As K-pop has gained global popularity, there has been a significant increase in the use of English within song lyrics.
According to senior researcher Kim Jin-woo from CIRCLE CHART on the 31st, English constituted 41.3% of the lyrics in the top 400 digital charting girl group songs in the first half of this year. This marks an 18.9 percentage point rise from the same period in 2018.
Breaking down the data by group, (girls) children's had 53.6% English lyrics, LE SSERAFIM had 50.6%, Blackpink 50%, NMIXX 49.3%, and Newjeans 48.4%. In contrast, girl group IVE had a lower proportion of English lyrics at 24.9%, mainly utilizing words such as "I," "You," "Like," and "Love."
Researcher Kim highlighted, "Following the global success of BLACKPINK, the domestic girl group market has expanded internationally, leading to an increased use of English in lyrics." He added, "The greater the international audience, the higher the prevalence of English in songs."
Analysis suggests that the relatively increased tolerance for English in the domestic consumer market has contributed to this uptrend in English usage.
Popular music critic Kang Tae-kyu commented, "The MZ generation shows no resistance to English lyrics, and this inclination is evident in the current music charts." He added, "There is no necessity to confine lyrics solely to Korean."
In the case of boy groups, the percentage of English lyrics stood at 24.3% in the first half of this year, a 5.6 percentage point increase from the same period in 2018.
While boy groups have also upped the use of English in their lyrics, their growth rate in this aspect is relatively lower compared to girl groups.
Researcher Kim analyzed, "Girl groups are not only targeting dedicated fanbases but also aiming for a wider global audience, distinguishing them from male idols primarily focused on fandom."
The survey indicated an increase in the number of contributors to K-pop song production. It is believed that the involvement of idol members in writing and composing songs, along with the influence of overseas composers in the K-pop market, has played a significant role in this trend.
The number of contributors involved in producing a single K-pop song in the first half of this year increased by 1, 1.4, and 0.5, respectively, in comparison to the same period in 2018.
The survey encompassed idol songs (including units and individual activities) in the top 400 digital charts based on CIRCLE CHART. In the first half of 2018, it involved 38 girl groups and 76 boy groups; by the first half of 2023, this increased to 63 girl groups and 24 boy groups. Songs entirely in English were excluded from the survey.
The Impact of Globalization on K-Pop Lyrics and Market Trends
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