Billboard makes (sound)waves with Social 50

Billboard, a music industry company known for its Hot 100 and weekly magazine, has recently added a new chart to its catalogue. Joining the Hot 200, which tracks the best-selling albums of the week and the celebrity popularity meter the Social 50, is the K-Pop Hot 100.

The K-Pop chart was created with the help of Billboard Korea, but U.S. representatives believe it has big potential.

“We’re excited to be expanding Billboard’s globally recognized Hot 100 chart franchise into this country, and look forward to enhancing the the K-Pop Hot 100 chart in the near future with additional data as well as creating new charts that showcase the breadth of Korean music,” said Billboard’s Director of Charts Silvio Pietroluongo on the company’s website.

But what does Billboard’s expansion to Korea really mean? Scrutiny of the first No. 1 single on the chart, Sistar’s “So Cool,” reveals Korean music will simply be further Americanized through the process of integrating into Billboard’s single-based music strategy.

Production in the song features the dance-hall synths that both Pitbull and LMFAO have been exploiting lately, and the chorus in “So Cool” is in English, while the remaining versus are sung in Korean. The music video for the song plays like a less gritty TLC clip with a splash of Disneyesque pop star dance moves. If the song were on mute, one would have trouble thinking it anything but the creation of an American record label.

The catchiness of the top five tracks on the K-Pop Hot 100 is undeniable, and the production of their sister videos is as flashy as the lights of Seoul. Nothing groundbreaking musically is coming out of these songs, but they do sell well.

Billboard’s international outlook is a smart business venture, one that we’d all be wise to keep an eye out for.