- 02 Nov 21
The arena will hold more than 50,000 fans and will be surrounded by K-Pop inspired shops, restaurants, and hotels.
Construction has officially begun on South Korea's first stadium dedicated solely to K-Pop in Seoul.
The arena, to be named CJ LiveCity Arena, broke ground on October 27th. The project is being led by the South Korean conglomerate CJ Group. With 20,000 indoor seats and an additional 40,000 outdoor capacity, the stadium aims to be Seoul's premier K-Pop performance space.
Promising cutting edge technology which will allow for large scale performance to be built up and stripped down in a single day; the organisers believe they will be able to run over 190 sessions a year. The project is slated for completion in 2024.
But CJ LiveCity aims to be more than just a space for K-Pop artists to perform. The company is planning to build an entire neighbourhood dedicated to Korean IP's - ranging from TV series to music. Taking over part of Metropolitan Seoul’s Goyang City, the neighbourhood will include themed hotels and restaurants as well as rollercoasters and shopping complexes.
Alongside the new neighbourhood, the CJ Group has announced the simultaneous release of a virtual replica accessible through the Metaverse. In what is being touted as a first, Virtual LiveCity will allow visitors to interact and communicate with one another in real-time while exploring a space closely linked to the real world.
The stadium is the first to be dedicated specifically to K-Pop, the music phenomenon which has taken off in the last few years. Korean pop artists such as BLACKPINK and BTS have broken into mainstream success - with many of their songs racking up billions of views on YouTube. In 2020 K-Pop experienced a record-breaking year, with a near 50% growth in listeners.
K-Pop has been around since the '90s, starting off as a subculture mostly for teenagers and young adults. The central component to the genre, even more so than the music, are the 'idols' at its centre. Unlike western music - where musicians and bands develop more naturally - Korean pop is a highly structured affair, with entertainment agencies starting to train the performers to sing and dance from an early age.
In a twist of fate, the first K-Pop act to truly break into the mainstream was a man who neither fit the image nor the traditional path: PSY. 'Gangnam Style' success was ubiquitous. It was the first YouTube video to break one billion views, the iconic horse-riding dance was inescapable, and it spawned more parodies than anyone can count. The track was arguably the most important cultural phenomenon of 2012.
And while K-Pop's success would not follow immediately after, the same elements which allowed for the PSY phenomenon would be essential to the genre's rise. Increasingly easy access to international content through YouTube and the enhanced word of mouth marketing of social media allowed for PSY's playful song about a snobby Seoul neighbourhood to become a hit phenomenon.
Following PSY's blueprint, groups like BIG BANG and Girls' Generation saw some early success in 2015-16. But it wasn't until 2018 that K-Pop really took over, spearheaded by boy band BTS. Voted Top Social Artist at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, the group blew up the following year. The first Korean band to reach number one in Billboards 100, BTS has collaborate with the likes of Nicki Minaj, Halsey, and Steve Aoki.
The international success over the past few years is one of the motivations for the construction of the new K-Pop arena, as it aims to become a global destination for the 100 million fans all around the world.
Photo Credit: Business Wire
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