K-Pop’s Bold AI Gamble: Will It Pay Off?

The K-pop world is currently embroiled in a heated debate over artificial intelligence. The genre’s biggest stars are increasingly turning to AI to create music videos and write lyrics, with the latest example being the immensely popular boy band Seventeen.
Last year, Seventeen sold around 16 million albums, solidifying their status as one of the most successful K-pop acts in history. However, it’s their newest album and single, “Maestro,” that has everyone talking. The music video features an AI-generated scene, and there’s speculation that the record might include AI-generated lyrics as well. At the album launch in Seoul, band member Woozi revealed that they were “experimenting” with AI in their songwriting process.
“We practised making songs with AI because we want to develop along with technology rather than complain about it,” Woozi said. “This is a technological development that we have to leverage, not just be dissatisfied with. I practised using AI and tried to look for the pros and cons.”
Fans on K-pop discussion pages are divided. Some argue that more regulations are needed before the technology becomes widespread. Others, like superfan Ashley Peralta, are more open to the idea. “If AI can help an artist overcome creative blocks, then that’s OK with me,” says the 26-year-old. However, she worries that an album full of AI-generated lyrics could alienate fans from their favorite musicians.
“I love it when music is a reflection of an artist and their emotions,” she says. “K-pop artists are much more respected when they’re hands-on with choreographing, lyric writing, and composing because you get a piece of their thoughts and feelings. AI can take away that crucial component that connects fans to the artists.”
Ashley, who hosts the K-pop fan podcast “Spill the Soju” with her best friend Chelsea Toledo, expresses concerns about AI’s impact on Seventeen’s reputation as a self-producing group. Chelsea, too, admires Seventeen for writing their own songs and choreographing their performances, but she’s apprehensive about AI diminishing their authenticity.
“If they were to put out an album full of lyrics they hadn’t personally written, I don’t know if it would feel like Seventeen anymore,” Chelsea says. “Fans want music that is authentically them.”
The use of AI in K-pop is undeniably a bold move. While it promises exciting possibilities, it also poses significant questions about creativity, authenticity, and the future relationship between artists and fans. Only time will tell if this gamble will pay off for Seventeen and the broader K-pop industry.

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