Arts and Culture

Korean pop album and merch store K Stars turns one later this month 

The music genre K-pop is taking the world by storm – and one Manchester city store is helping spread the hype.

K Stars will mark its one year anniversary at its location on Deansgate on October 29 after moving from a smaller site at Afflecks Palace.

It sells albums, posters and other unique merchandise of K-pop, a genre of popular music originating from South Korea.

A K Stars spokesperson said: “We have gained a massive audience since moving. As K-pop grows, so do we!”

Ever since the move from Afflecks, more staff have been hired in response to the growth of the store and there are even staff members who are in charge of planning events. 

The events that have been held at K Stars these last few months have been popular and many more are planned. 

The store – which has a massive presence online too – also offers smaller scale events in store such as costume events appealing to more niche groups, widening their audience.

The staff also choose an ‘artist of the month’, picking artists they believe deserves more recognition in order for customers to expand their range of music and other K-pop groups.

With 44 girlgroups and 52 boygroups in the catalogue, not every artist can receive such attention – but K Stars makes sure that some do.

PSY is considered to be the first K-pop artist who crossed over into Western culture, allowing more people to discover the music genre.

His song Gangnam Style became a global phenomenon in 2012 which topped the charts of more than 30 countries, and the song itself hit a billion views after only 159 days of being released – still averaging a few hundred thousand views every day.

Like PSY, K-pop boygroup BTS continued to represent the industry after their English song ‘Butter’ charted at number one for ten non-consecutive weeks in 2021.

Not many boygroups can say they broke 23 Guinness World Records and will be included in the 2022 Guinness World Records Hall of Fame.

Photocards – which are photos of the celebrity that have not been posted on any form of social media – are a key part of merchandise that many K-pop fans love to collect, and K Stars provides plenty of these too. 

As of now, K Stars sell photocards for 17 bands and are currently in high demand.  

One K-pop fan, Zainab Fatima, said: “I think photocards can seem more candid and intimate to fans. Collecting them is just like collecting certain coins or certain types of ties.”

Minaal Mahmood, a K Stars customer, said: “The layout is very nice. The shop is enjoyable to stroll through even for a non K-pop fan.”

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