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Title [CICI Korea] 'Idol' underplays K-pop artistry: music industry expert [Korea Times 2020-01-15]
Posted by webmaster Hit 3027 Date 2020.01.20

K-pop columnist Jeff Benjamin speaks during a media conference for winners of the Korea Image Awards at Samsung-dong, southern Seoul, Tuesday. Yonhap

K-pop columnist Jeff Benjamin speaks during a media conference for winners of the Korea Image Awards at Samsung-dong, southern Seoul, Tuesday. 


K-pop columnist Jeff Benjamin, who writes for Billboard and Forbes, wants media outlets to stop calling K-pop stars "idols" because the term "de-emphasizes" their artistry.

"Many artists in Korea are referred to as an 'idol,' but I think that word doesn't emphasize that there's art, creative merit or artists' leadership in their work," the New York-based journalist said Tuesday.

Benjamin shared his views on K-pop during a media conference for winners of the Korea Image Awards at Samsung-dong, Seoul. The Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI) awards recognize people who promote and spread a positive image of Korea abroad.

He suggested the media should pay attention to K-pop artists' thoughts and true self expressed through their work.

"If we dive deeper into something that connects fans and artists ... and shows the artists in different lights, it's going to create a bond not only between them but also with media readers," Benjamin said.

"These days, especially in America, K-pop is very hot in the media but I don't see a lot of people giving the same respect as they would give to other music genres."

Benjamin has had a keen interest in K-pop artists since the beginning of the 2010s and has become one of the expert critics in the industry.


K-pop columnist Jeff Benjamin speaks during a media conference for winners of the Korea Image Awards at Samsung-dong, southern Seoul, Tuesday. Yonhap

Awardee Jeff Benjamin and CICI President Choi Jung-wha with The Korea Image Stepping Stone Bridge Award.


The columnist attributed the growing success of K-pop in the Western market on the uniqueness of the artists and their messages.

"Language is becoming less important to people around the world, especially to the younger generation," he said. "It's certainly becoming more about the artists and what their message or talent is."

Benjamin said the "K" has become less emphasized to put more focus on the artists themselves and what they can bring out on stage. "Especially how young people are with music these days, it's going to be really exciting to see how Korean music will grow and how the artists will express their identities in the future."

He raised BTS's 2018 song "IDOL" as an example and mentioned Korean traditional instruments and "hanbok" (traditional) outfits in the group's performances. "There were parts of their identity and culture in that song … The biggest change (in the industry) is embracing identity and to be more forward about that," Benjamin said.

Noting that the strength of the industry is in its marketing tactics, the journalist said K-pop has a great music scene for "the digital age."

"K-pop makes a moment out of everything, whether it is a release schedule with teasers of music videos and albums," Benjamin said. "It keeps people hooked. K-pop, which moves so quickly and is digitally focused, aligns with the current pattern of how distracted people are these days."

When asked which K-pop groups catch his eye, he named ATEEZ and (G)I-DLE, pointing out their strong messages and performances of self-written and produced music. "I think it's important to express themselves this way."

No. Title Posted by Date Hit
674 [CICI Korea] K-pop columnist Jeff Benjamin, jazz vocalist Nah Youn-sun honored with 2020 Korea Image Awards (video) [Arirang 2020-01-15] webmaster 2020.01.20 1345
673 [CICI Korea] Jazz singer, K-pop writer, SK Telecom win Korea Image Awards [PHOTOS] webmaster 2020.01.20 5166
» [CICI Korea] 'Idol' underplays K-pop artistry: music industry expert [Korea Times 2020-01-15] webmaster 2020.01.20 3027
671 [CICI Korea] What makes Nah Youn-sun most acclaimed Korean jazz singer [Korea Times 2020-01-15] webmaster 2020.01.20 1303
670 [CICI Korea] K-Pop Missionary Benjamin “BTS's New Song, Billboard Top 5” [Hankook Ilbo 2020-01-14] webmaster 2020.01.17 1332
669 [CICI Korea] Jeff Benjamin Received Image Award, "The World Is More Exciting With K-Pop" [Maeil Business Newspaper 2020-01-14] webmaster 2020.01.17 1271
668 [CICI Korea] "Jazz is a mix of pop song and Korean classical" [The Seoul Economic Daily 2020-01-14] webmaster 2020.01.17 1299
667 [CICI Korea] CICI recognizes SK Telecom, K-pop writer Benjamin, jazz singer Nah for contribution to Korea's image [The Korea Herald 2020-01-14] webmaster 2020.01.17 1748
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659 [CICI Korea] 2020 Korea Image Awards go to SKT, pop columnist and jazz singer [The Korea Times 2019-12-16] webmaster 2019.12.16 1593
658 [CICI Korea] Park Jung-ho·Na Yoon-sun recieve Korea Image Award [Munhwa Ilbo 2019-12-16] webmaster 2019.12.16 1407
657 [CICI Korea] 2020 Korea Image Award for CICI including SKT [Sedaily 2019-12-16] webmaster 2019.12.16 1416
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