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Indie Korean Music and Cinema are Finding Its Feet Internationally

2014/07/18 | Permalink

Indie Korean Music and Cinema are Finding Its Feet Internationally

Psy's Gangnam Style was just the beginning. There is no longer any doubt that the independent music and movie scene in Korea is gaining traction all over the world-especially in the United States and United Kingdom. K-Pop has been huge in the US and other western countries for a couple of years and more and more Korean movies are getting screen time in "mainstream" American movie theaters. Snowpiercer, for example, has been given a 250 theater run.

As more and more attention is paid to the Korean consumer and creator markets and as western and eastern art borrow from and contribute to each other, it is more important than it has ever been for Korean musicians, artists and filmmakers to mind their details and protect their

Art is flowing the other direction as well. An American song about Call of Duty was recently featured prominently in the Korean show "Vampire Prosecutor".

It's important to note that, in Korea, copyright rules are incredibly strict. The "three strikes" rule has been well documented all over the world. Koreans are not really worried about themselves. Even independent musicians are protected by these rules and laws.

They are, however, worried about thievery from outside sources-most notably the USA.

All of this attention on independent Korean cinema and music is great but it also has some artists very worried. YouTube, wanting to get in on the streaming music game, made some major waves all over the world a couple of months ago when it decided to start blocking content uploaded by independent labels that wouldn't sign their non-negotiable contracts.

So what does that mean for an independent Korean musician or filmmaker hoping to have his or her work released in the States? Or elsewhere? It might surprise you to learn that the guidelines for Koreans who want to maintain their independence while increasing their reach are the same as they are for Americans:

1. Work with Distributors and Labels

You don't have to sign with a major or mainstream label to get your music or film out to a larger market. There are many music publishing companies that specialize in working with independent artists. For example, TuneCore has been helping independent musicians properly license and distribute their music. They have relationships with iTunes and music publishing companies all over the world, including the Asian streaming music service KKBox.

2. Use Creative Commons

A lot of American artists and filmmakers release their work under a Creative Commons license. Creative Commons also offers licenses that are compatible with Korean copyright and intellectual property laws. Releasing your film through a creative commons license will allow people all over the world to watch and even share your movie-if you set up your license to allow for that. Creative Commons licenses are legally binding and easy to set up.

3. Work Work Work Then Work Some More

Protecting your work with legally binding licensing and partnering with licensing companies like TuneCore for distribution licensing doesn't take the majority of the effort away from you. Whether you're hoping to market your film or music to a domestic Korean audience, attract the attention of Koreans living internationally or are hoping to attract an international audience for your project, the rule is the same: you have to work on it every day.

~Make sure that you have a working website and that you update it regularly.

~Reach out on social media to find connections with people in other countries who can help you translate and promote your site where they live.

~Release clips of the film on YouTube. YouTube is a global avenue for promotion.

~Set up an email list for fans to join. Social media is great but having a dedicated list of people who have asked to hear more about your film is a far more valuable and powerful tool.

~Send your film to film festivals both domestic and international. Most film festivals have an "international" category-that's for films like yours!

~Set up a crowd funding page on a site like Fundator to both raise money for your film's distribution and to show support for your project. Banks who might bankroll a larger release want to see that there is already support for the film or it will likely feel like too big a risk for them to take.

~Remember Korean film isn't staying in Korea anymore. Films like "Snowpiercer" and shows like "Vampire Prosecutor" are proving that there is a world-wide appetite for Asian entertainment that is not manga or anime. Get to work and get out there!

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