Sounds: The Genre You'll Soon Be Sick Of


K-pop hitmakers Big Bang

The propulsive bass lines of electronic dance music (EDM) reached eyeroll-inducing ubiquity in 2012. In June, the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas drew more than 320,000 fans. DJs like Tiësto (who earns $22 million a year) and Deadmau5 (a high-profile Grammy performer) became pop's buzziest stars. But in July, an insurgent musical movement threatened to encroach when the chubby Korean rapper Psy's dance-filled video for "Gangnam Style" quickly became the most "liked" in the history of YouTube. It introduced many Americans to K-pop (Korean pop), the effervescent genre that has conquered much of the world but suffered from what you could call a soccer problem in the U.S. No longer: Scooter Braun, the Svengali behind Justin Bieber, signed Psy, and the all-female Girls' Generation will follow a Letterman appearance with their first English-language album next year. Mark James Russell, author of Pop Goes Korea, likes the genre's chances for supremacy. "In the YouTube age, you need to be able to go to 11 or more to stand out," he says. "K-pop starts at 11."