2000s Korean Pop Music History - THE YEAR OF 2009

RIAK: Recording Industry Association of Korea

by Recording Industry Association of Korea

21st century is when the culture and new media are joined together, thus, the world can encounter (or share) new culture very easily. 

K-pop is one of the pop culture in Korea that has been spot-lighted. In the early 2000s, marketing on Korean drama and its OST as well as idols in oversea countries succeeded to grab their attention. Consequently, K-pop was known as Korean Idols Music at that moment.

The development of new media, such as social network services as well as streaming services, Korean ballad, hip-hop and other genres has introduced to the world. Spontaneously, the strength of K-pop such as, easy melody, showy performance, music videos with the stories that arouse audiences’ interest, etc. causes to grab attention from Asian countries. Not only the Asian countries. Since 2011, K-pop has been spread out to western countries and also grabs their attention easily.

Consequently, the interpretation of k-pop has expanded. 

The exhibition “2000s K-pop History” introduces the trend of Korean Pop culture by using k-pop contents from every year. “2000s K-pop History” would help people to understand Korean culture and Korean pop culture and expect people to enjoy it.


The year of 2009 saw Girls’ Generation enjoy their best time, and many girl groups make their debut. As 2 songs(Tell me your wish, Gee) of Girls’ Generation became mega hit, the girl group dominated Korean pop music scene having almost a million fans from young children to old people. The song <gee> was written by E-TRIBE.  On January 10, 2009, the girl group made a comeback at <show! music core> first time in 9 months. As soon as the song <gee> was released, people reacted with enthusiasm. 

In one day of releasing the music video through Gom TV, it had 1 million views, and swept the top at many music charts such as M-Net, Melon, and Doshirak in 2 days. In March, the song was ranked top for 9 weeks in a row, breaking the record of 7 weeks that Big Bang(Haru Haru) and Jiyoung Baek(as if I got gunshot) had. At KBS 《Music Bank》, the song was also ranked top for 9 weeks, and broke 7 week record that Jewelry had with the song 〈One More Time〉, but Psy broke Girls’ Generation’s record 3 years later with the song <gangnam style>, putting the song on the top for 10 weeks in a row and total 16 weeks of the top ranking. It achieved Triple Crowns at SBS <popular songs> with 3 weeks of Number 1.

The parodies of <gee> were popular on the internet or TV talks shows. Skinny jeans and white T-shirts that the members wore became popular along with the dance. The song <tell me your wish> was released on 22nd of June, and the song was ranked top at most music charts in 4 days. On 26th of June, the group had a comeback stage at KBS 《Music Bank》, where it was awarded best song of the first half year with the song <gee>. The group changed their girly fashion into military fashion concept. The dance, Jegichagi and leg show dance, was also in the middle of issue producing many parodies on TV shows. 

The album 《Tell me your wish》 was sold by over 100,000 copies, becoming the only album of female singers that sold 100,000 copies of three albums in a row for last three years.  It was ranked top at K-Chart of KBS 《Music Bank》, and Mutizen song of SBS 《Popular Songs》 for 2 weeks in July. B2S TOP20, a music chart of Thailand, ranked the song top for 4 weeks(July 27~August 23). Super Junior, the boy group of the same entertainment company, was awarded the grand prize of Golden Disk with the song <sorry, sorry>, showing off SM singers’ prominence.

In [JYP] the boy group 2PM was a success.

 Its song <again & again> was ranked top at M.net 《M-Countdown》, Mutizen song of SBS 《Popular Songs》 for 3 weeks(Triple Crowns), and top of K-Chart of KBS 《Music Bank》. Its other song <i hate you> was also ranked top at M.Net 《M-Countdown》 for 3 weeks and top of K-Chart of KBS 《Music Bank》.

2PM Single Album 《2:00PM Time For Change》, JYP Entertainment, 2009-04-16, From the collection of: RIAK: Recording Industry Association of Korea

<heartbeat> was ranked top at K-Chart of KBS <music bank> for 4 weeks and Mutizen song of SBS <popular songs> for 3 weeks.r 3 weeks.

2PM 1st Album 《1:59PM, Title Song》, JYP Entertainment, 2009-11-10, From the collection of: RIAK: Recording Industry Association of Korea

The song <no love no more> of Jinyoung Park, and 2AM’s <my friend’s confession> were JYP’s songs that were ranked high at music charts.

Park Jin Young 1st Album 《Sad Freedom》, JYP Entertainment, 2009-12-01, From the collection of: RIAK: Recording Industry Association of Korea
2AM 2nd Single Album 《Time For Confession》, JYP Entertainment, 2009-03-19, From the collection of: RIAK: Recording Industry Association of Korea

Many girl groups made their debut in that year. 

First of all, 4minute, five member girl group of Cube, made its debut. The name of the group has two meanings; one is “attracting people in 4 minutes with each member’s charm” and the other is “for a minute- will do our best for every minute”. It released its first single <hot issue> on June 15, 2009, and its first EP album <<for muzik>> was released in August of 2009, and its title song <muzik> became a big hit. 

A girl group, f(X) formed by SM, debuted on September 5th with its single <<la chata>>. Its name derived from math formula, in which the result changes according to the value of x. Like the formula, the members try to do a variety of performance with each member’s talents and attraction. In addition, “f” stands for flower, and x stands for X chromosome(female), so the combination of the two letters could mean “a flower that looks like a girl”. Their goal is to become the best pop dance group of Asia. After the debut album, it released electro sound single albums <<chu~>> and <<nu yepio>> in November.

2NE1 of YG debuted with its single <fire> in May. Its first mini album, 2NE1 1st Mini Album, was released on July 8th, and the album’s title song <i don't care> became a big hit, winning the top at Music Bank for 5 weeks over other already popular singers.

2NE1, YG Entertainmnet, From the collection of: RIAK: Recording Industry Association of Korea
2NE1 1st Mini Album, Title Song , YG Entertainmnet, 2009-07-08, From the collection of: RIAK: Recording Industry Association of Korea

Kara of DSP released a dance video of <honey>, which was selected as the next title song by fans’ ballot after the song <pretty girl> in February. It performed the song for the first time at 《Show, Music Core》, and released music video of the song on February 16. The dance of the song <honey>, aka “dipping in the honey” dance was popular, and the song was ranked high at many music charts.

Another girl group, Brown Eyed Girls was ranked top at music video charts with the song <abracadabra> along with its dance “Arrogant Dance”. As soon as the song <abracadabra> was released, its popularity skyrocketed all the music charts and public TV charts beating 2NE1, Girls’ Generation and  G-Dragon. It was ranked top of the month of August, and was awarded song of the month at Digital Music Award of Cyworld. 

Tiara of Core Entertainment debuted with its song <lie>, gathering public attention. Afterschool of [Pledis Entertainment] and Secret of [TS] made their debut in that year, which could be called the year of girl groups. Besides,<in a big trouble> by V.O.S. of Star Empire and Loen Entertainment’s <marshmallow> by IU and <8282> by Da’Vich were popular.

Credits: Story

Curation — Recording Industry Association of Korea
Head Researcher — Hye Jee Kim
Researcher — Jungzoo Yoon

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