K-pop (abbreviation of Korean popular music or Korean pop; Hangul: 케이팝) is a music genre originating in South Korea, characterized by a wide variety of audiovisual elements. Although it includes all genres of "popular music" within South Korea, the term is often used in a narrower sense to describe a modern form of South Korean pop music drawing inspiration from a range of styles and genres from around the world, such as Western pop music, rock, experimental, jazz, gospel, Latin, hip hop, R&B, reggae, electronic dance, folk, country and classical on top of its uniquely traditional Korean music roots. The more modern form of the genre emerged with one of the earliest K-pop groups, Seo Taiji and Boys, forming in 1992. Their experimentation with different styles and genres of music and integration of foreign musical elements helped reshape and modernize South Korea's contemporary music scene. Modern K-pop "idol" culture began with the boy band H.O.T. in 1996, as K-pop grew into a subculture that amassed enormous fandoms of teenagers and young adults. After a slump in early K-pop, from 2003 TVXQ and BoA started a new generation of K-pop idols that broke the music genre into the neighboring Japanese market and continue to popularize K-pop internationally today. With the advent of online social networking services and Korean TV shows, the current global spread of K-pop and Korean entertainment, known as the Korean Wave, is seen not only in East and Southeast Asia but also Latin America, India, North Africa, the Middle East and the Western world, gaining a widespread global audience.
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