February 17, 2014

Dear SM: How to Break Into the American Market

"Dear SM..." is a new series in which I write open letters to SM suggesting new paths to take.  Hopefully someone from their LA office will read this and offer me a job.

Dear SM,
Lately you've been looking towards the American market.  Maybe, after the Wonder Girls and BoA failed to make their mark and PSY had his 15 minutes, the Hallyu Wave has died in the West.  But there are other ways that you aren't considering.

You've tried to debut big pop stars like Girls' Generation, but the US is biased towards their blond and brown haired Caucasian beauties.  Americans and the West could be persuaded to accept an Asian singer if it's done the right way.

  1. Find a potential star and build them from the ground up.
  2. Sing ballads and aim for a slightly older fan base.

Find a potential star and build them from the ground up.
America loves a "from the ground up" star.  Look at Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, or Justin Beiber (even though he's Canadian).  They get their start as nobodies and are noticed for their talent.  America loves to root for the person they made themselves.

You're good a finding potential stars through your Global Auditions.  Find a youngster with the talent and the looks who speaks fluent English.  Prime examples from your existing roster are Henry, Amber, and Tiffany.  I'm sorry, but Westerners, Americans in particular, don't take to foreign accents unless they're British or European.  Kris is a fluent speaker, but Americans are going to rail on his accent - even the Jung sisters wouldn't do for the majority.
Then, have these guys open up a YouTube channel.  Have them do covers and/or original music for their fans in an accessible environment.  Make them the next Karmin.  Let them reach out to fans personally through Twitter, Facebook, and jtv.  Base the artist in the US.

Sing ballads and aim for a slightly older fan base.
Ballads will attract more of an older college crowd.  This crowd may be more forgiving to accents and then a star with accents like the Jung sisters would be acceptable.  A more bluesy edge (like what Lee Hi is doing) worked for Adele and Amy Winehouse and could help you get a foot in the door.  

This is just a suggestion and the tip of the iceberg.
Much love and hugs,