[NEWS IN-DEPTH] Avatars are K-Pop's New Superstars: Future of K-pop

현실과 가상의 공존… 메타버스 시대 케이팝 그룹의 변화: 김영대 평론가

We speak of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, driverless cars, internet-of-things…
But, who would’ve thought of putting that in the same sentence with K-pop?
Well, apparently Avatars – like the ones you see on a sci-fi flick – could be K-pop’s next superstars – the future of entertainment.
Let’s talk about it on News In-depth tonight with our music critic, Youngdae Kim. He’s live in the studio with me.

We talk about innovation, flying taxi, AI robots, humanoids, and it looks like that virtual reality has moved on to K-pop, as well.
æspa is one of the newest additions to the K-pop idol groups that debuted late last year.
They comprise four real-life Korean pop stars – Karina, Winter, Ning Ning, and Giselle – together with their corresponding virtual counterparts. They are already explosive in popularity. Tell us a bit about this hybrid part human, part avatar girl group. What’s driving their popularity?

I mean, for those of us not too familiar with this universe, we’re going to need some time to understand how they work. The team has got virtual avatars of each of the members and the four virtual members and four physical members supposedly interact with each other in the “metaverse.” What does this mean? And how does it work?

Perhaps Aespa’s popularity has been propelled by the pandemic because no physical concerts could be held, and fans had to rely on what’s available on the digital realm. Aespa’s unique combination of both physical and virtual members playing different functions may have played to their advantage in this day and age. Do you predict there will be more groups like these in the future? Do you think they’ll receive as much love and attention as their physical counterparts?

There’s also a K-pop girl group created using artificial intelligence (AI), the 11-member group Eternity. Understandably, AI idols can definitely be a better, more perfect version of idols and safer product for companies to invest in. But K-pop groups have until now been characterized by hard work, determination, and stories of personal triumphs and failures that fans can relate to. Do you think this new model of creating virtual identities or even virtual idols without human counterparts, could possibly change the nature of K-pop and what defines it?

However, from a social point of view, could this not create a problematic set of relationships back when you meet the real celebrity that you may forget what the boundaries are? Are there any risks for mental health and personal privacy?

A very new world that we’re navigating. Youngdae Kim, thank you for an enlightening session. We appreciate it.

#K_pop #Avatar #Future

2021-07-22, 19:00 (KST)