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K-Pop Superfans Flock to Los Angeles for KCON LA 2023

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K-Pop Superfans Flock to Los Angeles for KCON LA 2023

Thousands of K-Pop fans waited up in downtown Los Angeles hours before the doors opened, stretching for blocks in the hot sun for KCON LA 2023. K-Pop fans danced and traded homemade stickers, banners, bracelets, and photocards while wearing pleated skirts and platform shoes and carrying the transparent bags that have become stadium standards. Inside was their paradise: an IRL space where they could talk about their URL obsessions.

If anything, the 2023 LA KCON was a microcosm of K-pop’s overall impact on the music business.

From Friday to Sunday, an estimated 140,000 people from all over the world attended panels, premium meet-and-greets, interviews, dance breaks, concerts, and more at the Los Angeles Convention Centre and adjacent Crypto.com Arena.

Inside the convention centre, fans brandished light-sticks of their favourite groups, flaunted DIY shirts with simple, direct inscriptions like “I HEART MINGI,” gathered sticker books and K-beauty products and waited in line for tteokbokki.

According to Steve Chung, chief worldwide officer of organisers CJ ENM, KCON began 11 years ago in Irvine, California, gathering 10,000 people to its maiden celebration of Korean culture. It is now a global event taking place in several countries: KCON has already visited Thailand, Japan, and the United States in 2023.

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“In those (11) years, we’ve welcomed something like half a million people from all over the world,” he explains.

Panels on K-pop songwriting and cup sleeve creations were held in Los Angeles (K-pop fan gatherings are hosted at cafes on an idol’s birthday, anniversary, or other important date). On one stage, up-and-coming groups such as NMIXX led dance courses, while another stage allowed rookie groups to introduce themselves to a larger audience.

The Associated Press met with a wide range of fans during the weekend, including some who drove 12 hours straight from Utah, flew in from the United Kingdom, and were of various ages, genders, colours, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“The culture of inclusiveness is huge,” said Annya Holston, 40, of Florida, who discovered K-pop through her daughter. “Being here has allowed us to make so many new friends.”

Premium tickets were $500 per day and included access to a “Red Carpet” area where acts posed for photographs and answered two or three questions in a 30-minute window, as well as admission to the conference and concert. Fans may spend an extra $100 for “Hi-Touch” — a fast meet-and-greet in which fans and performers high-five — with one group of their choice. With fresh fears about the spread of COVID-19, “Hi-Touch” became “Hi-Wave” (exactly what it sounds like, much to the sorrow of a few fans wishing for that physical connection; others were content with the sheer proximity).

Those encounters provided as a nice reminder of a component of the music industry that K-pop understands incredibly well, and much better than most: fanbase is the most profitable and durable resource in this business.
On Friday, August 18, 2023, fans attend KCON at the Los Angeles Convention Centre. Chris Pizzello/AP Photo

Peyton Tran, a 17-year-old dancer from Los Angeles, told AP at KCON, “It’s just cool to see how much people can support these businesses out here.”

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The music industry will encounter new issues in 2023, including what Mark Mulligan, a MIDiA Research music industry analyst, has dubbed the “fragmentation of fandom.”

New musicians face unprecedented competition as a result of algorithmic listening, which is a direct result of the streaming era.

Consider this: It is uncommon for a new act to ascend to the status of monolithic pop star — the ranks of Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Harry Styles, all of whom began performing prior to streaming — because listenership is hyper-specific.

In K-pop, where companies are typically fully integrated institutions — a record label and a talent agency rolled into one — and hyper-consumption is encouraged, business focuses on cultivating a community of superfans and inspiring those devoted listeners to advocate for their favourite artists, fueling a sense of participation that extends beyond their purchasing power. It doesn’t hurt that K-pop fans have a tendency to coordinate worldwide fan movements on their own and construct rituals and events, communicating through specialised fandom sites such as WeVerse and Vlive.

Niche does not imply small; rather, it signifies specialised. KCON is proof of this.

Fans saw K-pop groups and soloists from all “generations” perform at the concerts, which were held all three nights for the first time: Taemin from the second-generation boy band SHINee, Rain — the first K-pop idol to go international, and now a manager himself — fourth-generation boy bands ATEEZ and Stray Kids, and rookie groups like XG and ZEROBASEONE.

XG performed songs like the Kesha-inspired “TGIF,” with production greatly influenced by the current liquid drum-and-bass/U.K. garage movement in global pop music, a welcomed retro-futuristic sound from a group and convention with their sights set on the future.

Notably, these concerts prioritised K-pop girl groups, reflecting a recent shift in listenership. Boy bands were supposed to be more profitable in the past, but girl groups like IVE, ITZY, NMIXX, Kep1er, (G)I-DLE, and EVERGLOW proved that was outdated thinking in their spectacular KCON sets.

The “Dream Stage,” where a few dozen fans who auditioned to perform a dance with a K-pop group earlier in the day were brought out to do just that, was a particularly unique and powerful moment throughout the event.

On the second day of the convention, iHeartRadio’s KIIS-FM established a new, open-to-the-public “K-pop Village,” where K-pop fans could enjoy free performances by newer talents, such as LEO, who made his U.S. debut on the outdoor stage.

“2023 is similar to a crossover event.” “The last ten years have been about serving an endemic fanbase of people who already know and love K-pop,” Chung explains. “As evidenced by the iHeartMedia partnership, it’s really like a crossover moment where K-pop goes mainstream.”

Even Tropical Storm Hilary couldn’t keep the most ardent fans from queuing in the rain to watch their favourite performances on the convention’s last day. On the train the night before, the AP asked a K-pop fan from Massachusetts, known on YouTube as Toadcola, if he was worried about the weather. Not at all.

But if the weather cancelled his trip home, he reasoned that it wouldn’t be so bad because the idols might be stuck at the airport with him.

 

Geoff Thomas is a seasoned staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. With his sharp writing skills and deep understanding of SEO, he consistently delivers high-quality, engaging content that resonates with readers. Thomas' articles are well-researched, informative, and written in a clear, concise style that keeps audiences hooked. His ability to craft compelling narratives while seamlessly incorporating relevant keywords has made him a valuable asset to the VORNews team.

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After Drake Battle, Kendrick Lamar Turns Victory Lap Concert Into LA Unity Celebration

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Kendrick Lamar | AP news Image

Inglewood, California – Kendrick Lamar’s Juneteenth “Pop Out” event at the Forum became an emotional live-streamed celebration of Los Angeles unity rather than simply taking a victory lap after defeating fellow rap artist Drake.

Lamar organized a three-hour event that included a combination of up-and-coming LA rappers and stars such as Tyler, The Creator, Steve Lacy, and YG. When it came to his turn to take the stage, the 37-year-old rapper pushed through a set with Black Hippy collaborators Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Jay Rock, performing his Drake diss songs “Euphoria” and “6:16 in LA,” before being joined on stage by Dr. Dre.

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Lamar | Billboard

After Drake Battle, Kendrick Lamar Turns Victory Lap Concert Into LA Unity Celebration

The two West Coast titans played “Still D.R.E.” and “California Love” before Dre called for silence to calm the raging crowd. It was a misdirect. He then gave the “Sixth Sense” phrase that opens Lamar’s smash hit “Not Like Us”: “I see dead people.”

A crowd of 17,000 people, including The Weeknd, LeBron James, Ayo Edebiri, and Rick Ross, rapped along to every word of the biting-but-jubilant DJ Mustard track, which Lamar resumed twice after the first verse and repeated four times in total.

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Lamar | BBC Image

After Drake Battle, Kendrick Lamar Turns Victory Lap Concert Into LA Unity Celebration

NBA stars Russell Westbrook and DeMar DeRozan, Mustard, rapper Roddy Ricch, and even a juvenile dance group led by krumping inventor Tommy the Clown were shuffling, frolicking, dancing, and twirling around him as Lamar approached the stage in a red sweatshirt.

Lamar delighted in the situation, saying, “Y’all ain’t gonna let nobody disrespect the West Coast.” “You’re not going to let anyone imitate our legends, huh,” he asked, referring to Drake’s usage of an AI program to mimic 2Pac’s voice on one of his diss tracks.

But Lamar had bigger plans, inviting select men and women to join him onstage for a group portrait.

“Let the world see this,” he urged. “For all of us to be on this stage together, unity, from the East side… LA, Crips, Bloods, Piru— this… is great, dude. We put this together exclusively for you guys.

“This… has nothing to do with any song at this time, nothing to do with any back-and-forth albums; it has everything to do with this particular moment. That’s what this… was about bringing us all together.

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Lamar | Variety Image

After Drake Battle, Kendrick Lamar Turns Victory Lap Concert Into LA Unity Celebration

After the final song, Lamar exited, stating, “I promise you, this won’t be the last of us.” The slicing horns of the “Not Like Us” instrument rang out again, and the audience rapped the words without Lamar as they flowed down the hallways and out to the parking lot.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Rapper Travis Scott Arrested In Miami Beach For Misdemeanor Trespassing And Public Intoxication

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Travis Scott | AP news Image

Miami Beach, Florida – Miami Beach police detained rapper Travis Scott early Thursday on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and public drunkenness.

Miami Beach police verified the arrest but could not immediately release any information. According to Miami-Dade County prison records, Scott, 33, paid his $650 bond and is scheduled to be released later Thursday.

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Scott | Foot Wear News Image

Rapper Travis Scott Arrested In Miami Beach For Misdemeanor Trespassing And Public Intoxication

His publicists, Jamie Sward and Alexandra Baker, have yet to respond to emails requesting comment, and Scott’s counsel is not listed on jail records. His agent, David Stromberg, waited to respond to a message sent to his LinkedIn profile.

Scott, born Jacques Webster, is one of hip-hop’s biggest artists. He has over 100 tracks on the Billboard Hot 100 and four singles that have topped the chart: “Sicko Mode,” “Highest in the Room,” “The Scotts,” and “Franchise.”

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Scott | AP News image

Rapper Travis Scott Arrested In Miami Beach For Misdemeanor Trespassing And Public Intoxication

A crowd rush murdered ten people during Scott’s 2021 concert at Houston’s Astroworld festival. Many attendees could not breathe or lift their arms due to the crowd’s density. The victims, aged 9 to 27, died from compression asphyxia, which an expert compared to being crushed by a car.

Lawyers for the victims claimed in lawsuits that the deaths and hundreds of injuries at the concert were caused by poor planning and a lack of regard for the event’s capacity and safety.

Scott, promoter Live Nation, and the others sued have refuted the allegations, claiming that safety was their priority. They claimed what happened could not have been predicted.

The final lawsuit was resolved last month.

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Scott | Billboard Image

Rapper Travis Scott Arrested In Miami Beach For Misdemeanor Trespassing And Public Intoxication

Following a police inquiry, a grand jury declined to charge Scott and five others associated with the festival.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Carrie Underwood Unharmed After House Fire in Tennessee

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Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood: File Image

Carrie Underwood and her family must be relieved right now… because they were able to escape a house fire in their Tennessee home over the holiday weekend.

A source for the country artist tells TMZ, “There was a fire on the property on Sunday night, which was immediately put out. The primary residence had no fire damage, and the family and their dogs were unhurt.

According to Williamson County & Fire, a fire broke out in Carrie and husband Mike Fisher’s garage just before 10 p.m. on Sunday evening, Father’s Day. Responders were able to extinguish the fire fast thanks to a 10,000-gallon water tank… situated on the singer’s estate.

Williamson County Fire & Rescue published an update in the aftermath of the fire, including a few images from the area, which appear to be quite dramatic.

Hey, added… “Almost instantly, the call was upgraded to a structure fire. Crews from each of our eight stations responded… Firefighters continue to extinguish hotspots to avoid further spread. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. There are currently no injuries.

While it was a sad way to end Father’s Day, Carrie had a relatively serene Sunday afternoon, posting photos with a couple sheep on Instagram Stories.

Carrie Underwood’s stage fall

Nonetheless, June has been a difficult month for the “American Idol” graduate. We broke the story. Carrie fell onstage last week after headlining a music festival in South Carolina.

ICYMI… Carrie tripped and fell while exiting the stage after her headlining performance at the Carolina Country Music Fest, which took place in a thunderstorm.

She posted on social media that she was unharmed by the fall, even making a sly jest about it… “Had a great time last night! And, despite the unexpected finish, it made for an unforgettable night!”

For Carrie’s sake, we hope the rest of her June is an uneventful one TMZ reported.

Carrie Underwood is a superstar in country music. She originally gained attention by winning “American Idol” in 2005, and she hasn’t stopped since.

Her debut album, “Some Hearts,” featured singles such as “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “Before He Cheats.” These songs not only topped the charts, but also earned her numerous prizes.

Carrie has recorded several CDs that highlight her vocal range and emotional depth. Songs like “Blown Away” and “Cry Pretty” demonstrate her talent to create stories with song. Carrie has tried her hand at acting and fashion in addition to singing.

She has appeared on television shows and even has her own clothing brand, CALIA by Carrie Underwood. Her influence on country music is evident, and her following continues to expand.

Carrie Underwood continues to be a powerful force in the music industry thanks to a combination of skill, hard effort, and real charm.

Source: TMZ

Tony Bennett, Masterful Stylist Of American Musical Standards, Dies At 96

Tony Bennett, Masterful Stylist Of American Musical Standards, Dies At 96

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