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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 .