Korean pop’s American conquest has taken a very Paris turn. Sure, K-pop stars Girls Generation performed earlier this year on late-night TV, and their countryfolk 2NE1 conquered Times Square this past December. But now K-pop’s assimilation of gloriously tacky American pop is complete and official: Paris Hilton will star in an upcoming video by South Korean singer Kim Jang Hoon, English-language Korean pop culture website Soompi reports.
Shooting for the video, which will be available in both 2D and 3D, is scheduled in L.A. and Malibu from August 23-25, a representative for Kim Jang Hoon’s agency told Soompi. “We were thinking of Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johansson, and Paris Hilton as possible leading ladies for the new music video,” the rep is quoted as saying. “We conducted a survey in Korea to see who was most widely recognized and realized that Paris was the one.”
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K-pop has a unique financial imperative to expand globally. According to a fascinating report in the latest issue of the Economist, many Korean pop music fans “rent” music through subscription-based services. Under these deals, artists and labels reportedly earn as little as 30 won (less than 3 cents) per track, which must be split among composers, performers, and the label. Agency/label/publisher SM Entertainment’s head has said 1 million downloads aren’t even enough to make up for the expense of producing a single music video.
In other words, what might help Kim Jang Hoon most is not necessarily how famous Hilton is in Korea, but how famous she is across the rest of the world. And, as we learned from Mad Men, Hilton is the same in every language. To the moon, Paris!