[OPINION] 2019 Kpop Outlook in the USA

As unbelievable as it may be, the 2010s will soon be over in just 10 short months! Kpop has had exponential growth in the last few years, which will also determine Kpop’s future for the following decade!

The hallyu wave aka Kpop wave has definitely become more globalized within the last couple years. There is no doubt that in 2019 there will be more Kpop fans as more Kpop idols (BTS, Monsta X, NCT, Oh My Girl, Red Velvet, Blackpink, Sunmi etc.) continue to promote abroad. Especially in the US, thanks mostly to BTS’s success paving the way for Kpop growth this year.

Hollywood is the Kpop market for this year

Based on previous patterns of Kpop idol groups like Wonder Girls, Girl’s Generation, Super Junior, TVXQ etc. many Kpop idols usually extend their fan base to other countries in Asia before pursuing Europe & the Americas. Kpop’s growth in other countries are indeed significant, but given US is home to global names like Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Ed Sherman, Chris Brown, Drake, Justin Timberlake etc. (as well as Kpoplove’s headquarters) Kpop’s future global outlook will focus on the US market for this article.

Kpop before BTS

BTS on American Music Awards (2017)


Just 5 to 10 years ago, prior to BTS’s historical invasion in the US, Kpop was just a new and upcoming genre in the US that originated from a small country in Asia. As a decades old Kpop fan, I can personally attest to instances in the past where people confused North and South Korea and probably couldn’t name any Kpop artist even if their life depended on it.

Other idols’ success in the US

However, this does not mean Kpop has never made its mark in the US. Examining only the idol groups who are no longer “active” meaning either disbanded or no longer actively promoting with all members, idol groups like Wonder Girls and Girl’s Generation have previously tried to break into the US market without as much success as BTS.

JYP’s Wonder Girls (2007-2017) released a single- ‘Nobody’ (2009)- that was No.76 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as the 1st Kpop group on the Billboard charts. This provided the opening for the group to enter the US market and pursue international activities. Wonder Girls can be considered to have been at the peak of their career in Korea (and Asia) prior to moving to the US in 2009 to focus on US activities. However contrary to expectations, Wonder Girls was unable to continue their momentum and ended up with changing the line-up and regroup back in Korea.

Wonder Girls on Wendy Williams Show (2009)


SM’s Girl’s Generation (2007-present) released a single-’The Boys’ (2012)-officially debuting and promoting in the US a few years after Wonder Girls. Comparing various aspects like promotions, fanbase, hallyu wave’s influence and method, there are so many differences that can explain the different levels of success between the 2 girl groups.

Girl’s Generation on Late Show with David Letterman (2012)


Taking a closer look at how BTS did not need to promote in the US to have the biggest US debut stage of all in 2017 as the 1st Korean group to perform at AMAs, BTS clearly did something that sets them apart from others. Not to mention BTS performed in Korean while Wonder Girls and Girl’s Generation performed in English. Based on BTS’s sucess, BTS’s momentum can only be expected to grow further this year.

BTS’s significant role for Kpop mainstreamed in US

In 2019, there are very few individuals who wouldn’t know what the 3 letters “BTS” refers to in the US. Even if one is completely clueless about Kpop, there is a big chance someone’s family, friend or acquaintance is a BTS fan or BTS ARMY.

Ilgan Sports

Similar to BTS’s predecessors (e.g. legendary Kpop idol groups Girls Generation, Super Junior, TVXQ), BTS became mainstream in Asia a few years ago and became more globally recognized as they made their mark on the Billboard charts in 2015. But unlike other Kpop groups, BTS didn’t make any special plans to promote in the US market soon after their first placement on the Billboard charts. Instead BTS continued to release more content and focused on their music letting time to gradually increase their popularity all over the world.

Why is BTS different?

BTS contributed to further spreading the hallyu wave rather than having to focus on establishing the Kpop wave. Currently in 2019, nearly everyone has a smartphone as opposed to 10 years ago. Internet is easily accessible to many age groups enabling the daily use of social media like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube etc. This has allowed Kpop idols, especially BTS, to focus on interacting with fans and growing their fanbase. BTS members are well known for being very active participants as singers-songwriters within the Kpop industry and renowned for sharing many of their content on SoundCloud or V Live which played a significant role for BTS’s success today.


BTS’s timing may have been what led to BTS’s breakthrough to becoming the biggest Kpop group in the world. Rather than jumping on the first signs of opportunity to pursue international activities, BTS bided their time to focus on their work and to further nurture their talents while waiting for their hard work to come to fruition.


As a result, BTS was able to become a household name is the US even prior to their official debut on the American Music Awards in 2017. Afterwards, BTS continued to set more records on the AMAsBillboards, Youtube, iTunes, Ebay Korea, Forbes, Time Magazine, Bloomberg etc. in 2018.


The 7 membered boy group became recognized for their global popularity when selected by international corporations like Puma, LG Electronics, Hyundai Motors etc. as global ambassadors and made significant collaborations with Mattel, Medicome Toy, Netmarble Games, Line Webtoons, Line Friends x BT21 and more!

BTS World Tour & BT21


When BTS had their 3rd world tour last summer, Line Friends x  BT21 also officially opened their pop-up store in LA situated amongst Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. As someone who has accompanied various people to this store in August, September, October and December of last year, I can personally affirm the lines were unbelievably long not only when the pop-up store first opened but also for the following months. Amazingly, the lines did not really decrease much every time I had to go.




Most of my experience at this store consisted of standing in line for hours while conversing with other people accompanying their niece or cousin to the store. As to why the lines didn’t decrease much even after BTS finished touring in the US would be since BT21 items were often sold out with limited quantities, unpredictable shipments of new items, new seasonal (Halloween, Christmas) items and such.


Initially the Line Friends store was announced to stay for 3 months. Later, due to high demand, the pop-up was extended to January 2019 with plans to locate permanently. Just the fact that BT21 became popular enough to become a permanent store in LA speaks volumes about BTS’s success in the US. Aside from BT21, BTS is renowned for increasing sales for many associated businesses leading to the birth of the term “BTS effect” from major news outlets as many profit from BTS’s influence. BTS has become symbolic as a guaranteed catalyst to enhance micro and macro economics.


Lots of Kpop events in 2019

Just within 2 months of this year, there have been so many appearances or scheduled appearances of Kpop idols and artists in the US. Just to name a few upcoming events- Girl’s Generation’s Tiffany will be having her first showcase as Tiffany Young in a few days, Sunmi will be having her first world tour next month, BLACKPINK will be at Coachella in April and BTS will be touring the US again in May. Additionally, Red Velvet, Oh My Girl, Hong Jin Young and Dean have already performed in the US within the last 2 months. 


BLACKPINK made their official US debut on “Good Morning America”  and announced their North American Tour during the interview just awhile back. With so many activities planned in the US for the first half of 2019, many are wondering whether BLACKPINK will be able to have success similar to BTS. There is definitely a lot of potential but as previous idol groups like Wonder Girls and Girl’s Generation have proven, it isn’t easy to accomplish.

Overall Take

As an avid Kpop fan whose biases are mostly the first generation of Kpop idols, I can’t help but feel happy and excited to see how well Kpop is doing in the US. There are many idol groups who have also contributed to Kpop’s success like Monsta X, EXO and annual events like KCON LA or KCON NY. But amongst everything I have read, seen and heard, I want to credit BTS for really opening the door wide open for Kpop to take on the US. There have been many attempts but no one has been as successful as BTS and thanks to that, I think Kpop fans are able to have more opportunities to see their favorite Kpop idols shine for Uncle Sam.

All I could hope for would be that BTS’s continuous momentum ushers in even more opportunities for other Kpop artists to enter the US market. Till the day Kpop can be heard on various iheart radio stations in the US, “Hwaiting” to all Kpop artists!


Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates.


BTS Makes Cover of TIME Magazine International Issue

BTS became the cover models for an international issue of TIME Magazine!

On October 10, TIME Magazine released a cover image featuring boy group BTS with a description that calls them the “Next Generation Leaders.” Alongside the photoshoot, they also provided the link to the interview with the group.

Image Source – TIME Magazine

The interview is entitled “How BTS is Taking Over the World,” first going over all the great achievements of the group. Then, the magazine continues to acclaim the group and says when the group arrived in 2013, “it was clear they would play by new rules” and they did.

During the interview, each member had an opportunity to voice their thoughts on why they think they were able to be as successful as they are right now.

First, Suga begun by describing the group’s initial intention with their music. The rapper said, “we started to tell the stories that people wanted to hear and were ready to hear, stories that other people could not or would not tell.” He continued, “we said what other people were feelings – like pain, anxieties, and worries.”

At the end, Suga says their goal was “to create this empathy that people can relate to.”

They did not forget to express their gratitude towards their fans, Army’s. “We give energy to our audience, members, and listeners, but we also draw energy from them,” says Jimin. Adding to this, Suga said, “even if there is a language barrier, once the  music stars, people react pretty much the same wherever we go. It feels like the music really brings us together.”

Furthermore, the group also commented on the true meaning behind their newest title track “IDOL” for which they placed on top of many Billboard charts. RM said, “life has many unpredictable issues, problems and dilemmas. But, I think the most important thing to live well is to be yourself. We are still trying to be us.”

Meanwhile, BTS is currently on their “Love Yourself: Answer” world tour. They recently finished up the tour in the United States, which included the first-ever stadium concert hosted by a Korean artist group. Since then, the group has moved onto Europe, which begun on October 10 at the O2 Arena in London.

Original Article (1), (2)
Translated by Dasol Kim


BTS Wins “Favorite Social Artist” at the 2018 American Music Awards

BTS has won yet another award at a music awards in America!

On October 9, the 2018 American Music Awards (as known as the AMAs) took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. Prior to the event, boy group BTS had received a nomination for the Favorite Social Artist category, which eventually crowned the group as its winner.

For this particular category, BTS had to compete against other strong candidates. The nomination list included Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and Shawn Mendes. Due to the concert in London, BTS could not physically attend the ceremony. However, the group left a video message thanking their fans for the award.

On the other note, also attending the red carpet ceremony were K-pop boy group NCT 127 and Tiffany Young, a former member of Girls’ Generation. NCT 127’s Mark briefly shared a comment regarding the group’s attendance, “this is our first time attending such a big event as a group. We are just very awestruck. We want to thank our fans, as well as everyone who is watching us at this big moment right now.”

Meanwhile, BTS is currently on their “Love Yourself: Answer” world tour. Next stop will be in London on October 10.

Original Article (1), (2)
Translated by Dasol Kim


NCT 127 to Attend the 2018 American Music Awards Red Carpet Ceremony

NCT 127 has confirmed to attend the red carpet ceremony for the 2018 American Music Awards!

Reports confirmed that boy group NCT 127 has been recognized as a rising K-pop star by the 2018 American Music Awards (AMA). As a result, the group received the invitation to attend the red carpet ceremony for this year’s awards on October 9.

Image Source – SM Entertainment

This marks the group’s third major official event in the United States. NCT 127 has already confirmed to appear on one of America’s top talk shows “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on October 8, prior to releasing their comeback album “Regular-Irregular” on October 12. Furthermore, the group will also perform “Mickey’s 90th Spectacular,” which is an event to commemorate the birth of Mickey Mouse.

Moreover, NCT 127 was the first Asian group to be picked as Apple Music’s “UP NEXT” and was introduced on the main page of Apple Music and iTunes all around the world. Following the introduction, the website will release various documentaries, as well as Apple music radio interview that features the group on their achievement and career.

Meanwhile, NCT 127 is releasing their first studio album “Regular-Irregular” on October 12. The album will include in total of 11 tracks, with the title track “Regular” in both Korean and English versions.

Original Article
Translated by Dasol Kim


BTS Receives Nomination for the ‘2018 American Music Awards’

BTS becomes a nominee for the 2018 American Music Awards!

On September 12, the 2018 American Music Awards announced the full list of nominees for each category. Along the list, a Korean boy group BTS manages to place their name, once again proving their continuous popularity in the Western hemisphere.

BTS became one of the nominees for the ‘Favorite Social Artist’ category. The boy group will be competing against Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and Shawn Mendes.

While the boy group has previously attended this certain awards last year to mark their official debut in the United States, they never received an actual nomination. Last year, the group performed second to the last with “Fake Love” during the ceremony, making a great first impression to all artists in attendance.

Image Source – ABC “2018 American Music Awards”

The outlooks for BTS winning an award at the 2018 American Music Awards are very promising, as the group managed to win awards at the Billboard Music Awards in two consecutive years. Much anticipation arises as to whether the group will manage to sweep away another trophy in an American awards ceremony.

Meanwhile, the 2018 AMAs will take place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, on October 9 at 8PM, ET.

Original Article
Translated by Dasol Kim


[Opinion] Thanks China! BTS is Gaining Major Traction in the U.S. Because of You

Send a Love Letter to China if you want to thank someone for BTS making a major drive in the United State’s market.

BTS China DNA Hallyu band United States U.S
LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 19: BTS attends the 2017 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 19, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chris Polk/AMA2017/Getty Images for dcp)

The decision to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system on the Korean peninsula was a major point of contention between Korea and China. Korea, with the aid of the United States (U.S.), believed that the deployment of THAAD was an appropriate safety measure against an increasingly bold North Korea. On the other hand, Chinese official strongly objected to the planned deployment. It believed that it would enable a high-level of military surveillance that would compromise Chinese and Russian security. Tensions in the political sphere thickened between China, Korea, and the U.S as politicians continued to contended over THAAD. At the same time, China also took action to demonstrate vexation by subverting Korea economically.

The Hallyu Ban

During the second half of 2016 China impose a ban on Korean popular culture products. As The Telegraph pointed out, “K-pop and K-dramas are hugely popular in China, but their success in the Chinese market also puts them at risk of economic exploitation during political crises”. China has been a lucrative market for Korean entertainment companies for about the past decade. Accordingly, Korean companies have worked on business ventures with the Chinese market in mind. SM Entertainment formed the EXO and Super Junior sub-units, EXO-m and Super Junior-m, specifically to appeal to Chinese audiences.

The imposed sanction on Korean popular cultural products dealt a huge blow to stars and companies dependent on Chinese market profits. With the ban mainly targeting music, film, television, and radio Korean entertainment company stocks dropped an average of 40%. Due to the ban, groups such as EXO had no choice but to cancel scheduled performances. Moreover, according to an article published by the Korea Economic Institute of America, ” there is no k-drama scheduled to be on air on any of the four major broadcasting companies in China.”

This ban left companies to pander to different markets to make up for the loss of the Chinese market.

“Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!” – Samuel Brannan, 1848

BTS China DNA Hallyu band United States U.S
Image source: American Music Awards/ Dick Clark Productions, Inc.

BTS turned its gaze from China to the rest of the world. This past week has been a huge one for the popular boy group. They appeared on the Los Angeles morning news, stopped by Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen Degeneres, and performed at the American Music Awards. Granted, this was not the group’s first time in the U.S. In fact, BTS was in the U.S earlier this year for its sold out “Wings” tour. However, it was BTS’ first time being introduced to a mass American audience that had not heard about k-pop before.

China’s Loss and Differences of the U.S. Music Market

This was all possible because of the Chinese ban. If the ban had not been in place BTS would have likely invested in the Chinese market. As mentioned earlier, the Chinese market is lucrative for Korean entertainment companies. This is because of relatively low investment costs that produce high returns. Conversely, it is costly to bring a group to the U.S. to do promotional activities and performances. Furthermore, the music market in China is similar to Korea in that,”Chinese fandoms (sic) spend a lot of money buying thousand of albums, Korean artists attend public broadcast… Korean artists attend variety shows in China (and they go to top variety shows)..” as one OneHallyu user explained.

The U.S. entertainment market is vastly different from East Asia’s, and this is especially true for the music market. Americans don’t buy physical albums nor are there variety show or music show like the ones found in Korea and China that guest can feature on. Distribution partnerships will most likely only benefit hardcore fans who already purchase the group’s albums. These negative aspects of entering the U.S. market have always made other companies turn to China and Japan. However, the U.S. has the largest music industry in the world. No matter the cost or challenges of this past week, BTS’ exposure through U.S. media is irreplaceable.

Now What?

Fans can expect more public appearances of the boy group on U.S. national television and more collaborations with western artists. While BTS will most likely make a push into the Chinese market now that the THAAD issue has been resolved, it will not be as beneficial for the group or company now that they breaking into the U.S. market.

By O.C

The views expressed here are the authors’ alone.

GOT7 Jackson Interviews Desiigner on the American Music Awards Red Carpet

GOT7 Jackson seems to make friends wherever he goes, and the American Music Awards Red Carpet was not exception.

got7 Jackson red carpet AMA American Music Awards
Image Credit: Getty Images

Jackson arrived at the red carpet of the American Music Awards as a representative of Alibaba Group, a partner of the AMA foundation. While there, Jackson takes the chance to interview “Panda” rapper Desiigner.

Check out the fun clip below!

Video clip credit: via Twitter @holdinontojiaer

By O.C

GOT7 Jackson Appointed Chief Meow Officer of Tmall Global

Wang Jia Er, also known as GOT’s Jackson has been appointed the Chief Meow Officer (CMO) and it is an awesome position.

GOt7 jackson ema
Image Credit: Getty Images/ Jeff Kravitz

The responsibility of the CMO is to be an empathetic cultural ambassador. The CMO will explore local life-style and high-quality products in countries around the world. CMOs are selected because of their deep understanding of global trends, ability to determine and discover “wonderful goods” (miao wu in Chinese, hence meow) and connect with others and.

Jackson is considered the ideal candidate to Tmall Global. This derives from his meteoric rise in the entertainment industry and his bright, kind, and refreshing personality. . Jackson was born in 1994 and at 23 is an accomplished fencer, was offered a full scholarship to Stanford, and debuted in the K-pop boy group GOT7.

Jackson CMO got7
Courtesy of Youku

This year Jackson released his first solo track “Papillion” and attended the MTV European Music Awards as China’s representative. Additionally, due to his age and friendly disposition it is expected that Jackson will resonate and recognize life-style and consumption trends for his generation. Further, he made his first appearance at the CMO at Alibaba’s annual Double 11 Gala on November 11.

Tmall Global is a subset of Alibaba group, the largest e-commerce platform in China. There are other e-commerce subsets under Alibaba, however, none function like Tmall Global. Tmall Global enable international luxury brand to sell directly to Chinese consumers. By doing so, the company eliminates the risk of counterfeit goods and increases consumer trust. There two elements, consumer trust and counterfeit goods, and issues that Alibaba’s other platforms, Taobao and Tmall, are dealing with currently.

Jackson’s first official task as CMO is ” to fly to Los Angeles to play and show”. While there he will document his trip for fans and consumer alike. Furthermore, while there Jackson will also attend the American Music Awards as a representative of Alibaba.

Source (1)(2)

By O.C

Update: BTS’ Upcoming U.S. TV Show Appearances Confirmed

BTS will be making an official TV appearance in the U.S.

The seven-member group will be appearing on the 2017 American Music Awards on Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. (EST). They will also be filming for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” during their trip to the U.S. for the music awards. The broadcast date for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” is Nov. 29.

[UPDATE: Big Hit Entertainment has confirmed BTS’ appearance on “The Ellen Show”. The episode is set to air on Nov. 27]

[UPDATE: BTS will appear on “The Late Late Show” with James Cordon.]

In the meantime, the boy group will release their collaboration remix of ‘Mic Drop’ with Steve Aoki and Desiigner.

They will also perform at the “2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards”The event will be held in Vietnam on Nov. 25, Japan on Nov. 29, and Hong Kong on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

BTS is gaining greater worldwide recognition after the release of their recent album ‘Love Yourself: Her’. The album made its way up Billboard charts and quickly became the highest-charting album ever on the Billboard 200 by a K-pop act. Their single ‘DNA’ topped the World Digital Song Sales Chart with over 18,000 traditional albums sold.



By Janet Kang