SEOUL, May 21 (Korea Bizwire) — One of the headliners at the DMZ Peace Train Music Festival to be held next month at the demilitarized zone in Gangwon Province is Thai singer-songwriter Phum Viphurit.
Although some may regard this as a bold invite, a growing number of musicians from neighboring Asian countries have been holding concerts in Seoul’s Hongdae area, the cradle of the nation’s indie music movement.
Experts say that a new era of music has opened as the tight clasp of western music in the 20th and 21st centuries has loosened with Koreans becoming more in tune with music from other Asian countries.
The DMZ Peace Train Music Festival’s organizing committee announced the lineup for the upcoming concert, including Phum and the Taiwanese indie band No Party for Cao Dong.
Although Phum is relatively new on the music scene, having made his debut in February of last year, both of his concerts held in Korea this year were sold out.
His earlier music videos, “Long Gone” and “Lover Boy”, created a wave of sensation on social media sites.
Meanwhile, No Party for Cao Dong is a four-man band composed of friends who grew up on the streets of Chao Dong in Taipei, Taiwan.
The Taiwanese band took home three awards from six nominations at the Golden Melody Awards in 2017, including Best New Artist and Best Musical Group.
The DMZ Peace Train Music is just one example of how the movers and shakers in Korea’s entertainment industry are trying to engage more with K-wave fans from Southeast Asia after their success in the U.S., China and Japan.
SM Entertainment, earlier in the month, signed an MOU with Vietnam’s IPP (IMEX PAN PACIFIC) that would allow the former to venture into the Vietnamese market.
The MOU would make it easier for artists under SM’s management to work in Vietnam while the company tries to discover and cultivate local talent in addition to co-producing “V-content” with its local partner.
Similarly, Korean talent agency RBW established a local subsidiary in Vietnam in 2014 and co-produced a talent audition program in Vietnam and Indonesia.
The agency has signed famed local composer Chau Dang Khoa as well as Jinjoo, a Korean who recently won top prize on a popular TV program that aired on VTV, Vietnam’s public broadcaster.
Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, CJ E&M signed a partnership deal with mm2 Entertainment, a media entertainment company based in Singapore.
The two companies agreed on a slate financing deal which allows the Singaporean company to pre-invest in a series of movie productions.
According to the contract, mm2 will be investing in six movies produced within Southeast Asia by CJ E&M over the next three years.
What has spurred the increase in entertainment deals between Korean entertainment giants and local companies in Southeast Asia?
Experts say that China’s anti-Korea sentiment due to the government’s decision to deploy a THAAD missile battery was the turning point for the South Korean entertainment industry.
According to a report issues by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, sales revenue from Korean cultural content in 2017 was $6.8 billion, an increase of 14.7 percent from the year before.
Those familiar with the entertainment industry say that the surge in sales was due to content exports to countries other than China, particularly those in Europe, America, and Southeast Asia.
In addition, Southeast Asia has become an attractive market due to its large economic growth that is expected to continue well into the future.
“The third largest number of searches of K-pop on Google came from Vietnam. Southeast Asia’s culture industry is growing as fast as its economy,” said Kim Jin-wu, head of RBW, in an interview with the Korean Creative Content Agency.
H. S. Seo (firstname.lastname@example.org)