PHOTOS: Iconic rock guitars and their owners

If KCON ever gets as big as Comic-Con, "then that's great, but will it ever become a hub for all music? No," he said.

Many of those involved with K-pop attest that the actual music, videos and productions have gotten much better and more adventurous in recent years. Kim believes that as long as the music stays compelling, there's no need to dilute it or push it for mainstream American audiences. And even though K-pop stars are created and marketed by huge international corporations, K-pop fandom is about finding your own real and personal sense of joy in it all.

"Psy was so fearless and his record was so genuine," Kim said. "It was a great song, a tremendous video and 100% authentic. K-pop producers are listening to everything and there's a real desire to be modern and challenging. This audience is so savvy, and it's apparent if you're forcing it."

august.brown@latimes.com

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KCON 2013

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, 3939 S. Figueroa St., L.A.

When: 11 a.m. Sat.-Sun.

Price: $60-$300

Info: Kconusa.com