Pop Goes Korea

South Korea came from nowhere in the 1990s to become one of the biggest producers of pop content (movies, music, comic books, TV dramas, online gaming) in Asia—and the West. Why? Who’s behind it? Pop Goes Korea tells an exciting tale of rapid growth and wild success marked by an uncanny knack for moving just one step ahead of changing technologies (such as music downloads and Internet comics) that have created new consumer markets around the world.

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More than just an analysis of some fascinating trends, Pop Goes Korea looks at the creative, driven dreamers who challenged the status quo and made all these changes possible.
- film director Kang Je-gyu, maker of Korea’s first blockbuster film Shiri;
- top actor Lee Byung-hun, who starred in many of the biggest Korean television dramas and movies, and is leading the wave of Korean stars coming to Hollywood;
- Lee Su-man, who went from folk singer to computer programmer to creator of Korea’s biggest music label;
- Miky Lee, who (together with her brother) helped transform a sleepy confectionary company into CJ Entertainment, Korea’s biggest entertainment conglomerate.
- Sean Yang, whose P2P program Soribada nearly destroyed Korea’s music business, but then led its resurrection;
- Shin Jung-hyun, the godfather of Korea’s amazing rock music from the 1960s and ’70s;
- Rain, Korea’s biggest international pop star;
- Nelson Shin, who fled North Korea during the war and became one of Korea’s leading animators.

Perhaps most importantly, the stories in Pop Goes Korea are not just Korea stories. The forces of globalization, technology and media that radically reshaped Korea are coming to the rest of the world, challenging local cultures, but also providing the opportunity to fight back against Hollywood and succeed like never before. Pop Goes Korea provides the blueprint, to help people everywhere better understand these trends and prepare for what is coming next.

To buy your own copy of Pop Goes Korea, you can check out these websites:

Amazon.com

Stone Bridge Press (my publisher)

Chapters Indigo (in Canada)

Kyobo Books (in Korea)

And here are some reviews about Pop Goes Korea:

Wall Street Journal:
“Mr. Russell’s book is the first by a non-Korean to explain the rise of Korea’s entertainment industries. With lots of pictures, lists (top TV shows, most expensive movies, worst flops) and sidebar articles, the book could hardly be more approachable.”

MTV:
“… extremely useful …”

London Korea Links:
“…a lively description of the industry and infrastructure which makes the creation and enjoyment of these stars possible.”
“Five stars out of five”

Korea Times:
“The book reveals not only the challenges of Korean pop culture but also triumphs and feats in entertainment and arts with poignant analysis and anecdotes to help the industry move in a better direction. ”

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