Apparently K-Con France did get a story in Le Monde, which is great. (There were also stories outside of the K-Pop/Asian press here and here–people seemed to like Block B, anyway.) The picture and the caption are of Block B, so that’s nice, although they are not mentioned in the article itself.
In fact, the article talks almost exclusively about BTS, so AllKPop decided to put up an article saying that La (sic) Monde had named BTS the most popular K-Pop group in France–wow!–and that French students were missing their baccalauréat to see them! Which, as many commenters noted, would be quite the feat given the baccalauréat’s actual schedule, and uh, yeah, Lalalalalalala Monde didn’t actually say that about BTS–or at least Le Monde did not. (There’s also a lot of squabbling in the comments–guys, you are arguing over something that is not real. You can plug “un groupe de hip-hop de sept garçons qui comptent parmi les grandes stars du moment de la scene locale” into frickin’ Google Translate and get a more accurate understanding of what was said than what AllKPop gave you, OK?)
Of course, none of that has prevented the AllKPop story from being parroted in other outlets, because copy/paste journalism is the best journalism there is!
So, in the spirit of encouraging people to look at source material (please!!!), why don’t I take a crack at translating that Le Monde article from the French?
(I know I’m pushing the “while intoxicated” thing–I didn’t get much sleep, and I’ve had a lot of coffee? Or maybe I’m just high on life.)
Anyway, here goes:
K-Pop Has Landed in France
Caption: The South Korean group Block B during their concert at the Bercy June 2, 2016
Never mind their oral English baccalauréat tomorrow, Laurine and Mallorine could not fail to attend the most important K-Pop event organized in Europe. They were already happy to have been able to get tickets for K-Con, held in Paris on Thursday, June 2, which is happening alongside South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s visit. Since 6 am the two 17-year-old high-school students have been waiting in front of the L’AccorHotels Bercy Arena to make sure that they would benefit from an entire day dedicated to the popular culture of the Land of Morning Calm.
Neither of them has ever set foot in South Korea, but they know all the boy bands. They are especially eager to hear BTS, an acronym for Bangtan Sonyeondan, literally “Bulletproof Boy Scouts,” a hip-hop group of seven boys that at the moment is one of the great stars of the local scene.
Caption: K-Pop fans at the concert at the Bercy June 2, 2016
Fans All Over the World
They come from all four corners of France, as well as Europe, for some hours of Hallyu, the South Korean pop wave, which has long been popular among the youth of Southeast Asia and China. Ordinary people only know Psy and his “Gangnam Style,” whose YouTube video made fun of the superficiality of some of Seoul’s youth. But these days K-Pop has true fans even in this corner of the world.
For Shin Hyung-kwan, president of the division in charge of these types of shows for CJ, one of the giants of the South Korean pop industry, there is no doubt that there is a market to seduce in Europe. “We must continue to work for recognition, but there is clearly demand. 10,000 seats were sold within three hours, and we had no doubt that there would be fans,” says Mr. Shin.
The two groupies, who like many others wear sweatshirts with the BTS logo, know everything about the commercial side of boy bands. Marketing is cleverly orchestrated, details Laurine Sigot. First an online rumor, then a “teaser” and photos that appear a few months before the unveiling of a new group.
She nonetheless appreciates this foreign culture and hopes to go on a tour of South Korea when she can. “It’s vibrant music, it makes you want to dance. Some lyrics are simplistic but others are really dreamy. Some make you cry and others put you in a good mood,” confides the young woman. Backstage, the seven striking boys are already ready for the concert, during which they will succeed other names also completely unknown to the novice French person: f(X), SHINee or I.O.I.
The origins of BTS are not at all natural, the biggest star of the group, Rap Monster, age 21, birth name Kim Nam-joon, freely acknowledges, after which the manager still questions the propriety of answering the question. Everything is tightly regulated, and ever since they were assembled by a promoter in 2013, the young singers/dancers can hardly deviate from the script.
“The label had a new concept for a rap-influenced group. They held several rounds of auditions and kept the seven best,” says Rap Monster, his hair bleached with a touch of gray-green. He adds, “It was destiny.”
That’s the article. If you’re hoping for more factory-music stereotyping, I’ll translate the one (pretty fucking hysterical) comment!
An unappeasable industry, without fault, without soul, without moral rules other than those of the producer: Cash, it’s invested and should be recouped as soon as possible, never mind about the talent, no matter the method, the physical (training) and moral consequences to the exploited, the “artists” come last….