Johnny Noh, or Johnnydorama, is the founder of 6Theory Media, allkpop.com and tokyohive.com. Allkpop is an entertainment news site bringing K-pop fans the latest news and gossip surrounding Korean pop culture. The popular site attracts over 3 million readers worldwide on a monthly basis, and is the highest trafficked English-based website for K-pop news. Johnny brings us behind the scenes of allkpop.
How and when did you start-up 6Theory Media Network and allkpop?
Allkpop was launched in October of 2007 as a brand under 6Theory Media. The entire company and project were basically funded out of my own pocket. Because we didn’t have a marketing budget, nor was K-pop very big when we launched, we had to get very creative in that – we needed to not only market allkpop, but that we had to basically build out the K-pop genre to international audiences.
Have you listened to K-pop music your entire life? What sparked your interest in it?
I first started listening to K-pop when I was about 15 years old during the mid to late 90s. A group named Turbo is what got me totally hooked. K-pop was very different at the time, it was very fun and innocent, basically feel good music. Since then, my collection of K-pop albums has grown to over 400.
Can you provide a little insight into what your daily activities are running allkpop?
It’s different every day. I’m pretty much involved in all aspects of the business, the technology, the content, the marketing, the production and anything else that gets thrown into the mix. But when I have a moment to breathe, we have some intense office arcade sessions.
Are all of the writers for the site based in the states? How many posts go up a day (approximately)? And is the readership mostly from the states, or worldwide?
We have writers spread out all over the world. Being that we are in the media business and old news is pretty much worthless, we need to be operational 24/7. Our readership has grown considerably, with about 35% in the states and the rest worldwide.
What are your thoughts on how the music industry in Korea has changed in the last decade or so?
I grew up with 90s K-pop, so it’s only natural that I prefer the old school stuff, but overall, K-pop has really matured. The music videos and production quality are top notch, so much so that I think it really rivals if not outdoes a lot of American stuff.
When allkpop.com first started out, the posts seemed to negatively portray K-pop stars. What triggered the transition to how allkpop posts are written now, which is strictly informative?
That’s actually a misconception – we weren’t negatively portraying K-pop stars in a ‘purposely’ harmful way. Much like how Hollywood gossip blogs operate, i.e. TMZ, Perezhilton, The Superficial, we were following a similar ‘humorous’ model, although at times raunchy. It worked well with the US audience, but as our site became larger and more global, we had to change the direction of our content, as different cultures around the world just couldn’t understand or accept it.
Who are your favorite K-pop artists at the moment?
For girl groups, I like 4minute, Secret, and Girl’s Day; I’d say that’s the sexy, pretty, cute combo in that exact order. But looks aside, I enjoy their music, all 3 groups have a very different feeling and style, so it’s a good variety. As for boy bands, I’d have to say my hands down favorite is FT Island.
Finally, what, if any, are your ultimate goals for allkpop?
We want to continue to grow and bring more awareness to Korean entertainment. Korean pop culture has always been a huge passion of mine and I’m just thrilled to be a part of it. With that said, we’ve got some big things happening this November, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do – we’re rolling the dice big time.
[Photos courtesy of 6Theory Media]