Girls Generation's Tiffany shows off their "Video of the Year" award
Girls Generation’s Tiffany shows off their “Video of the Year” award
The Youtube Music Awards took place on November 3rd, and for many K-Pop fans, all eyes were on the results of the Video of the Years results. The competition was stiff, however K-pop was being well represented by not only Psy (an expected feature after Gangnam Style and Gentleman) but also Girls Generation. The nominees were as follows:

  • Demi Lovato: “Heart Attack”
  • Epic Rap Battles of History: “Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney”
  • Girls’ Generation: “I Got A Boy” 
  • Justin Bieber (feat. Nicki Minaj): “Beauty And A Beat”
  • Lady Gaga: “Applause”
  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (feat. Mary Lambert): “Same Love”
  • Miley Cyrus: “We Can’t Stop”
  • One Direction: “Best Song Ever”
  • PSY: “Gentleman”
  • Selena Gomez: “Come & Get It”

K-Pop was going head to head against some of the most die-hard music fandoms on earth: the Beliebers, the Little Monsters, and Directioners (Really, their names are rather not creative compared to k-pop fan clubs, lets be honest…) These were chart topping, world conquering songs that took over the world, and in the English speaking world, everyone assumed that it would be an easy win for Bieber, Gaga, or One Direction.
However, Youtube didn’t base their decision off of record sales or radio plays. It went off of internet votes and video views. And k-pop fans, you are the master of driving those.
Near the end of the voting period, here is what the totals looked like:

  1. Girls Generation: “I Got A Boy” – 3,375,000 votes
  2. Demi Lovato: “Heart Attack” – 308,000 votes
  3. Lady Gaga: “Applause” – 303,000 votes
  4. One Direction: “Best Song Ever” – 155,000 votes
  5. Justin Bieber (feat. Nicki Minaj): “Beauty And A Beat” – 113,000 votes
  6. Miley Cyrus: “We Can’t Stop” – 109,000 votes
  7. Selena Gomez: “Come & Get It” – 98,000 votes
  8. Epic Rap Battles of History: “Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney” – 22,000 votes
  9. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (feat. Mary Lambert): “Same Love” – 17,000 votes
  10. PSY: “Gentleman” – 16,000 votes
Girls Generation
Girls Generation
Sones, that’s not even fair. You didn’t beat the others. You destroyed them. Girls generation got more votes THAN ALL OF THE OTHER NOMINEES PUT TOGETHER. For a brief moment, the internet was left speechless once again because South Korea came out on top with another song that seemed to blow everything else out of the water. And the most hilarious part of it is, “I’ve Got a Boy” is probably one of the more harshly critiqued songs that SNSD have, due to the intentional choppy sounds and integration of rap which is a far cry from their previous classics. That being said, “I Got a Boy” may have a bit more of an international appeal to it, the lack of it being cotton candy sweet and innocent (at least without knowing the meaning of the lyrics) appealing to new, western listeners.
Of course, the back lash has started. Of course, the fans of Bieber, Gaga, and all those others are hurt and confused (and racist!) But they only have themselves to blame. Becoming comfortable in your world class status is never a good thing, especially when you have no idea what is happening in other countries (Like English speaking fans tend to do.)
For you, k-pop loving readers of ours, you should take inspiration from this. This is not the first time that K-Pop fans have completely dominated an online poll. As far back as 2007, Rain fans were overwhelming the polls for the Time Magazine and voted him as the most influential person for 2007 in their Online Top 100, despite not even being in the magazine list. (For many people, their first experience with K-Pop was through Stephen Colbert’s running faux feud with Rain.) Big Bang took the Best Worldwide Act at the 2011 MTV EMA awards, beating Britney Spears. And of course, there was the international success of Gangnam Style that took over the planet due to its catchy tune and ridiculous video that won over millions.
Your voting power power is what propelled SNSD to the top for Youtube, because voting and sharing was the ONLY way to get success. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about weekly charts in South Korea. However, international fans need to realize that there IS power in what they can accomplish, if they actually take the time to do it.
The most practical application of this would be with the Inkigayo ranking system. While 50% of the scores are digital (which is incredibly difficult for international fans to affect), 30% of the score is from SNS voting, and 20% is from mobile voting.
This means that 30% of the total score comes from things like Twitter hash tags, Youtube popularity, sharing, and general internet activity for the group. These kinds of activities were outlined in our previous How To article, How To Help Korean Groups from Overseas Effectively. As well, a huge 20% of the score comes just from voting from the SOTY application. If fans can remember to vote daily, they can make a big difference in the scores for their group. This is a big influence if your group is considered weak digitally compared to their physical sales (aka most male groups.)
As well, what K-pop fans need to start learning from events like this is to be comfortable in their own skin. There is an incredible tendency for fans of k-pop to feel a need to prove themselves against their English language counterparts, to prove that the music they listen to is just as good as the Lady Gaga’s and the Justin Beibers of the world. As these international award shows begin to become more popular, and put more weight on the fan votes over the financial successes of the groups, it’s becoming clear that the fans of k-pop are just as strong and vibrant as any other international group. K-pop fans need to stop feeling like every win is more proof that what they are listening to is good. If you like what you are listening to, then it is good. That’s the beautiful thing about the internet: it lets you find music that speaks directly to your heart.

  1. Sorry. It is Youtube’s Fault. Don’t take it on us Kfans. We have nothing to do with it. I know you are a fan of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. But still don’t bash Girls Generation and the other Korean Idol Groups just because they won on that awards awards. Duh?

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