How Fans Are Inspiring the New Global Growth of Thai Pop and Boys’ Love

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Thai music and culture have been making serious waves across the globe as of late. And they’re gaining momentum in large part thanks to a fandom-fueled subgenre.

Thai music is driven by a devoted local fan base that includes the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan as its top markets, extending well into the global community. As a result, listenership in T-Pop has doubled in the past year: Tracks like “ชอบตัวเองที่อยู่กับเธอ,” “ไม่ได้ก็ไม่เอา,” and “เพื่อนเล่นไม่เล่นเพื่อน (Just Being Friendly)” are hitting massive stream numbers both on and off the T-Pop Now playlist, which has seen 3.5 times the growth of the past five years. With artists like Billkin, PiXXiE, and Tilly Birds taking T-Pop from local markets and reaching fans in countries like Sweden, Mexico, Germany, and France, the newfound visibility of the genre is proof positive that music knows no borders.

“It’s undeniable that we’re seeing a T-Pop wave in the world right now,” says Gautam Talwar, Spotify’s General Manager of Asia Pacific. “It’s a category that encompasses multiple genres including indie, hip-hop, experimental, and the massively popular Boys’ Love, which has grown tremendously in recent years.” 

“Thai artists are putting a lot of their Thai identity and culture into their music, from the melodies to the overall vibes,” says Jeff Satur, popular T-Pop artist and actor. “When you give it a listen, you can immediately tell it’s a T-Pop song. It’s like a musical journey that lets people from all over the world experience the richness of Thai culture through music. This was something quite novel in the music scene, and it began to captivate more and more listeners globally.” 

Boys’ Love Soundtracks Fueling The T-Pop Wave 

The rise of Boys’ Love (otherwise known as BL or simply Y, inspired by the Japanese word “yaoi”) in Thailand is a unique story and one borne out of Thailand’s support of stories that revolve around the love between two men. Popular fan fiction was adapted into television dramas, and soon an entire industry was jump-started. Centering on themes of loyalty, diversity in love, and the highs and lows of a relationship, the many, many shows have garnered massive plays and a passionate fan base of mostly young women. 

Larger still is the love of BL TV soundtracks from fans. Through our own Boys’ Love and วัยรัก วัยเลิฟ (Why I Love You) playlists, BL fans searching for a good laugh or a good cry can can look forward to tracks like “กลับไปไม่รู้จักกัน (Ost. องศาสูญ)” by NuNew, “คนเดียว (Ost. ดื้อเฮียก็หาว่าซน)” by Nat Natasit, and “ซบกันไปนาน ๆ (Sunset) (Ost. หัวใจในสายลม)” by Perth Tanapon and Chimon Wachirawit.

For the Record sat down with Jeff Satur to learn more about the global phenomenon of T-Pop.

What sets T-Pop apart from other kinds of pop?

The concepts are one of a kind. It’s like everyone’s got a way with words, and they turn those ideas into a killer song concept. When it comes to the slower jams, T-Pop has a very distinctive Thai vibe, from the melodies to the dance moves when it’s performed. All these elements come together to make the genre pretty darn perfect.

What recent changes have you noticed in the world of T-Pop? 

I’ve noticed some cool things happening with T-Pop lately. I’ve seen Brazilian fans singing Thai songs like they were born to it, nailing those lyrics. Over in China, there’s a whole bunch of Thai artist admirers. It got me thinking, the T-Pop music scene has really expanded its reach, breaking down musical borders.

Get your Boys’ Love fix with our specially curated Boys’ Love playlist:

The post How Fans Are Inspiring the New Global Growth of Thai Pop and Boys’ Love appeared first on Spotify.

Culture and Trends, Billkin, Jeff Satur, PiXXiE, t-pop, T-Pop Boys’ Love, Thailand, Tilly Birds

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