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K-pop (an abbreviation of Korean Pop; Hangul: 케이팝; RR: kei-pap) is a musical genre originating in South Korea that is characterized by a wide variety of audiovisual elements. Although it comprises all genres of "popular music" within South Korea, the term is more often used in a narrower sense to describe a modern form of South Korean pop music covering: dance-pop, pop ballad, electronic, rock, metal, hip-hop music and R&B. In 1992, modern K-pop was ushered in with the formation of Seo Taiji & Boys, whose successful experimentation with different music styles had sparked a paradigm shift in the music industry of South Korea. As a result, the integration of foreign musical elements has now become a common practice in the K-pop industry. As Korean pop culture is becoming a increasingly globalized phenomenon and globally popular in many parts of the world allows South Korea to utilize its pop cultural sector to access, tap and break into foreign entertainment markets. By tapping into social networking services and the video sharing platform YouTube, the K-pop industry's ability to secure a sizable overseas audience has facilitated a noticeable rise in the global proliferation of the genre. Since the mid-2000s, the K-pop music market has experienced double digit growth rates. In the first half of 2012, it grossed nearly US$3.4 billion and was recognized by Time magazine as "South Korea's Greatest Export". First gaining popularity in East Asia in the late 1990s, K-pop entered the Japanese music market towards the turn of the 21st century. In the late 2000s, it grew from a musical genre into a subculture among teenagers and young adults of East and Southeast Asia. Currently, the spread of K-pop to other regions of the world, via the Korean Wave, is seen in parts of Latin America, Northeast India, North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and immigrant enclaves of the Western world.

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