Monster hits by K-pop bands and Spanish-speaking rappers show it’s not necessary to sing in English to conquer the world
A band has attained a certain stature when its “world tour” consists of an imperial sweep through four continents, with just half a dozen concerts in each. The South Korea-based girl group Blackpink are currently midway through just such a jaunt – next month, they arrive in Europe to play six dates (London and Manchester included).
Remarkably, this high-visibility procession is the first time the K-pop quartet have toured outside Korea or Japan; more remarkable still, they’ve released just one album and a scant handful of tracks – and while they’ve made English-language videos, most of their material is in Korean or Japanese. Nonetheless, they’re adored by a worldwide fanbase, for whom language is no barrier. Recent industry figures underline the strength of the global music market, with some suggesting the place of the English language at the forefront of pop is diminishing.