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[MUSIC] Can Asian Pop Make It in the United States?

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  • madchinaman
    Can Asian pop make it in U.S.? December 6, 2004 PR Web http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=comment&id=687 Asian pop music is crossing international boundries
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 8, 2004
      Can Asian pop make it in U.S.?
      December 6, 2004
      PR Web

      Asian pop music is crossing international boundries within Asia but
      has yet to make a ripple on the U.S. music scene. That may be about
      to change, though.

      Forget your preconceptions of Asian pop music. Today's artists are
      blending Western styles with Asian sensibilities and spawning whole
      new genres. A few have forged inroads into the U.S. market but some
      of the biggest stars in Asia are poised for a full-on attack to win
      American ears. Will this be an Asian invasion rivaling the British
      invasion of the 1960s?

      "It will be more like a foothold than an invasion," according to
      Rhys Ludlow, founder of Pop Goes Asia, a pan-Asian Internet radio
      station. "But it is only a matter of time before an Asian pop star
      strikes gold here in the U.S."

      "Thanks to the Internet, the world is shrinking and musical borders
      are disappearing," says Ludlow. "In Asia, musical exchange among
      countries is common. For example, Korean teen phenom Boa Kwon often
      holds the top position on the Japanese pop (J-pop) chart. Japanese
      superstar Ayumi Hamasaki is commonly heard in Hong Kong, and
      Taiwanese radio will feature songs in Japanese, Korean, Mandarin,
      Cantonese and English."

      While radio stations across Asia play English-language artists
      alongside Asian hits, there is almost no reciprocation in the
      States. It isn't for a lack of good music. When you consider that
      Southeast and Eastern Asia, have nearly a third of the world's
      population, and the Japanese music market alone is 1/3 the size of
      the U.S. market, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty
      of artists that know how to craft a good pop tune.

      That said, Asian pop can take some getting used to. Female J-pop
      singers often strike American ears as overly shrill and frenetic,
      while Chinese ballads seem like a throwback to an earlier, more
      innocent era — but with modern stylings. "I happen to think love
      songs are better when you don't understand the words," jokes Ludlow,
      who is himself an American Caucasian. "Songs that I didn't like when
      I first discovered Asian pop are now among my favorites — I've
      undergone a shift in my taste. It reminds me of the punk songs that
      once sounded harsh and now seem tame."

      But will it ever play in Peoria? "It is happening more and more."
      Many American kids already know some Asian pop hits through video
      games and anime. They may not be able to name the artists, but they
      certainly know the songs (at least the English translations). This
      year, Japan's top R&B singer, Hikaru Utada, released her U.S. debut
      album on Island/Def Jam records, and her song "Devil Inside" reached
      No. 2 on the Billboard dance chart.

      The Cartoon Network has created a new prime-time series based on
      Japan's best selling pop duo, Puffy Amiyumi. Meanwhile, Chinese
      artists have been selling out arenas in Las Vegas and San Francisco,
      albeit to predominantly Chinese-American crowds.

      But the Internet is where the curious listener goes to proactively
      explore Asian music. Asian music has become a genre on the internet,
      along with its sub genres, J-pop, C-pop, K-pop and T-pop — Japanese,
      Chinese, Korean and Thai pop, respectively. In reality, these aren't
      genres, but rather geographic and linguistic divisions. All
      countries produce their own take on pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop and
      dance music. There are even Chinese songs that fit the American
      country-music format.
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