The virtual concert was the moment for her to see her favourite artists perform live and share the memory with her fellow fans, all while staying safe. K-Pop fans in the city say that the virtual performances has brought in new people to the K-wave, and are hoping that this puts Chennai on the map for K-Pop artists.
“It was an amazing experience. We all cried when we saw the boys performing on stage. Some fans were even featured on a screen behind them as they performed. They are a huge positive motivator for us during the pandemic,” said Elaveni.
With approximately 20,000 fans in Chennai, the pandemic has accelerated the interest in Korean media and K-Pop specifically, says Sanjay Ramjhi, founder of The K-Wave India, which operates out of the city. “People have more time on their hands now compared to before, and are looking into more sources of entertainment during the pandemic. All K-Pop bands have increased their virtual presence by holding virtual live concerts, performances, and meet-and-greets. This has made K-Pop more accessible to new fans, while older fans now have a lot more content to enjoy while staying at home,” he said. As bands release their songs on Indian music streaming apps like JioSaavn, fans believe that K-Pop artists are aware of the huge following in the nation. BTS’ Dynamite is currently trending at #1 in India on Spotify.
“People aren’t just getting into it for the music. The bands are also releasing behind-the-scene videos, having Instagram live meetups, and fans across the globe are providing streaming links for their
television appearances. This is encouraging people to get to know the artists better as individuals,” said Marilyn Keertana, another K-Pop fan. According to Keertana, this dedicated fan following might be enough to encourage bands like BTS to stop by in Chennai should they do an India tour.
However, Ramjhi feels that Chennai might miss out on a chance to see K-Pop artists in favour of other cities. “Southern cities are often neglected by various musical artists. Chennai has a larger fan following than Hyderabad and Bengaluru, but most bands only come to cities like Mumbai or Delhi. But at least there is a chance that they might come to India once things blow over, and we can finally see the artists live after so many virtual concerts,” he said.