Los Angeles – If you pay any attention to Asian Entertainment news, you can’t miss the story on Asian pop star Jay Park (AKA Jaebeom Park). His story broke in early September 2009 when the Korean press published comments he made on his MySpace page in 2005 before he had made it big and was a young trainee at JYP Entertainment, expressing his frustration with life in Korea. Taken out of context, his comments were misinterpreted by the Korean media and in the course of three days, bombarded by attacks, Park decided to leave his band 2PM and to go back to Seattle which he now calls home.
The mood quickly changed in Korea after he left when the press and public discovered that his MySpace posts from five years earlier had been terribly misinterpreted. Instead of hate, he gained sympathy. Support for the young performer quickly grew in both South Korea and internationally resulting in silent protests and flash mobs in many different countries and tweets about Jaebeom (and Jaebum) hitting No. 1 trending topic on social media sites like Twitter.
JYP Entertainment seemed to acknowledge his marketing power and used his name in all of their promotion for the new 2PM album in October. Most Asian fans supported the group hoping to see Jay Park back with the group but in February 2010, the company terminated his contract. Many fans are saying that it’s a calculated act due to the fact that the group 2PM is doing fine without Jay Park now and the company cut him loose. The cry for him to return is loud and clear. Many Korean fans left the 2PM fan clubs in thousands and tweets for him passed Oscar topics on the night of the Oscars itself to be the #1 trending topic.
As an executive in the digital entertainment space, I am intrigued by all the buzz around Jay Park on Social Media. As an international student and an Asian, I feel his pain. He was so young when he left his family for a foreign country, adjusted to new foods and culture and went through the tough training required to become an Asian pop star. As a daughter and a mother, he gets my support. He had said many times in interviews that the adjustment to Korean life was difficult but he did it for his family. He was there for his family to have a better life, to buy nice things for his mother.
Yes, the Jay Park story is full of heart. People support Jay Park because he took responsibility for his actions and seems so genuine unlike the big entertainment company JYPE. I don’t think he is even aware of marketing power he currently has. This week he released his first video since leaving Korea. Meant for his fans, it was RAW (he sings in the bathroom) and was posted on Art of Movement’s official Facebook page. Within two days it reached over 2 million views on YouTube. The song he covered “Nothin’ on You” is now #1 in Korea on Cyworld Music charts and is currently #2 on iTunes sales today.
I think this is just the beginning for Jay Park. If any Asian artist can make the difficult “crossover” to the American music entertainment market, I think he could be the one. He already has a big international fan base, and he is living proof of the power of social media.
Here is Jay Park’s YouTube video. Check out the amazing stats!