The burdened, blank slate of K-pop in 2024

The burdened, blank slate of K-pop in 2024
A K-pop MV set remade at Hikr Ground in Seoul

Every year starts more or less the same: with a sense of hope that it'll be better than the last.

But for K-pop, 2023 left the industry in a tumultuous state, and 2024 is going to have to figure out what it all means.

A brief, very generalized reminder of where K-pop currently is:

All caught up? That was a lot, wasn't it...

As a follow up, 2024 already has been a lot, even though it's only January 24.

And a bunch of other things that I probably should be mentioning, but so much is happening all the damn time that it feels like chaos is just incarnate in the K-pop world at the moment. It's hard to keep up, and this is both my career and my life, so I can't imagine how casual fans are doing at the moment.

It's because of all of this that I've spent a lot of time thinking of 2024 as a period full of potential with room for a big, amazing year. But it's also burdened by the hangover changes of 2023.

Which is why when I was in Seoul earlier this month and visiting Hikr Ground, a sort of pop-up photo destination where you can pose within K-pop music video sets, I kept looking up at the ceiling: K-pop stereotypically, like the music videos that are so integral to them, is wrapped in a state of naked walls and ceilings, with the spotlight offering up social media perfect moments until they're not.

Last year, it feels like a lot of people, not necessarily fans but even casual audiences, began to wonder what K-pop will look like as things continue to shift the perspective, zooming out not just on the spotlight but the industry overall.

What this year will bring overall is still TBD, but I am both excited and apprehensive that K-pop in 2024 will be a bit of a follow-up to the topsy turvy of last year, settling some issues and raising new ones. We'll see how well gambles that started last year play out on this roulette table of life, and hopefully there'll be more winners than losers but... Well, let's wait and see, shall we?

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