By the time all the bodies are recovered from the sinking of that South Korean ferry on April 16, the death toll will be over 300. The disaster has had a traumatic effect on all corners of South Korean society, including the music industry.
According to reports out of Seoul and elsewhere, music industry staff have been pouring through material–song lyrics, album artwork, promo photos, music videos–to make note of anything that might remind people of what happened to that ferry. This isn’t unlike what radio stations did following 9/11; I remember pulling songs like “Jet Airliner” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane” because we received so many calls from people who found those songs disturbing.
But they’re going even further in Korea. Songs that include the sound of water, references to the ocean or boats and songs that might be too somber or sad are being scrutinized. The whole K-Pop industry is basically grinding to a halt for now.