Since right before the turn of the century, K-pop has been increasing in international popularity thanks to the Hallyu Wave (also known as the Korean Wave). Because of it, many idol groups like EXO, BTS, miss A, KARA, AOA, Wonder Girls, Super Junior, 4Minute, SISTAR, BEAST, TVXQ, BIGBANG, 2NE1, GFriend, TWICE, and Girls' Generation are household names pertaining to music. The same can be said about solo acts like Ailee, BoA, and IU. However, these idol groups and soloists wouldn't be as big as they are now if it weren't for the music labels they work under like JYP Entertainment, YG Entertainment, CUBE Entertainment, and many others.
However, the music label that made the biggest impact for K-pop is easily SM Entertainment. Under the tutelage of its owner and president, Lee Soo Man, SM Entertainment has earned so many accolades over the years including being the label who made the most popular idol girl group in K-pop (Girls' Generation) and the most popular idol group in Japan (TVXQ). On a side note, Girls' Generation even holds a recognition for having the second most influential song for the Hallyu Wave, "Gee".
Now Lee Soo Man is pushing innovation yet again for SM Entertainment when he recently announced the label will release a brand new song every week for a whole year. And to begin the label's new endeavor will be Taeyeon of Girls' Generation.
SM Entertainment's president made the announcement on January 27, 2016, at the SMTOWN: New Culture Technology, 2016, as reported by Seoul Wave. Lee Soo Man says that every week, 52 weeks out of the year, a new song will be launched through a new digital music channel known as Station. It should also be noted that songs will also include collaborations with overseas artists, producers, and brands. By doing this, SM Entertainment will have an expansive role in the Hallyu Wave.
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With international appeal in mind, Lee Soo Man's Station might be his latest attempt to truly break into the most popular music industry in the world today, the American music industry. We do know that in the past, Soo Man has done what he can to get K-pop acts accepted in said industry. BoA was first with her track "Eat You Up" followed by an American album name after her. Second was Girls' Generation with an English version track of "The Boys" followed with an American release of the album named after the track. Despite their international popularity, both BoA and Girls' Generation failed to gain traction.
If Lee Soo Man does want to break into any other music industry, Station is surely a safe bet given its invitation for collaboration. As mentioned earlier, Taeyeon will begin the the year-long weekly releases of digital tracks, as mentioned by AllKpop. Her track is titled "Rain," and SMTOWN's official YouTube page already released two teaser videos for it. From what can be deduced from the teasers, it seems as if the upcoming music video will be played in reverse as the room Taeyeon is in starts out flooded with water then ends up dry. As for the track itself, it is a medium-tempo track with a jazzy and modern sound.
Station is believed to release its first song on February 3, 2016, as that is the official release date provided by SM Entertainment for the music video's release. No mention if "Station" will be available elsewhere, but it can be assumed any place that dominantly uses Apple Music and iTunes may not be included.
[Image via SM Entertainment Promotions]