South Korea is a music powerhouse possessing the sixth-largest music market in the world while being the birthplace of K-pop, being led by BTS, whose song was the first Asian song to be ranked number one on the billboard chart of the United States. Seoul is the center of the Korean music market, where 77% of domestic musical performances, including those of K-pop, take place and where 62.3% of music-related businesses are concentrated. It is not an exaggeration to say that Seoul is creating the K-pop that is enjoyed by the global population and disseminating this music to the world. The popularity of K-pop is not limited to music, extending to K-food, K-fashion, and K-beauty and vitalizing the overall industry.
The city of Seoul will launch comprehensive support to enable every citizen to enjoy musical resources anytime, anywhere and make music an attractive factor to boost tourism competitiveness. What the city is aiming to do is to make Seoul a global music city in which everyone, including the residents of Seoul and all tourists from other regions of Korea and abroad, can watch musical performances at various venues in Seoul and enjoy music festivals all year round.
Seasonal music festivals will take place, including drum festivals in the spring, gugak (Korean traditional music) festivals in the summer, K-pop festivals in the fall, and classical music festivals in the winter. And now, for the first time, a massive K-pop festival entitled the 2019 Seoul Music Festival will be held in Gwanghwamun Square for nine days (from September 28 to October 6).
Four musical footholds for each genre will be constructed to support the growth of the music industry in Seoul. The soon-to-open facilities are Nodeulseom Cultural Complex (new music), Changdong Seoul Arena (K-pop, December 2023), an auditorium in the southwestern part in Seoul (2024), and Seoul Classic Hall (classical music, 2024). In addition, Seoul Gugak Center (2022) will be established to support the creative activities and entry to overseas markets of gugak and Seoul Indie Music Support Center (2022) will be established to support the production, distribution, and marketing of indie music.
On the other hand, the number of Arts Support Centers will be quadrupled by 2023 (from 25 to 107). This will help to make music move from being the exclusive property of special individuals to being in the daily lives of everybody. In these centers, people can learn how to play musical instruments near their homes and find places for practice.
Seoul will also discover and promote various festivals and 50 musical spots throughout the city, including LP bars, clubs, and pubs, and tour programs targeting K-pop fans coming from foreign countries, in order to make music a new tourist attraction.
Encompassing the points mentioned above, Seoul has announced the plan for “Seoul, a Global Music City.” For the next five years, starting this year (2019-2023), KRW 481.8 billion will be invested to pursue nine tasks under three objectives.
The three objectives are ① a city that makes citizens happy with music, ② a city that supports the growth of musicians (the music industry), and ③ a global music city that interacts with the global population.
To effectively carry out the plan, Seoul will operate “public-private governance,” in which experts from the private sector and related departments participate. Continuous monitoring will be conducted to supplement and develop the plan.
|3 objectives||9 tasks||Projects|
|A city that makes citizens happy with music||1) Expansion of musical experiences and educational programs||– Increase the number of Arts Support Centers
– Performances by traveling new music orchestras
– Sharing and donation of musical instruments
– Increase the number of Arts Education Centers, providing classical education for each age group
– Gifted musical education for underprivileged classes, cultural education at Sejong Academy
|2) Vitalization of various musical performances||– Street performances, gugak performances in hanok
– Traveling concerts, Seoul Plaza flowing with culture
|3) Hosting of international music festivals and vitalization of festivals||– Six-brand festival, Seoul Music Festival
– Support for small festivals and establishment of festival platforms
|A city that supports the growth of musicians (the music industry)||4) Systematic support for the music industry||– Invitation of music businesses, business academies
– Support for artwork and art by the youth (musical genres)
|5) Expansion of performance halls for various performances||– Arenas, medium-scale performance halls, live concert halls
– Establishment of a classic concert hall exclusively for the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra
– Concert halls in Nodeulseom and the southwestern part of Seoul
|6) Balanced support for various genres
(gugak, indie, classical)
|– Popularization and globalization of gugak
– Restoration of the ecosystem for indie music
– Fostering Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra as a world-class music group
|A global music city that interacts with the global population||7) Vitalization of music tourism||– Selection of musical spots to turn into attractions
– Establishment of the hall of fame for pop music, archiving
– Vitalization of music tourism by promoting festivals and performances
|8) Expansion of musical interactions in private sector and between cities||– Hosting of MCC in the first half of 2020
– Hosting WOMAD Festival and WOMEX after 2022
– Establishment of International Music City Association in 2022
|9) Strengthening of global promotion and marketing||– Establishment of professional promotion strategies
– Advertisement using various channels including music-centered media, journalism, and influencers from Korea and foreign countries