Over the past few years, YouTube has helped turn Korean pop music (known as K-pop) into an international phenomenon, but many of the site’s latest international pop stars hail from a different country: Australia. In 2014, “A-pop” has emerged as a legitimate YouTube trend, with Australian pop stars drawing billions of views.
The musicians who are defining the A-pop trend are a mixed bag. Some, such as 5 Seconds Of Summer, Troye Sivan, and Cody Simpson, began their musical careers on YouTube before snagging deals with major record labels. Others, such as Sia and Iggy Azalea, established themselves in the mainstream before using YouTube to gain more exposure.
All of these artists, along with several other young talents from Down Under, have had strong years. A chart from Google shows that YouTube search volume for these artists has increased exponentially in 2014. At the same time, Australian artists are making their biggest mark on the charts since the 1980s. In the current Billboard Hot 100 rankings, Azalea makes three appearances in the top ten while Sia’s “Chandelier” comes in at number nine. 5 Seconds of Summer also claimed two spots in the rankings, with songs at numbers 54 and 74.
A-pop may not be its own subculture in the way K-pop is, but YouTube has clearly assisted Australian artists in the same way it assisted Psy and Girls’ Generation. Previously, Aussie musicians had to deal with the huge time difference between their country and the Western world, but YouTube takes that obstacle out of the equation. This globalization helped launch “Gangnam Style” to two billion views, and while no Australian artist has managed that level of exposure, the A-pop trend doesn’t seem like it will slow down anytime soon.
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