Established in the 1990s, K-pop burst into global consciousness in the early part of the 21st century. Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” released in 2012, was the first video to reach a billion views on YouTube. Today K-pop dominates music charts across East Asia, and is popular all over the world — thanks in large part to the genre’s slick production and emphasis on the visual. K-pop music videos are often outrageously lavish affairs, with dramatic storylines, wild special effects, and uber-tight dance routines. Here are some of the biggest budget K-pop videos out there.
T-ara — Cry Cry
Even though it’s nowhere nearly as crazy as many modern K-pop videos, this music video by T-ara cost nearly a million dollars to make. A 15-minute mini-drama set to music, the complicated plot is based on Korean crime dramas and is a tear-jerking exploration of familial love. The story is continued in “Cry Cry”‘s vengeful sister video, “Lovey Dovey.”
BTS — Fake Love
It’s not known how much this video by megastars BTS cost to produce, but judging from the special effects, multiple wardrobe changes and elaborate sets used, it’s definitely on the high end. The video includes a giant sculpture, balls of fire, falling walls and hundreds of Snickers bars. When it was released in May 2018, it garnered a record-breaking 35.9 million views in the first 24 hours.
B.A.P — One Shot
The music video for “One Shot” reportedly cost one billion won to produce (approximately US$910,000), making it one of the most expensive K-pop videos ever made. The dramatic storyline features boats, planes, armed robbery and gang warfare — watch to the end for the twist in the tale!
EXO — Mama
The music video for Mama, by South Korean-Chinese band EXO, was rumoured to have a production cost of around US$270,000. It was released in two versions — one in Korean, one in Mandarin — both of which versions feature special effects galore, monastic chanting, a well-developed mythology and super-shiny trousers.
2NE1 — Come Back Home
The video for “Come Back Home” was rumoured to have cost between US$280-500,000 to produce, and it’s easy to see why — the elaborate storyline sets up a futuristic universe complete with huge sets, a detailed wardrobe, complicated CGI and lots of extras.
Big Bang — Love Song
Big Bang are known for their extravagant music videos, employing lots of special effects and innovative shooting techniques. As one of South Korea’s most established K-pop bands, their music videos are always fairly high budget, but the video for “Love Song” deserves a special mention — its film crew built not one, but two aeroplane runways for the shoot. Filmed in black and white, it’s deceptively minimalist, and cost up to US$200,000 to produce.
Infinite — Destiny
If you like aeroplanes and sleeveless military vests, this is the video for you. It cost almost US$900,000 to produce and was filmed in the US at locations including Universal Studios. It’s action-hero style and the guns are out in full force. The video also features an astonishing variety of gloves.
Super Junior — Devil
This music video was estimated to cost nearly US$300,000 to make. Taking inspiration from the silver screen throughout the ages, it features high-speed motorbike stunts, car chases, gambling and a West Side Story-esque street dance routine. Fire and explosions round it off nicely.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.