Music Briefs: K-Pop


K-Pop, or Korean Pop, is a globally popular music genre that originated in South Korea in the 90s. It is distinguished by a blend of music genres such as pop, hip-hop, R&B, electronic, and rock, accompanied by aesthetically compelling performances, perfect choreography, and visually-appealing MVs (music videos). K-Pop is not just a genre of music. It’s a standalone subculture made up of music and a variety of entertainment elements such as music videos, fashion, and general aesthetics.


K-Pop History

Western-style pop music inspired Korean artists in the early 1900s due to Japanese and American cultural influence and genres like jazz, trot, and even rock’n’roll in the 50s. However, modern K-Pop gained popularity in the late 90s.

In the 1990s, contemporary Korean Pop began to take shape. Seo Taiji and Boys, a trio of Seo Taiji, Yang Hyun-suk, and Lee Juno, is widely regarded as the pioneer band of modern K-Pop. Their debut in 1992 with the song “I Know” broke cultural standards and pushed the Korean music landscape to a fusion of pop, rock, and rap.

K-Pop has continued to expand and diversify since then, with new groups and solo artists debuting regularly. It has become a substantial cultural export for South Korea, with K-Pop acts traveling internationally, collaborating with Western musicians, and earning a global fan following.


Genre Characteristics

  • Catchy melodies: K-Pop songs frequently have catchy, memorable tunes intended to be immediately recognizable and entertaining for listeners. Strong hooks and repeating phrases make them easily singable and memorable.
  • Genre fusion: K-Pop blends various musical genres, including pop, hip-hop, R&B, electronic, and rock. It usually incorporates elements from several genres, producing a rich and dynamic sound. K-Pop can be cute, pink, sweet as candy as well as dark and sassy.
  • Upbeat and Energetic vibe: Many K-Pop songs have an intense and lively tempo, aiming to be danceable and giving the listener a good mood. There are exceptions in emotional songs, but this is a general rule of thumb.
  • Harmonies and Vocal Layering: Harmonies and vocal layering are important in K-Pop, with numerous vocalists singing harmoniously to produce rich and layered melodies.
  • Electronic and Synthesized Sounds: These elements, such as electronic beats, synthesizers, and programmed sounds, are commonly used in K-Pop as they give it the known futuristic modern feel that makes K-pop different from other genres.
  • As K-Pop praises the fusion of genres and Western influences, we often hear English in the tracks. Some songs are even English only.



Pond5 Examples of K-Pop

Listen to the tracks dedicated to the genre and get inspired for your next production.


Submission Ideas

  • Submit tracks in length between 2 and 6 minutes
  • The tempo should be between around 90-180 BPM
  • Lyrics in Korean and English is welcomed and vocal harmonies are a great advantage but don’t limit yourself to them
  • Use catchy electronic dance beats and typical Western pop music elements




  • Take advantage of the 50-keyword limit and add both broad and specific keywords. Please do not use a recognizable band or artist name!
  • Use KPOPP5BRIEF in your metadata
  • We also encourage you to submit separate :15 and :30 versions of these tracks for social media use.
  • Please note you can apply tags to existing tracks in your portfolio.

Top Image: Lisa, Jisoo, Jennie Und Rose Von Blackpink Bei Der Verleihung Der Mtv… by IMAGO.

For more inspiration by our music briefs click here.