It seems that the popularity of 'trot' is on the rise. Aren't you curious about what happened to the Korean music market? ST reporter analyzed the popularity of 'trot'. ........................ Ed
In the movie Highway Star, the main character Bong Dal-ho is embarrassed to debut as a trot singer, so he wears a mask and goes on air. The status of the trot, which was considered to be tacky, has changed. Contrary to the popular belief that trot songs and CDs are most likely seen on express way rest areas, cable channels' back numbers, and grandparents' playlist, trot can be easily found on music charts, TV, and radio these days.
The last episode of Mr. Trot, which is the main character in the trot craze, had a viewership rating of over 35 percent, and the ratings of programs featuring trot-related materials have increased as much as three times. Nationally known and popular MC Yoo Jae-suk has reached his second heyday as a rookie trot singer named "Yusanseul." His song Hapjeoung Station Exit 5, which was released through the entertainment show Hangout with Yoo, also entered Melon Chart music site. In fact, the number of searches for trot in 2018 more than tripled from 37,230 to 379,583 in 2019, while Genie Music, a music website, reported a 5.8-fold increase in trot from last year on the TOP200 chart.
What is the origin of the Trot Fever? It first started as the OPAL generation. OPAL is the acronym for "Old People with Active Lives" because they follow young people's tastes and brands to form new consumption trends and buy their own content. "Middle-aged people in Korea are actively using mobile devices and consuming culture by reacting sensitively to changes of the times," said Kim Kyo-seok, a cultural critic. "The change in the middle-aged people has created a new fandom that affects viewers."
However, trot is not exclusive to the middle-aged. Since trot is applied to broadcasts that are familiar to people in their 20s and 30s, such as auditions and contests, it is not considered as just a boring culture for the older people. Trot singers run YouTube channels and also host "V Live", where they have real-time video conversations with fans. On top of that, Hangout with Yoo’s "Bbong For You" feature caught the attention of people in their 20s and 30s. Yoo Jae-seok was challenged to become a trot rookie singer under the name of "Yusanseul," and when national MC Yoo Jae-seok appeared, a hot topic appeared on SNS (social networking service) and trot quickly became a special genre. "These days, trot singers are open to genres and they have a wide range of music," said Jung Duk-hyun, a pop culture critic. "Even those in their 20s and 30s are interested in unusual young sensibilities and have become content, which encompasses all generations."
In fact, 43.3% of those who went on ticketing at the Seoul concert where the Mr. Trot performers took the stage were in their 20s, and those in their 30s reached 36.5%. In other words, those in their 20s and 30s recorded about 80% of all bookings. In some cases, tickets may have been purchased as "good filial piety products" for parents, but many people may have bought tickets to see the concert themselves. Interpark, which exclusively sells tickets for Mr. Trot's national tour, stated, "Mr. Trot showed the possibility that trot will become a genre enjoyed by all ages from a genre favored only by middle-aged people."
As such, trot has become a popular culture that can be enjoyed by people of all ages in Korea. Modern society is divided into regional conflicts, gender conflicts, and generational conflicts and it is so nice to see the emergence of popular culture that can be shared and enjoyed by everyone in a diversified era.
Lee Ga-eun (ST reporter)