Beyond K-pop

SOUTH KOREA - For three days starting Monday, Korea's small but vibrant indie music scene will get some much-craved international exposure.

Billed as the "springboard to global recognition," MU:CON Seoul 2014 will be held in the city's Itaewon neighborhood from Oct. 6-8, highlighting Korean music's cutting-edge styles, diverse genres and unique voices.

Over 100 local and international music industry executives are expected to attend, offering tips on global trends while they search for new talent here.

"This year's MU:CON, in its third run, is shaping up to be an event that is bigger, broader and deeper (than previous years). Over 310 teams from 41 countries have applied for the showcase stage. Nearly 70 international speakers will participate in the conference," said Hong Sang-pyo, CEO of the state-run Korea Creative Content Agency, the event organizer.

MU:CON, or the Seoul International Music Fair, started in 2012 amid the global K-pop explosion, as part of the government's efforts to promote Korean music beyond idol groups produced by major entertainment agencies.

It has three pillars: a music conference where international music industry professionals discuss the latest global trends and various other topics, business pitching sessions and the highlight, the MU:CON Global Music Showcase.

Big-name music gurus joining the conference section this year include Janice Min, copresident of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter in the US, producer Rodaidh McDonald who has worked with The xx and Adele, and multiplatinum mixing engineer Tony Maserati who has worked with Beyonce and Usher.

The showcase section, which is basically a series of mini concerts, will feature 45 acts, including 29 from Korea.

The final lineup covers various genres ranging from fusion gugak, a traditional Korean music genre, to hard rock.

A vast majority of the musicians are little known to the public, as many have had no access to TV or radio.

There are some familiar names, too, such as Crayon Pop, Vixx, Jaurim and Crying Nut.

At least six of them will be picked as recipients of the MU:CON Choice Program and get the chance to present their music at the world's most renowned and more established music fairs, including SXSW in the US and MIDEM in Europe.

Jambinai, a trio trained in traditional Korean music, and electronic pop duo Glen Check will grace the stage of the opening concert on Oct. 6. The two bands now perform more often overseas than they do here, after participating in last year's fair. Both won their respective spots in this year's showcase programme again.

For more information on MU:CON Seoul 2014, visit