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Berklee's Professional Music Department, led by Chair Toki Wright and Interim Assistant Chair Jes Perry, provides students with an abundance of resources related to K-Pop, encompassing both academic, artistic, and career aspects. This encompasses the offering of prestigious courses and events such as "K-pop Culture and Society," 'Inside K-pop: A&R Listening Session," and "Berklee K-Pop and Beyond Event." Our commitment lies in innovation and a student-centered approach as we strive to shape the most advanced educational platform for the future leaders of the music and creative industry.

This page will continuously be updated with an extensive range of K-Pop, Hallyu (The Korean Wave), and pan-Asian media-related resources.

Stay tuned!



Many assert that modern K-pop originated in 1992 with the performance of “I Know” by Seo Taiji and Boys, a dance-oriented trio that revolutionized the Korean pop music scene, on South Korea's MBC network. While this viewpoint holds some truth, the essence of modern K-pop can actually be traced even further back to the debut of Han Myung Sook.

Her song "The Man in the Yellow Shirt" is recorded as the first original American-styled pop song and became a mega-hit in the 1960s. Ever since, K-pop has evolved into a global phenomenon that unites people from all over the world. 


Curated by students from one of Professional Music’s popular courses, PM-205: 'K-Pop: Culture and Practice,' led by Dr. Ray Seol, this playlist features the most notable K-pop tunes. It's a running list, not a final compilation, representing a collection that students are sure to enjoy.


  1. Han Myung Sook – "The Man in the Yellow Shirt" (1961): Credited as the first original American-styled pop song in Korea.

  2. Shin Joong Hyun – "Beautiful Woman" (1974): A seminal figure in Korean rock music. The song sold over 400,000 copies.

  3. Hyun Jin Young – "You in Vague Memory" (1992): Debuted in 1990. Known for introducing Korea's first generation of B-boy crews. His performances featured dancers from the Taji Boys.

  4. Seo Taiji and Boys – "I Know" (1992): The group debuted in 1992 and gained widespread popularity from a TV show, marking the rise of hip-hop in Korea.

  5. H.O.T. – "Candy" (1996): Debuted in 1996 as the first curated idol group and prototype idol group from SM Entertainment.

  6. Rain – "It’s Raining" (2004): Debuted in 1998 with JYP Entertainment. One of the first K-pop artists to perform in NYC, Rain became known as a “world star” following his concert at MSG Theater.

  7. TVXQ – "Mirotic" (2008): Debuted in 2003 with SM Entertainment. The group achieved massive popularity and had a record-breaking fandom at the time.

  8. Super Junior – "Sorry, Sorry" (2009): Debuted in 2005 with SM Entertainment. They were highly popular and pioneers in reaching out to Latin American countries, including one of the first non-Korean members, thus expanding their market.

  9. BoA – "Only One" (2012): Debuted in 2000 with SM Entertainment. A key player in market expansion in Japan, BoA had the first K-pop album to debut on the Billboard 200.

  10. Wonder Girls – "Nobody" (2008): Debuted in 2007 with JYP Entertainment. "Nobody" was the first K-pop song on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2009. They opened for the Jonas Brothers and appeared on the Wendy Williams Show.

  11. Bigbang – "Fantastic Baby" (2012): Debuted in 2006 with YG Entertainment. They won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Worldwide Act in 2011.

  12. Girls' Generation – "Gee" (2009): Debuted in 2007 with SM Entertainment, spearheading the strong emergence of girl groups.

  13. 2PM – "Hands Up" (2011): Debuted in 2008 with JYP Entertainment. Known for countering the “flower-boy” image with a more macho, rough, cool image, including non-Korean members like Thai-American Nickhun, Taecyeon, and Jay Park.

  14. 2NE1 – "I Am the Best" (2011): Debuted in 2009 with YG Entertainment. Winners of the MTV Iggy Awards – Best New Band in the World in 2011.

  15. Psy – "Gangnam Style" (2012): Debuted in 1999 with YG Entertainment. "Gangnam Style" reached 1 billion views on YouTube.

  16. Exo – "Growl" (2013): Debuted in 2011 with SM Entertainment. Known for their mysterious concept and fictional world backstory.

  17. Red Velvet – "Bad Boy" (2018): Debuted in 2014 with SM Entertainment. Achieved Billboard World Album #1 in 2017.

  18. BTS – "Boy in Luv" (2014): Debuted in 2013 with HYBE (formerly known as Big Hit Entertainment). They are game-changers with numerous accolades.

  19. Blackpink – "DDU-DU DDU-DU" (2018): Debuted in 2016 with YG Entertainment. The first K-pop girl group at Coachella and a global phenomenon. They followed the mantra 'better, stronger, faster' initiated by 2NE1.

  20. NewJeans – "Super Shy" (2023): Debuted in 2022 with HYBE. Rising global stars.

  21. SHINee - "HARD" (2023): Debuted in 2008 with SM Entertainment.




RISE: A Pop History of Asian American from the Nineties to Now by Jeff Yang, Phil Yu, Philip Wang


"RISE is a love letter to and for Asian Americans—a vivid scrapbook of voices, emotions, and memories from an era in which our culture was forged and transformed, and a way to preserve both the headlines and the intimate conversations that have shaped our community into who we are today."


©2022 Mariner Books, HarperCollins Publishers

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The Two Koreas by Don Oberdorfer and Robert Carlin

"North Korea is an impoverished, famine-ridden nation, but it is also a nuclear power whose dictator Kim Jong-un regularly threatens his neighbors and adversaries, the United States in particular, with destruction. Even though Kim and President Donald Trump’s responses to him dominate the daily headlines, the idea that North Korea is a menace is not a new one. Indeed, ever since Korea was first divided at the end of World War II, the tension between its northern and southern halves has riveted-and threatened to embroil — the rest of the world. In this landmark history, veteran journalist Don Oberdorfer and Korea expert Robert Carlin grippingly describe how a historically homogenous people became locked in a perpetual struggle for supremacy — and how other nations including the United States have tried, and failed, to broker a lasting peace."

© 2014 Basic Books, Hachette Book Group.

K-pop Live: Fans, Idols, and Multimedia Performance by Suk-Young Kim

"Based on in-depth interviews with K-pop industry personnel, media experts, critics, and fans, as well as archival research, K-pop Live explores how the industry has managed the tough sell of live music in a marketplace in which virtually everything is available online. Teasing out digital media's courtship of "liveness" in the production and consumption of K-pop, Kim investigates the nuances of the affective mode in which human subjects interact with one another in the digital age. Observing performances online, in concert, and even through the use of holographic performers, Kim offers readers a step-by-step guide through the K-pop industry's variegated efforts to diversify media platforms as a way of reaching a wider global network of music consumers. In an era when digital technology inserts itself into nearly all social relationships, Kim reveals how "what is live" becomes a question of how we exist as increasingly mediated subjects, fragmented and isolated by technological wonders while also longing for a sense of belonging and being alive through an interactive mode of exchange we often call "live."

©2018 Stanford University Press

The Birth of Korean Cool by Euny Hong

"By now, everyone in the world knows the song "Gangnam Style" and Psy, an instantly recognizable star. But the song's international popularity is no passing fad. "Gangnam Style" is only one tool in South Korea's extraordinarily elaborate and effective strategy to become a major world superpower by first becoming the world's number one pop culture exporter.

As a child, Euny Hong moved from America to the Gangnam neighbourhood in Seoul. She was a witness to the most accelerated part of South Korea's economic development, during which time it leapfrogged from third-world military dictatorship to first-world liberal democracy on the cutting edge of global technology.

Euny Hong recounts how South Korea vaulted itself into the twenty-first century, becoming a global leader in business, technology, education, and pop culture. Featuring lively, in-depth reporting and numerous interviews with Koreans working in all areas of government and society, The Birth of Korean Cool reveals how a really uncool country became cool, and how a nation that once banned miniskirts, long hair on men, and rock ‘n' roll could come to mass produce boy bands, soap operas, and the world's most important smart phone."

©2014 Pacador

The Cambridge Companion to K-Pop 

Edited by Suk-YoungKim

How did Korea with a relatively small-scale music industry come to create a vibrant pop culture scene that would enthrall not only young Asian fans but also global audiences from diverse racial and generational backgrounds? From idol training to fan engagement, from studio recording to mastering choreographic sequences, what are the steps that go into the actual production and promotion of K-pop? And how can we account for K-pop's global presence within the rapidly changing media environment and consumerist culture in the new millennium? As an informed guide for finding answers to these questions, The Cambridge Companion to K-Pop probes the complexities of K-pop as both a music industry and a transnational cultural scene. It investigates the meteoric ascent of K-pop against the backdrop of increasing global connectivity wherein a distinctive model of production and consumption is closely associated with creativity and futurity.

©2023 Cambridge University Press

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The Korean Popular Culture Reader

Edited by Kyung Hyun Kim and Youngmin Choe

Over the past decade, Korean popular culture has become a global phenomenon. The "Korean Wave" of music, film, television, sports, and cuisine generates significant revenues and cultural pride in South Korea. The Korean Popular Culture Reader provides a timely and essential foundation for the study of "K-pop," relating the contemporary cultural landscape to its historical roots. The essays in this collection reveal the intimate connections of Korean popular culture, or hallyu, to the peninsula's colonial and postcolonial histories, to the nationalist projects of the military dictatorship, and to the neoliberalism of twenty-first-century South Korea. Combining translations of seminal essays by Korean scholars on topics ranging from sports to colonial-era serial fiction with new work by scholars based in fields including literary studies, film and media studies, ethnomusicology, and art history, this collection expertly navigates the social and political dynamics that have shaped Korean cultural production over the past century.

©2014 Duke University Press



TALKBACK ON! EP 1 | K-Pop Time Travel

"Check out untold stories and industry knowledge from Jae Chong, KAIROS, and K.O, as we unveil the conversations from our favorite studio sessions and career moments."


"Do you know how K-Pop got its start? This deep-diving, free-wheeling documentary takes a look at how South Korea went from a dictatorship to a democracy and spawned a new musical movement as youth culture took off. With appearances from Super Junior, EXO, 2NE1, Wonder Girls, 1TYM, CLON, Solid, and Dynamic Duo."



This section features a running list of peer-reviewed articles published within the last ten years. Notably, most of these articles are less than five years old. Curated by Dr. Ray Seol, Assistant Professor of Professional Music at Berklee College of Music.


  • Abidin, C., & Lee, J. (2023). K-pop TikTok: TikTok's expansion into South Korea, TikTok Stage, and platformed glocalization. Media International Australia Incorporating Culture & Policy, 188(1), 86-111. 10.1177/1329878X231186445

  • Ahn, J. (2023). K-Pop Without Koreans: Racial Imagination and Boundary Making in K-Pop. International Journal of Communication (Online), 17, 92.

  • Aisyah, A., Zainudin, I. S., & Yoan, R. S. (2019). Social Media Translational Action: Translation Activities by K-Pop Fans in Twitter. International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 9(2), 32-54. 10.4018/IJVPLE.2019070103

  • Cho, S. (2021). Exporting the Korean Wave to Europe: An Analysis of the Trade Effect. Korea Observer, 52(3), 541-566. 10.29152/KOIKS.2021.52.3.541

  • Chun, E. W. (2017). How to drop a name: Hybridity, purity, and the K-pop fan. Language in Society, 46(1), 1-20. 10.1017/S0047404516000828

  • Chung, D. J., & Koo, K. R. (2023). The role of cultural diversity in creating value: a case study of South Korea's pop band BTS. Asia Pacific Business Review, 29(5), 1275-1299. 10.1080/13602381.2023.2243242

  • Cicchelli, V., Octobre, S., Katz‐Gerro, T., Yodovich, N., Handy, F., & Ruiz, S. (2023). “Because we all love K‐Pop”: How young adults reshape symbolic boundaries in Paris, Manchester, and Philadelphia. The British Journal of Sociology, 74(1), 17-34. 10.1111/1468-4446.12983

  • Cruz, A. G. B., Seo, Y., & Binay, I. (2021). Cultural globalization from the periphery: Translation practices of English-speaking K-pop fans. Journal of Consumer Culture, 21(3), 638-659. 10.1177/1469540519846215

  • Fung, A. (2019). Between dislocated and relocated Inter-Asian popular music studies: academic discourse and possibilities. Popular Music, 38(1), 121-127. 10.1017/S0261143018000703

  • Howard, K. (2014). Mapping K-Pop Past and Present: Shifting the Modes of Exchange. Korea Observer, 45(3), 389.

  • Istad, F., Gibson, J., & Curran, N. M. (2022). More or less a foreigner: Domestic reception of multinational K-pop groups. Asian Journal of Social Science, 50(4), 268-275. 10.1016/j.ajss.2022.05.006

  • Jin, D. Y. (2019). Transnationalism, cultural flows, and the rise of the Korean Wave around the globe. The International Communication Gazette, 81(2), 117-120. 10.1177/1748048518802911

  • Jonas, L. (2022). Crafted for the Male Gaze: Gender Discrimination in the K-Pop Industry. Journal of International Women's Studies, 23(1), COV1-16.

  • Kashina, M. A. (2023). The Popularity of K-Pop Culture in Russia: Good or Evil? The Case of BTS. Upravlencheskoe Konsulʹtirovanie, (8), 116-137. 10.22394/1726-1139-2023-8-116-137

  • Kim, J., Jung, S., Roh, J., & Choi, H. (2021). Success Factors and Sustainability of the K-Pop Industry: A Structural Equation Model and Fuzzy Set Analysis. Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland), 13(11), 5927. 10.3390/su13115927

  • Kim, J., Kim, K., Park, B., & Choi, H. (2022). The Phenomenon and Development of K-Pop: The Relationship between Success Factors of K-Pop and the National Image, Social Network Service Citizenship Behavior, and Tourist Behavioral Intention. Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland), 14(6), 3200. 10.3390/su14063200

  • Kim, J., & Kwon, S. (2022). K-Pop’s Global Success and Its Innovative Production System. Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland), 14(17), 11101. 10.3390/su141711101

  • Kim, J. O. (2021). BTS as method: a counter-hegemonic culture in the network society. Media, Culture & Society, 43(6), 1061-1077. 10.1177/0163443720986029

  • Kim, S. (2016). The Many Faces of K‐pop Music Videos: Revues, Motown, and Broadway in “Twinkle”. The Journal of Popular Culture, 49(1), 136-154. 10.1111/jpcu.12382

  • Kim, S. (2020). Black K-Pop: Racial Surplus and Global Consumption. TDR : Drama Review, 64(2), 88-100. 10.1162/dram_a_00921

  • King-O’Riain, R. C. (2021). “They were having so much fun, so genuinely . . .”: K-pop fan online affect and corroborated authenticity. New Media & Society, 23(9), 2820-2838. 10.1177/1461444820941194

  • Kuo, L., Perez-Garcia, S., Burke, L., Yamasaki, V., & Le, T. (2022). Performance, Fantasy, or Narrative: LGBTQ+ Asian American Identity Through Kpop Media and Fandom. Journal of Homosexuality, 69(1), 145-168. 10.1080/00918369.2020.1815428

  • Laffan, D. A. (2021). Positive Psychosocial Outcomes and Fanship in K-Pop Fans: A Social Identity Theory Perspective. Psychological Reports, 124(5), 2272-2285. 10.1177/0033294120961524

  • Lee, J., & Yi, H. (2020). Ssen-Unni in K-Pop: The Makings of “Strong Sisters” in South Korea. Korea Journal, 60(1), 17-39. 10.25024/kj.2020.60.1.17

  • Lee, S., Choi, S., & Kim, H. (2021). Unveiling the success factors of BTS: a mixed-methods approach. Internet Research, 31(5), 1518-1540. 10.1108/INTR-12-2019-0507

  • Lie, J. (2012). What Is the K in K-Pop? South Korean Popular Music, the Culture Industry, and National Identity. Korea Observer, 43(3), 339.

  • Lin, R. R. (2023). Plastic Orientalism: Surface Logic and Cultural Technique in K-Pop. The Velvet Light Trap, 91(91), 39-52. 10.7560/VLT9105

  • Messerlin, P., & Shin, W. (2017). The Success of K-pop: How Big and Why So Fast? Asian Journal of Social Science, 45(4), 409. 10.1163/15685314-04504003

  • Mohd Jenol, N. A., & Ahmad Pazil, N. H. (2022). "I found my talent after I become a K-pop fan": K-pop participatory culture unleashing talents among Malaysian youth. Cogent Social Sciences, 8(1)10.1080/23311886.2022.2062914

  • Nur Ayuni, M. J., & Nur Hafeeza, A. P. (2020). Escapism and motivation: Understanding K-pop fans well-being and identity. Geografia : Malaysian Journal of Society and Space, 16(4)10.17576/geo-2020-1604-25

  • Oh, C. (2020). Identity Passing in Intercultural Performance of K-pop Cover Dance. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 49(5), 472-483. 10.1080/17475759.2020.1803103

  • Oh, C., & Oh, D. C. (2022). White-expat-fans' performing K-pop Other on YouTube. Text and Performance Quarterly, 42(2), 198-219. 10.1080/10462937.2022.2062441

  • Oh, I. (2013). The Globalization of K-Pop: Korea's Place in the Global Music Industry. Korea Observer, 44(3), 389-410.

  • Raven, E. (2020). HyunA: The Nexus of Blackness, Feminism, and K‐Pop. Journal of Popular Culture, 53(1), 192-214. 10.1111/jpcu.12883

  • Ryu, J., Capistrano, E. P., & Lin, H. (2020). Non-Korean consumers’ preferences on Korean popular music: A two-country study. International Journal of Market Research, 62(2), 234-252. 10.1177/1470785318796951

  • Saeji, C. T. (2022). Building a K-Community: Idol Stars Challenging Foreign Fans to Learn Korean Traditions. Acta Koreana, 25(2), 133-158. 10.18399/acta.2022.25.2.006

  • Song, S. (2020). The Evolution of the Korean Wave How Is the Third Generation Different from Previous Ones? Korea Observer, 51(1), 125-150. 10.29152/KOIKS.2020.51.1.125

  • Suh, J. (2022). K‐Pop Culture in the United States: Protest Contexts and Practices. Journal of Popular Culture, 55(2), 292-312. 10.1111/jpcu.13111

  • Sun, M. (2020). K-pop fan labor and an alternative creative industry: A case study of GOT7 Chinese fans. Global Media and China, 5(4), 389-406. 10.1177/2059436420954588

  • Vargas Meza, X., & Park, H. W. (2015). Globalization of cultural products: a webometric analysis of Kpop in Spanish-speaking countries. Quality & Quantity, 49(4), 1345-1360. 10.1007/s11135-014-0047-2

  • Wibisono, N., Arrasy, B. F., & Rafdinal, W. (2022a). Predicting consumer behaviour toward digital K-pop albums: An extended model of the theory of planned behaviour. Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy, 7(1), 19-33.

  • Wibisono, N., Arrasy, B. F., & Rafdinal, W. (2022b). Predicting consumer behaviour toward digital K-pop albums: An extended model of the theory of planned behaviour. Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy, 7(1), 19-33.

  • Williams, J. P., & Ho, S. X. X. (2016). "Sasaengpaen" or K-pop Fan? Singapore Youths, Authentic Identities, and Asian Media Fandom. Deviant Behavior, 37(1), 81. 10.1080/01639625.2014.983011

  • Yoo, Y., Ju, Y., & Sohn, S. Y. (2017). Quantitative analysis of a half‐century of K‐Pop songs: Association rule analysis of lyrics and social network analysis of singers and composers. Journal of Popular Music Studies, 29(3), n/a. 10.1111/jpms.12225

  • Yoon, H., Song, C., Ha, M., & Kim, C. (2022). Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Virtual Korean Wave Experience: Perspective on Experience Economy. Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland), 14(22), 14806. 10.3390/su142214806

  • Yoon, K. (2017). Global Imagination of K-Pop: Pop Music Fans’ Lived Experiences of Cultural Hybridity. Popular Music and Society, , 1-17. 10.1080/03007766.2017.1292819

  • Yoon, K. (2019). Diasporic youth culture of K-pop. Journal of Youth Studies, 22(1), 138-152. 10.1080/13676261.2018.1496407

  • Yoon, K. (2021). K-pop pedagogy in the digital platform era. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, 17(2), 183-190. 10.1386/macp_00047_7

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