Ex-Virgin Music chief says BTS opened door to success in US for other K-pop acts
Ex-Virgin Music chief says BTS opened door to success in US for other K-pop acts

The wild global success of Korean boy band BTS is not a stand-alone case but has opened the door for many more K-pop music acts to make inroads into the American music market, a high-profile US music executive said Tuesday.

“BTS is a great success story. But BTS broke the ice; it is not the ice,” Phil Quartararo, CEO of Tripod Partners, said in a press conference on the sidelines of MU:CON, the biggest K-pop fair in South Korea.

Quartararo has served in top roles at Virgin Music, Warner Bros. Records and EMI Marketing, playing an instrumental role behind the musical success of such legendary artists as the Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson and the Spice Girls. He is to deliver a keynote speech on Wednesday during a MU:CON’s conference session at the Convention and Exhibition Center in southern Seoul.

(Big Hit Entertainment)
Recalling his storied career at the forefront of the US pop music scene, Quartararo said the sensational breakout of BTS may lead to greater success of K-pop in general in the US market, thanks to the K-pop industry’s high-quality music production.

“For BTS, it was opening the door. We can send a lot more behind BTS … I believe there will be plenty of other opportunities for big artists that command this market very, very well,” he said.

According to Quartararo, K-pop in general develops music’s three core elements — rhythm, melody and harmony — very well, fascinating the fan-driven US pop market better than other genres like EDM, hip hop or Latin.

“The fact that makes K-pop rave, it’s not that it’s Korean or it’s pop. It works because it’s good,” he said, adding that “I hope to see not only K-pop … but also K-rock and K-country.”

“As long as these (K-pop) companies continue to produce quality, hit music, you will always remain competitive … there’s no constraints on what K-pop can do or should do,” he added. 

In a separate press meeting Tuesday, Nicole Frantz, head of Capitol Music Group’s Creative Services, referred to K-pop’s visual aspects and trendiness as its key driving forces in the Western music market.

“Visual speaks to me. And I truly believe in the power of content and creativity to drive music globally,” she said.

Unfortunately, she said, K-pop has one major barrier.

“I do see the benefit and value of having English speakers torepresent the groups and speak directly to the fans because unfortunately still in America, you rely heavily on that connection,” Frantz said hours before her keynote speech to MU:CON’s conference.

Later this week, Capitol Music is poised to unveil to the global music scene a new boy band, Super M, in a major collaboration project with K-pop music label SM Entertainment.

Capitol has been in charge of US marketing and promotion of the new band while SM has been entirely responsible for the music production for Super M.

“To jump in and just put our hands on (the music) in a way that isn’t necessary does not make sense because we appreciate the quality of the record,” she said.

“In the US, K-pop has the most versatile pop artists from anywhere … My hope is that Super M has the same impact (in the US),” she added. (Yonhap)