and disenchantment with middle class existence that in turn fueled the whole James Dean and Brando, rock-and-roll and sexual liberation, drugs and peace and love, beatniks and hippies and bikers and... well, all the swirling nexus of stuff from which the concepts of 'cool' kind of emerged in the middle of the last century. There just hasn't been enough time, not enough generations. These guys in their 40s that I teach, most of them grew up in poverty in the 70s with a military dictatorship that most people perceived as benevolent, because it brought the country out of post-war decades of poverty, and 'to hell with democracy until we've got food on the table', basically. Park Chung Hee, the military dictator who ruled for 18 years until his assassination in 1979, is still regularly voted the greatest president of Korea in open polls, with the Kim Dae Jung, the just-deceased fighter-for-democracy that Park tried to have murdered by the KCIA coming in second. The point being that the current generation was much more about getting the government-provided concrete to put in a village road when they were growing up in the 70's than they were about the music or the fashion or any kind of youthful rebellion. Most just never really learned the ways of it.

And now that there is a burgeoning middle class and much more of the urban population, at least, is quite comfortable, relative to the bad old days and the old folks stuck in the villages, we have basically the first generation of kids (children up to university students, say) without much in the way of privation (leaving the education system aside). They are embracing all the flashy, trashy, disposable fruit of the poptrash efflorescence with their whole hearts. Disillusionment will ensue, of course, and the art and music scene in Korea will in the 10 years or so start to become much more interesting, I suspect.

I don't know. I've said it badly and missed a whole lot, but chasing down the oddest little blank spots of cultural difference open up whole networks of connections. I find it endlessly fascinating.

So, anyway, I kind of hate music like this (just as much as I hate Celine Dion or Britney Spears or whatever boy band is the flavour of the moment), and bemoan the fact that, at least where I live in the boonies, there doesn't seem to be much else, and the riotous dirty grasping splendour of commercialism in Korea does make me a little dizzy and nauseous, but: I do have some glimmers of understanding as to why it is the way it is, and so I find it hard to look down on it. The beauty of life in Korea, and one reason I am still here after all this time, is that you don't have to wait long for things to change. It's never boring.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:29 AM on August 25, 2009 [15 favorites]

This is nothing new - didn't the Rolling Stones make the song "Start Me Up" for a Microsoft commercial? (and if not, why DID they make that song?)

'Cos they were trying to find some filler for their 1981 tour?
posted by awfurby at 12:29 AM on August 25, 2009

My Korean students and co-workers don't understand how I can come to school without my "hand-phone." They aren't even surprised as much as there's a rip in the logic/cognitive order for Koreans as to how a human being could leave their home without their phone, let alone make it through an entire work day. (Some of my Korean students are six years old, Western age, and their minds are blown.)

I'm always curious to ask older Koreans what life was like before everyone had hand-phones, from the youngest child to the most ornery old woman collecting bottles for spare change at night.
posted by bardic at 12:39 AM on August 25, 2009

Don't music videos in the US already have lingering shots of singers texting on phones so that the Nokia logo is right smack dab in the middle of the screen. I also recall Lady Gaga having the logo of an online poker room visible in her video for Pokerface and I think Christina Aguilera had Campari featured prominently in a video of hers (the one set in the WWII USO concert).
posted by PenDevil at 12:56 AM on August 25, 2009

These guys in their 40s that I teach, most of them grew up in poverty in the 70s with a military dictatorship that most people perceived as benevolent, because it brought the country out of post-war decades of poverty, and 'to hell with democracy until we've got food on the table', basically.

Just last week, I watched two versions of a Korean film called The Last Witness (Heugsuseon) back to back. The first was made in 1980, the remake, just 21 years later in 2001.

Watching the two films back to back really brought home the extent of Korea's economic miracle over that period. In 1980, the homicide detective is using public transport to travel around the country and although you can see the skyscrapers starting to appear, everyone lives in those awful shacks (except the very wealthy -- of whom there are few).

Twenty one years later, the country seems indistinguishable from a modern western economy. I couldn't help but wonder what it must be like to live through such rapid social and economic change.

Incidentally, what's the deal with all those boiled eggs? Koreans sure seem to love a boiled egg in a way that appears almost indecent to me.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:12 AM on August 25, 2009

Stavros, not to nitpick, but while your anecdote with the older gentlemen was a good opening, I don't think a lot of the younger generations have a hard time grasping what the English slang and nuances behind "cool" and "hot." In fact, they understand it enough that a comedy duo does a whole shtick revolving around the English phrase "That's very hot."

Which brings me to say, while I see where you're going and concede the democracy and such are all new, I think your whole argument hinges on the very subjective. One country's flashy trashy disposable fruit is another country's...well, flashy trashy disposable fruit.

As someone who's straddled both sides of the culture, sometimes some things Korean *does* strike me as very...I don't know, lame I guess? While I used to think it was because it was particularly lame, nowadays I've come more to the conclusion that it's based on my own personal likes/dislikes. For example, I don't particularly like Korean sketch comedy. Since I was little. Even now, watching an episode of the Korean SNL-esque "Oot-Chat-Sah" is an exercise in agony. The above-mentioned "That's very hot" sketch? It strikes me as juvenile wordplay and attempts at innuendo and I always feel like there's a slightly homophobic. But I recognize that's the American, or at least not Korean side of my brain thinking. The Korean side of brain sneered at the film major freshmen who cooed about how much "Cinema Paradiso" changed their lives after watching it the first when in Korea that, as well as other "foreign" films are played as regular fare and nothing special. I mean Cinema Paradiso plays on TV like all the time.

I tried to introduce Monty Python to my Korean friends before with no luck, or explain even something of SNL. I bet I'd bore some of them if I showed them The IT Crowd. Yet my Korean cousin used to love coming over to our house to watch "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Ally McBeal"* even though she only understood every third word. So go figure.

Sometimes things on TV and such can look monolithic. I see it all the time on the Korean boards. America=Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt and Will Smith. I've sat at the exact opposite side of the table on this conversation before, talking about American bands and music that wasn't NSYNC to my Korean friends. Will it become richer in the next 10 years? I don't know, is richer really the word to use here? I can see the exact same thing being said about American pop culture. Pop culture is what you make of it and enrichment is what any one person wants to get out of it personal. It's popular culture for a reason. Popular in a monolithic sense. While dance groups reined on TV, I fell asleep listening to my favorite late-night Korean radio program that played bands from all over the world that I'd never heard of on the AFKN, since I guess when you gotta cater to a bunch of soldiers from all over the US, top 40 is the best you can do 90% of the time. Lee Juk and his group Panic in the 90s was what I was drawn to, different from what usually blared from storefront stereos (even though "Snail" charted pretty well). And I always dug what Crying Nut was doing. I mean, it's understandable, a country's pop culture is hard to get over the screaming of teenage girls. Whether it's screaming over DBSK or the Jonas Bros.

*(Yea, it's weird when you're college-aged cousin looks to high school you and asks "Why are those guys chanting 'penis'" during an episode of Ally McBeal. She only had understood the word "penis," and nothing else in the entire scene. It was already awkward because I was just "too cool" to be watching Ally McBeal with my indie-alterna 90s Daria-watching teen self, so I was already putting on my best "ugh, this is so lame it's making me physically uncomfortable" attitude. This just sealed the uncomfortableness.)
posted by kkokkodalk at 1:19 AM on August 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Incidentally, what's the deal with all those boiled eggs? Koreans sure seem to love a boiled egg in a way that appears almost indecent to me.

Hmm. I don't know -- I've never really noticed, other than that you can get them at street food stalls and stuff, and a half-slice of one goes in nengmyun. But then I am also a fan of the boiled egg, so maybe that's selective blindness there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:19 AM on August 25, 2009

I don't think a lot of the younger generations have a hard time grasping what the English slang and nuances behind "cool" and "hot."

Well, fair enough, but I wasn't talking about the younger generation in the first part of my excessively long comment, there. I stand by what I said (as long as it's understood that it's a gross generalization) when we're talking older folks -- my feeling is that even if there is an academic understanding of what is meant, it's simply not the same as the one I might have. Which is fine, and natural, if I'm anything like right about the historical story.

One country's flashy trashy disposable fruit is another country's...well, flashy trashy disposable fruit.

Oh, I wasn't trying to say that the poptrash here is any 'worse' that it is anywhere else. My god, when I see some of the television coming out of America or the UK these days, particularly the reality TV, I am appalled in ways that are hard for me to articulate without a spontaneous nosebleed. I tried to make that clear in mentioning Celine Dion et al. What I was thinking more was of the lack of an alternative here (not complete lack, I know, and I tried to gesture that way as well). There is no lack of alternative writing, music, art, cinema, whatever in the west, and it comes out of those generations of time that allowed those kinds of thing to gestate, and established communities around them. In Korea, at least outside of Seoul: not so much, yet.

But for reasons I outlined (which again, may be wrong -- just spitballing, as always) when we're talking the younger generation here, my thesis is that they may absolutely say that Shitty Pop Singer X is 'cooooool' and 'goooood' while Shitty Pop Singer Y isn't, but that the ways in which they use that word, even if they're using it 'correctly' (in terms of being congruent with the ways westerners might unironically use it (and don't even get me started on irony)), the way they tend to conceptualize it is different. That 'cool' (again, generalizing, because what else are you going to do) can be and almost always is something that is popular or fashionable, independent of any aspect of fringey-ness that (I reckon) the word is imbued with in the western lexicon. Regardless of how transparently manipulative and corporate it may be.

(Hell, I could have argued the group-focused as opposed to individual-focused way of things, springing from the 6 Confucian Relationships that guide so much of the way things go here, makes it more likely that the young'uns will swallow any old crap the corporations will tell them to, and that without groups of peers and a history of counterculture to join, there's no traction, but I left it out because that's a larger claim than I really want to defend at the moment.)

So I was actually talking about two different phenomena at the beginning and end of my (admittedly, talking out my ass, as I invariably end) post.

Now, of course, the other thing that could be argued is that I'm just talking about 'kids these days' and being an old fart and shouting get off my lawn and all that, because it is abundantly evident that young people in America or Canada or Britain also sometimes call things 'cool' that are quite clearly not. Sure, that's probably true. Maybe I'm just being unreasonably restrictive in my understanding of the word, or trying to justify my own tastes while poo-pooing those of others. Possibly.

Fair enough, though. My larger point is that the differences in things are often more interesting and lead to clearer understandings (even if complex and shades-of-grey ones) than similarities, I guess. And that, you know, things have roots.

Anyway, kkokkodalk, I do see your points, and I always defer to the truly bilingual and bicultural on things like this. I'm just trying like I always do to find patterns and try to explain things, to myself at least, without falling back on the perennial lazy-foreigner-in-Korea throwing up of hands in confusion.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:47 AM on August 25, 2009

Oh, and needled, it always seems like I come barrelling in to pee all over your Korean pop-music posts, and I really don't mean to do that. This was, as always, an excellent post, and I thank you for making it!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:54 AM on August 25, 2009

I'm always curious to ask older Koreans what life was like before everyone had hand-phones, from the youngest child to the most ornery old woman collecting bottles for spare change at night.

Heh. I remember that. In '96 when I got here, literally everyone had 'bipis' -- beepers. You'd get a beep, and run to the nearest phone -- that was when there were payphones everywhere on the streets, too. Cellphones were rare, and people who had them were kind of looked at the way that folks with cells in America or Canada were until only a few years ago -- as a little ostentatious and vulgar.

Like I said, things change fast here!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:02 AM on August 25, 2009

This video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions.

nice linkage, buddy.
posted by krautland at 4:02 AM on August 25, 2009

I hope that thirty years from now, someone packages these all up and puts out Popshopping: South Korea. Of course, there won't be any such thing as CDs by then, but that's a minor detail.
posted by chrominance at 4:34 AM on August 25, 2009

> This video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions.

Sorry about that. Alternate link to "Amoled" (can also be viewed from Samsung's Amoled site, warning, autoplay music). "Lollipop" as well as most of the other links in the post can also be found on Dailymotion.
posted by needled at 4:43 AM on August 25, 2009


Thank you.
posted by kalessin at 4:58 AM on August 25, 2009

Not entirely sure what the big scandal is. Pop music group makes a song (which incidentally, is for a commercial). Song is very popular, gets played on the radio, and makes the charts. Isn't that the way it's supposed to go? They made a song. People liked it. Why do I care who payed for it?

I love Big Bang and 2NE1, although I loathe the song Lollipop. I hated it before I knew it was for LG.
posted by specialagentwebb at 6:31 AM on August 25, 2009

Err, that wasn't supposed to come across as "why should I care about this post", but rather as "I disagree with KBS on this point." It's a very interesting post, and I quite enjoy the discussions that stavros has brought up. Also, this reminds me that I should listen to SS501 some more.
posted by specialagentwebb at 6:33 AM on August 25, 2009

L. T. Smash: It's a three-pronged attack. Sub-liminal, liminal and super-liminal.
Lisa: Superliminal?
L. T. Smash: I'll show you. (Leans out of window) Hey, you! Join the Navy!
Carl: Uh, yeah, all right.
Lenny: I'm in.

United States videos: subliminal
Korean videos: superliminal

Coke DJ Culture might be Germany's answer to the Korean cellphone videos, complete with songs by popular artists (also available on CD and 12")
posted by filthy light thief at 8:47 AM on August 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Is this the same LG company whose logo, for no apparent reason, 'decorates' the science-fiction landscapes created by the main character in Kar Wai Wong's 2046?
posted by blogenstock at 10:26 AM on August 25, 2009

It's this LG.
posted by needled at 1:58 PM on August 25, 2009

I was going to post a similar, but less cogent post along the lines of what Stavros already wrote.

*Prepost edit. Looks like I did end up writing a similar, but less cogent post anyways.

I'm currently teaching in Bangkok which is in the midst of a K-pop renaissance. (maybe just a naissance?) Thailand is still a few years away from producing export-quality shitty pop music, and they seem to be over Japanese or American music for the time being. I've also taught at an all girl's Middle/High School/Tech College and my observations are pretty much in line with those posted above.

One thing I will say, and I know this is incredibly ethnocentric, is that Asian countries just don't seem to be able to produce a real authentic cool youth culture. The whole fixed gear trend has finally made it over to Thailand and it's emerged in such a halfhearted, inorganic, contrived manner that it's made me look at the rest of Thai trends. (Obvious opening to say that the same is true in the US/Europe. Also, one might note that Japan was instrumental in the trend. Trust me, things are even sillier here.)

It's interesting with semi emerging/nascent commercial societies like Korea and Thailand. They lack a lot of ingredients we'd consider necessary for any "real" cool culture to emerge. I know this sounds shallow, but they don't have enough consumer history to really play off of past trends. One generation ago, Thais were dressing only for subsistence. It's not as though young Thais can go down to the nearest Good Will and re-contextualize their grandparents clothes. Regarding the fixed gear bikes, Thailand has no supply of old 1970s/1980s road bikes to convert. All the decent bikes frames must be imported brand new. So you have a huge group of teenagers/20-somethings who want to emulate American fashion but have to buy brand new clothes and brand new bikes in order to copy an already faux vintage aesthetic. Real cool is always created at the fringes, then co-modified by the center/masses. In Thailand, almost anything that is cool is imported by giant corporation so it comes predigested and prosaic.

Also, by the time western fashions make it over here, there is a sense of distortion kind of like what you might see in that game "telephone/Chinese Whispers". The trends that started off in the West, end up just a little too over the top and a little too exaggerated. Jeans end up with a few more logos, or more zippers or more rips/tears. People end up walking around in caricatures of the original style.

I wanted my main point to be about music, but I got sidetracked. I've met a few musicians and I've asked them where the "cool" bars are. Where can I go to listen to new music and meet the creative types? They've ALL said the same thing. They claim that the only way to make a name for yourself in the local music scene is start off as a cover band then slowly introduce one or two new songs after a few years. Music videos are required to have product placement. One young musician I spoke with was openly told that he would get a music video made, but only if was willing to allot something like 20-30% of the running time to blatant cell phone advertising.

Finally, most Asian cities I've been to have nothing I'd consider public space. All the big events here are organized in super malls. You don't see music festivals over here unless they're the Pepsi-LG-Siam Paragon Mall tour. And the festivals aren't really festivals so much as they are a chance to parade this month's line up of Boy Bands. Even the "cool" coffee shops over here are literally owned by corporations such as Honda or True, which is cable/cell phone/internet corporation.

I just don't see an outlet for any kind of spontaneous generation of "cool" here. Yes you can find well designed phones and gadget, and yes you can find cheap consumer knock off, but I don't see anything new being created.

It's easy to make fun of Williamsburg hipsters, but they are creating new trends that are being copied all over the world. I can't imagine the same happening over here in Thailand. Cool is too much of a top-down concept here.

I guess Japan has been industrialized for long enough that you do see an interesting youth culture there. Even so, very little produced in Japan is actually seen as cool abroad. Most of it is seen as completely bizarre by international standards.
posted by Telf at 11:41 PM on August 25, 2009

Telf: Nichkhun, Thai member of Korean boy band 2PM, in the Tourism Authority of Thailand's promotional music video.
posted by needled at 7:46 AM on August 26, 2009

I wanted my main point to be about music, but I got sidetracked. I've met a few musicians and I've asked them where the "cool" bars are.

I thought Parking Toys in Bangkok was pretty cool, despite the preponderance of cover versions. I only went there the one night, but I was very impressed by how good the bands were. I could totally see something coming out of there that was a bit different and 'cool'. Don't forget that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones started out as cover bands.

I guess Japan has been industrialized for long enough that you do see an interesting youth culture there. Even so, very little produced in Japan is actually seen as cool abroad. Most of it is seen as completely bizarre by international standards.

I've always felt that this is more a function of the language barrier than general weirdness. Even in the days of the internet it's hard to get news about a niche scene in a foreign country if you don't understand the language. Cool things are happening in Japan, really interesting things, but the artists aren't doing it for you, they're doing it for themselves. Cool things are happening in Beijing as well. But in the West we're (mostly) not going to hear about it, unless we read Chinese.

As to how young people in Thailand, Japan, Korea, wherever perceive Western fashion/music/trends - well for them they are receiving it as a single point of entry - it's ALL from the West and it's ALL different. So they may not be able to pick up on the differences that to us are fairly obvious - Band A is a tool of the marketers and Band B are forging their own unique non-commercial path. To them it's just two bands from the West, one of whom seems to get a hell of a lot more coverage than the other. Which one do you think is cool?

And who cares anyway? I used to rage at this all the time living in Japan, and again living in Hong Kong, and really it's stupid. Yes the commercial pop scene in Japan and Hong Kong is pretty shit, but it's no worse than the commercial pop scene in Australia or the UK or the US. Some kids will just like what they're told to like, and some will make their own fun, same as back home.
posted by awfurby at 2:09 AM on August 31, 2009

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