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A few weeks ago, Jung Kook — a member of the world-beating K-pop group BTS — released his solo debut album, “Golden,” a sleek affair notable for high-profile collaborators on its tracks and behind the scenes, as well as for the fact that it’s sung fully in English.
That’s a logical extension of the shift undertaken by BTS beginning in the late 2010s and into the early 2020s, when it became the biggest pop act in the world, and focused its energies on the American marketplace. But it also is part of a longer story about how K-pop has been expanding its global reach, which has in turn altered the priorities of some of its biggest stars and record labels.
On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about K-pop’s long march to American awareness and embrace, the earlier acts that began making inroads with American pop audiences, and whether there’s a point at which K-pop delivered fully in English ceases to be K-pop at all.