The more modern form of the genre emerged with the formation of one of the earliest K-pop groups, Seo Taiji and Boys, in 1992. Their experimentation with different styles and genres of music and integration of foreign musical elements helped reshape and modernize South Korea's contemporary music scene.
Modern K-pop "idol" culture began with the boy band H.O.T. in 1996, as K-pop grew into a subculture that amassed enormous fandoms of teenagers and young adults.
After a slump in early K-pop, from 2003 TVXQ and BoA started a new generation of K-pop idols that broke the music genre into the neighboring Japanese market and continue to popularize K-pop internationally today.
With the advent of online social networking services and Korean TV shows, the current spread of K-pop and Korean entertainment, known as the Korean Wave, is seen not only in East Asia and Southeast Asia but also in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Latin America, North Africa, Southern Africa, the Middle East and throughout the Western world, gaining a widespread global audience.
The term "K-pop" became popular in the 2000s.
Previously, South Korean pop music was called Gayo (가요). While "K-pop" is a general term for popular music in South Korea, it is often used in a narrower sense for the genre described here. In 2018, K-pop experienced significant growth and became a 'power player', marking a 17.9% increase in revenue growth. As of 2019, K-pop is ranked at number six among the top ten music markets worldwide according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's "Global Music Report 2019", with BTS and Blackpink cited as artists leading the market growth.