For the most part, the American music industry is composed of solo artists and small groups. Quick: think of a popular song right now. Is the singer of that song a solo act? Or is it by a band? If the song is performed by a band, can you name any band member other than the lead singer? Chances are, the song you’re thinking of is sung by one person or a band with maybe four or five members at the most.
For me personally, I can think of at least a dozen popular American solo singers off the top of my head. I can think of a few bands too, but they usually only have one or two vocals in the group. Boy bands and girl groups have been popular in America in the past, but not so much recently. These days, it’s all about the individual.
In contrast, the pop music industry of Japan and South Korea is based heavily on singing groups. Yes, there are solo artists but few dominate the charts on the level that these boy bands and girl groups do. Japan has successful groups like Exile (fourteen members), Kanjani8 (seven members), and AKB48 (more than eighty members). South Korea has Super Junior (currently twelve members), Girls Generation (nine members), and EXO (twelve members). These examples are just a few of the large pop groups that both countries have to offer.
What I’ve discovered through my time on the internet is that fans of Western music (I won’t say just Americans because that’s too specific of a description) are somewhat intimidated by the large amount of singers in just one group. It’s a bit disconcerting at first, isn’t it? Say that you’re a fan of Christina Aguilera. You put on one of her music videos or go to one of her concerts and all you focus on is her. Sure, there may be backup singers or backup dancers, but that’s just for decoration really. Christina is why you are watching. So when you watch a music video for Girls Generation and you are suddenly confronted with NINE different singers, you don’t quite know how to react. Who should you focus on?