It goes without saying that the popularity of K-pop has grown exponentially in the last decade or so, but if the genre is to remain globally relevant in the next decade and beyond, finding and fostering foreign talent will be increasingly important according to one of the industry's top figures.
JYP Entertainment CEO J. Y. Park recently sat down for an interview with CNBC and revealed that while K-pop at its current stage is currently still growing, the next stage will need something different. For Park, this "something" lies with foreign talent, particularly those from Japan and China:
"We're trying to figure out the next stage ... We can't just keep sending over Korean stars forever, we need to find the next thing. Now, I want to build with foreign talent and create something with young talented kids from Japan and China."
Park has already had some considerable success in fostering foreign talent with TWICE, JYP's nine-member girl group that consists of three Japanese, one Taiwanese, and five South Korean members. Since TWICE's debut in 2015, the group has quickly established itself as one of K-pop's hottest acts.
There is skepticism of Park's idea as some fear that the integration of foreign talent into K-pop could see the genre lose its quintessential quality, but the JYP CEO thinks this is far from a bad thing.
"We can't keep trying to get other cultures to love Korean stuff. Now, we have to try to understand theirs, and make something together. We owe them that, because they've been consuming Korean culture for so long."
Beyond his thoughts about integrating other cultures into K-pop (and his love of Rhianna and Bruno Mars), Park also noted that much of K-pop's success can be pinpointed to its industralisation:
"We've developed a system. Companies like ours have an academy, a sort of training system, to find young, talented kids and pull out the best in them. It started off organic, but we systematized it."
As for what future projects he's currently working on, Park kept his cards close to his chest, but he revealed that he is currently "creating something interesting" and that it is a "big project in the United States".
Check out J. Y. Park's CNBC interview right here: