2000s Korean Pop Music History - THE YEAR OF 2008

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 2008 can be called Wonder Girls’ big year. It had a hit song <so hot> in the first half of the year, and <nobody> was a big hit during the second half of the year. 

The song <so hot> was ranked top at K-Chart of 《Music Bank》 for 5 consecutive weeks, Mutizen song of 《Popular Songs》 for 3 weeks, and top at 《M-Countdown》 of M.Net for 3 weeks.

<nobody> was also a big success with top at K-Chart of 《Music Bank》 for 4 weeks in October. 

Later, Wonder Girls announced expansion its market to America debuting with the single <nobody>, which was ranked 76th of Billboard Hot 100 as a Korean group first time in 30 years. It held Wonder Girls World Tour through the US and Canada, which contributed to the development of Korean singers’ market in abroad.

JYP’s 2PM had a hit song of <10 out of 10> and 2AM debuted with <this song>, and these two boy groups showed the potential of men “Idol” groups.

TVXQ of SM was popular in and out of Korea. The 16th single album 〈Purple Line〉 that was released in Japan on January 16, 2008 was ranked top at Oricon daily chart for the first time, competing with Acid Black Cherry and WaT. 

The group made a comeback in Korea with The 4th Album 《MIROTIC》, the title song 〈MIROTIC〉. It sold almost 500,000 copies from September to the end of December. With this bestselling album, it was awarded grand prize of Golden Disk, the album of the year at Mnet KM Music Festival, grand prize of new generation pop of Korean Culture Entertainment Awards, and MVP of KBS Music Bank.

 It swept all the end-of-year music awards. The group also put 4 single albums, 《Purple Line》, 《Beautiful you/千年恋歌》, 《どうして君を好きになってしまったんだろう?》, 《MIROTIC》 top on Japan Oricon Weekly Chart, which was the most top ranks record of 2008 in Japan throughout all singers including J-POP singers. It also broke the record of 4 time top honor at Oricon Weekly Chart as a first foreign artist in Japanese music history. This group enjoyed its heyday in Japan and Korea.

Shinee of SM debuted with the song <nuna, you are too pretty>, and gathered public’s attention by making a song <you are like oxygen> a bit hit. Girls’ Generation was loved by the public with songs <kissing you> and <baby baby>.

Big Bang of YG showed its growth with the title song <haru haru> of its third album 《Stand Up》, and Taeyang, the member of the Big Bang contributed to the group’s popularity with the song <only look at me>. Big Bang won Song Of The Month of August at 《Cyworld Digital Music Awards》, grand prize of pop music at 《2008 Korean Congress Awards》, and the singer of the year at 《M.net KM Music Festival》 with the song <haru haru>.

It was also ranked top at K-Chart of KBS Music Bank for 5 weeks, top at M.net 《M-Countdown》, Mutizen Song of SBS 《Popular Songs》 for 3 weeks. The group also released the remake song <sunset glow> originally sung by Moonse Lee.

In the meanwhile, IU of Loen Entertainment debuted in that year.

 IU, which is combination I and YOU, means “you and I become one with music”. 

She had a debut stage at MNet 《M-Countdown》 with the title song <mia> of her first mini album <<lost and found>> on September 18, 2008, and the stage of the first public TV station was MBC 《Show! Music Core》 two days later.

 Actually, the song <mia>, which is hybrid pop ballad with electronic sound and hip hop rhythm, did not gather the public’s attention, but she gained recognition as a singer with her singing ability and broad spectrum from chorus to aria unlike 15 year old girl. 

As a result, her album was selected for ‘selection of the best new singer’s album of the month and Public Relations Project´ by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Many other girl groups were also popular. Jewelry of [Star Empire] had a big hit song <one more time>, enjoying its second heyday with the popularity of “ET Dance”. 

Davich of [Core] made a name with its ballad songs <cause i love you even though i hate you> and <putting on thick lipstick> of its debut album <<amaranth>> in February, and in summer, it established its status as a female duo with singing ability by releasing a dance song <love and war>. 

Brown Eyed Girls got attention with excellent singing ability and genuine emotions, and as soon as its song <l.o.v.e> was released, it became popular very quickly. 

Hyori Lee of Finkle, which is called the first generation of girl group, had a popular song <u go girl>. She released her third regular album <<it's hyorish>>, and the album received mostly favorable reviews, with compliment “She had a head-to-head contest with the global current.”  The album was the best selling album among female singers’ and the top of Korean music chart in 2008, selling 100,000 copies until 2010. The title song of the album <u-go-girl> featured by Natsun was ranked top at SBS《Popular Songs》, KBS《Music Bank》 and M.net《M-Countdown》. 

The next song <hey mr. big> was also ranked top at SBS《Popular Songs》. It had been first time in 9 years after Finkle that she won 1st place with the second song, and first time as a solo.

Credits: Story

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

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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