Catching the Korean Wave: Music Creativity and Cultural Difference

Luisa Rolander

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger


Korean popular music has received increasing attention on Western markets in recent years. The Hallyu wave or Korean wave, which refers to an increasing interest in South Korean pop culture, is quickly becoming a global phenomenon, attracting fans and collaborators from all over the world. However, a closer look at Korean and European music industry show fundamental differences both regarding consumer behavior and the creative processes, which will naturally affect an artist’s ability to navigate international markets. The aim in this thesis was therefore to explore these cultural differences and the opportunities and challenges they may bring by performing a comparative study of the Korean music industry, and the Danish music industry as a representation of Europe. The thesis’ theoretical framework included tools for analyzing the properties of creative industries and their ability to foster creativity through networks and manage complex tasks and heightened market uncertainty. Furthermore, it included theory on consumer behavior and experience goods, as well as fan communities and national cultural dimensions. Primary data was collected through in-depth interviews with industry professionals and music consumers in Denmark and Korea. The findings implied contrasting industry structures, showing that Korean music companies tend to internalize operations, while Danish music companies rely on an external network. Moreover, these contrasts continued to show throughout the creative processes. Additionally, vast differences were also found regarding consumer behavior. It was discovered that Korean consumers value loyalty and community and has focus on the artist, while Danish consumers value individuality and personal preference and is more focused on music as a stand-alone product. These findings resulted in a discussion of a Korean artist’s likely challenges on international markets, mentioning both crosscultural songwriting and collaborations, as well as difficulties in reaching consumers of multiple cultures.
Furthermore, the case of an internationally successful K-Pop group was introduced to demonstrate the possibilities. This included companies taking advantage of cross-cultural knowledge sharing, in order to shape the creative processes and create unique, cultural hybrids that can help reach international markets. Furthermore, it also involved fostering loyal, online fan communities that will help lift the artist’s career and spread international awareness.

UddannelserCand.soc.cbp Management of Creative Business Processes , (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
Antal sider86
VejledereTore Kristensen