PROJECT UPDATE: The Music of SHINee

The Music of SHINee is a digital exhibit, part of the digital humanities project KPOPCULTURE. It provides an overview of the music of K-pop group SHINee, including promotional tracks as well as deep cuts and song credit information.

Research is one of the most inefficient processes on the planet, and mine is no exception.  While Soul in Seoul will have all kinds of insights about the way African American popular music informs K-pop, there is a lot of things (a lot!) that will not make it into the book. What to do?

I found I could use this extra material in my digital humanities project, KPOPCULTURE, which curates K-pop through digital exhibits and functions as a resource. While different from my traditional scholarship, it still bears the hallmarks of research.

The dictionary defines research as “the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.” “The Music of SHINee” is the result of systematic investigation and reaches new conclusions.  I conceived of these music exhibits to help users get a better idea of the music of K-pop artists, which is often overlooked even in scholarship on K-pop. Rather than just gather all of the songs, I curated an artist’s discography in a systematic way by turning to the people who knew the most: fans. From my other work on K-pop fans, I knew that fans were drawn first and foremost by the music and they arguably spend more time with K-pop music than even professional pop music critics in media. Using views would have been problematic, as viewing videos has become less of a metric for quality and more of a measure for popularity. Also, views only focus on promotional tracks which are usually attached to music videos, while fans also love deeper cuts on albums.

I had my trusty undergraduate research assistant De’Siree Fairley compile songs from SHINee playlists on YouTube, then compile a list of common songs.  I also compiled a list of “best songs” from all those music reviews I’d consulted for the book. I created one large playlist,  included song credit information about each, and looked for patterns. Only by putting this “data” together could I come to some conclusions. For example, contrary to what many say about K-pop “idols,” members of SHINee creatively contributed to their music. Instead of simply outsourcing music production, SHINee uses a combination of Korean, Swedish, Danish and American music producers. SHINee’s early music, beginning with the unparalleled debut of “Noona Neomu Yeppo” in 2008, continues to resonate with fans, challenging the notion that K-pop is disposable.

Moreover, technology allows the exhibit to function as a resource for users. The Omeka platform allows me to embed a playlist, so users can listen to a song while consulting song credit information in the exhibit. Naming the creative people behind K-pop makes their work visible and helps users to expand their knowledge of K-pop.

There you have it! A behind-the-scenes look at K-pop scholarship!

Creative Commons License
PROJECT UPDATE: The Music of SHINee by Crystal S. Anderson, PhD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

PROJECT UPDATE: K-pop Producer Yoo Young Jin

The new exhibit on KPOPCULTURE, Yoo Young Jin, provides an overview of one of K-pop’s most influential music producers. Not only has Yoo worked on some of the most recognizable and enduring K-pop songs, he has also produced his own material. The exhibit provides an overview of his most popular work as well as a Curated Playlist that delves into other tracks with the groups with whom he works the most, including SHINee, TVXQ, Super Junior and Shinhwa (when they were on the SM Entertainment label).

This exhibit is part of the KPOPCULTURE digital humanities project, which curates modern Korean popular music (K-pop) and the culture that surrounds it through digital exhibitions of music, choreography, fandom and industry.

PROJECT UPDATE: New Asian Drama Digital Humanities Project


OMO!: Korean and Chinese Drama and Commentary is my newest digital humanities project, which curates information on dramas and the global response to them in the form of reviews. It represents not only resource creation but also an examination of how global audiences make meaning of this transnational popular culture.

The project also includes the work of undergraduate researchers, providing the valuable experience of working on a research project. The first exhibit, City Hunter (2011), includes an analysis of the promotional poster as well as an overview as well as short-form and longer reviews compiled by De’siree Fairley, undergraduate research assistant. Users can view complete reviews in Evernote. As the project includes more dramas, we hope that we can determine a pattern in the consumption of dramas by global audiences.

New Survey! Not the Only One: Multi-Fandoms and K-pop

Can’t decide which K-pop group or artist is your favorite? You are not alone! Global fans of K-pop tend to support several groups and artists at the same time, while their Korean counterparts tend to support only one group or artist. But why? And which groups tend to be in a global fan’s multi-fandom? This study seeks to answer these questions in survey that uses open-ended and multiple-choice questions. Take the survey and tell your friends!

Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/kpopmultifandom

A Not So New K-pop Survey: Last Fans Standing: Veteran Fans of K-pop

One of the things that happens when conducting qualitative surveys is that they can raise more questions than they answer. This is what happened with the preliminary data from Last Fans Standing: Longtime and Adult Fans of Korean Popular Music (K-pop). Response rates were unusually low, which was unusual given the rising number of fans who have been fans for more than five years. I speculated that respondents may think that only adult fans who had also been fans for five years or more could take the survey. So, I revised the survey to focus solely on veteran fans of K-pop, individuals who had been fans for five years or more. The revised survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/vetfans !

Last Fans Standing: Longtime and Adult Fans of Korean Popular Music (K-pop)

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This survey has been revised! Click here for new survey!!!

Most people assume that the only audience for modern Korean popular music (K-pop) is teenagers. As a result, they also assume that K-pop music lacks longevity.  However, the presence of longtime fans suggests that K-pop remains appealing to some fans for years. The existence of adult fans challenges the notion that K-pop only appeals to teenagers. Both groups represent understudied demographics in studies of K-pop fandom.  This project uses multiple case study and oral history to understand K-pop’s lasting appeal.

Multiple Case Study

This multiple case study seeks to understand why individuals remain K-pop fans for years and why adults find K-pop appealing. For three years, I will be asking questions about these atypical fans of K-pop. This survey contains several open-ended and multiple-choice questions that ask how fans see themselves and ask about their K-pop music preferences and fan activity.

 

K-pop Essentials: Shinhwa

Source:
Shinhwa

The ‘Essentials” series is part of my digital humanities project, KPopCulture, which curates the music, visual culture, choreography, promotions, media and fan culture of K-pop that support this global cultural production. “Essentials” items tell you about a group through playlists of key music videos, performances, choreography and promotional videos. It also offers a bibliography of articles, music reviews and videos. The first ‘Essentials’ item is, fittingly, on Shinhwa, the longest-running K-pop group with its original members. Click here and enjoy!