[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.


BLACKPINK Jennie ‘Solo’ Video Surpasses 100 Million Views!

Blackpink sets another record in 2019! BLACKPINK Jennie’s ‘Solo’ debut has gotten over 100 million views!


On February 25 (KST), YG’s founder Yang Hyun Suk commemorated BLACKPINK setting a another record again on his Instagram! Member Jennie’s ‘Solo’ choreography unedited version hit 100 Million views within 102 days.


Jennie made her solo debut on November 15, 2018. Jennie made an “all kill” on all the music charts in Korea and was No.1 on the iTunes charts of 40 countries with ‘Solo’. Congratulations to BLACKPINK and BLINKs!

Jennie- ‘Solo’ Choreography Unedited Version:



By Sara N


YG Releases Behind-The-Scene Stories from BLACKPINK’s World Tour

YG releases first episode of BLACKPINK Diaries: World Tour in Your Area that shows behind the scenes stories during their world tour this year.


On February 16 at 4 pm (KST), YG released the first episode of behind the scenes clips from BLACKPINK’s tour in Thailand on BLACKPINK’s Official Youtube Channel. This episode showed viewers how meaningful it was for Lisa to return to her hometown (Bangkok) to meet BLINKs to experience much love and attention.


Lisa shared in excitement “I really wanted to come to Thailand as soon as possible. I wanted to perform for our fans in Thailand.” Jisoo stated “We have prepared many performances for our world tour, BLINKs let’s tour the world together.”


BLINKs are you ready for BLACKPINK’s tour in your country?


By Sara N


BLACKPINK Jennie Leads Beauty Ideals Shift from Hot-Girl-Next-Door to Luxurious

For the first time in almost half a decade, the ideal “beauty goddess” of the South Korean entertainment industry is changing.

Image source – YG Entertainment

Beauty brands put a lot of data behind the faced they choose to model their products to capture the attention of women, who are usually high-spending consumers.

Brands measure various indexes to determine who women admire and want to be like. From this, the beauty advertising industry has revealed a change in the idealization of beauty through their marketing. New faces have begun to edge out previous long-lived celebrity brand models as new “beauty goddesses” signaling a change in beauty perceptions.

In particular, BLACKPINK member Jennie, who had a solo debut last year, has been working as an ambassador and model of several different brands for about a year. As time has gone on, her marketability has made her the most in-demand brand model out there upsetting actress Jun Ji-hyun‘s position. Since about 2015, Jun had acted as a model and standard beauty symbol in various advertisements. It is the first time in four years that another star has risen to rival her status.

Image source – Instagram

A representative from one brand said that Jennie’s rise has to do with her different look.

“Jennie has an elegant and luxurious image,” said the representative. It appears that the hot-girl-next-door image that stars like IU, Suzy, and Seolhyun have, while still marketable, may not be in as much demand.

Jennie is known as the muse of costly and opulent clothing and cosmetics. Nicknamed “Human Chanel” due to her liking of the brand, she had become a model coveted by several brands like Chanel. Along with her role in the current generation’s expansion of the Hallyu wave, she now plays a highly influential role domestically and globally.

Image source – JTBC

If Jennie works for the younger consumer group, actors from the JTBC drama” Sky Castle” have stepped into the role of models for an older generation.

Mo Art, a cosmetics company, recently selected Kim Seo-hyung and Oh Na-ra as advertising models for a new product it plans to launch. Talking about the two, the company said that they not only showed acting skills but also had good looks and great skin that belied their real age. Additionally, Yum Jung-ah is also discussing possible deals with several companies. One is reportedly looking to build a campaign around the character she portrayed in the drama.




By O.C


[HOT CLIP] BLACKPINK Announced North American Tour on ‘Good Morning America’

BLACKPINK has entered the U.S. market is with a performance on the “Late Night Show” and “Good Morning America” in New York.

While on the morning show, the member talking about their being in the U.S. and why they think the time is right for them to begin sharing their music with the American public.


YG Reports that BLACKPINK Will Have a Comeback Next Month

BLACKPINK is about a month away from returning with a new album.

On Friday, the CEO of YG Entertainment Yang Hyun-suk (YG) posted some information regarding BLACKPINK’s future activities as both a group and as solo artists. As a group, a new song and EP is scheduled for release in mid to late March and will have a number of new songs on the tracklist.

The release of their new album comes about nine months after their last return highlighted by title song “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du,” which has over 300 million views on YouTube. This milestone is particularly impressive as it was released less than a year ago in June.

This appears to be a response to fans’ request for more songs. In once answer the CEO acknowledged that the “fans’ greatest desire is to release new song more often” and for more regular full-length albums. However, he says that he cannot meet that desire explaining that while it is important to release new songs frequently, he believes that is is “even more important for BLACKPINK to release more high-quality songs and music videos.”

Like most of the group’s discography, head producer Teddy is and will be working on BLACKPINK’s songs. Talking about this a bit, Yang wrote that “they were more than I had imagined” and “you can look forward to it.”

Additionally, he reveals that he recently meet with Lucian Grainge from Universal Music and John Janick from Interscope Records to talk about the group’s expansion into the U.S. market. From the meeting, the reaffirmed they believe in the group and are pushing for its successful promotion.

Besides the group news, there was also more news about the members’ solo debuts. According to Yang, the next in like to go solo is Rosé. She will have her moment in the spotlight sometime after the group, but things seemed to be progressing steadily. “We’ve finished selecting [songs] that be suit Rosé vocals,” he wrote. Although YG Entertainment has not nailed a timeline down, Yang said that plans to have Rosé, Lisa, and Jisoo release solo songs within the year.

Meanwhile, the group is going to appear on Good Morning America on the 13th and 15th with GMA Day. Moreover, they are also performing at Coachella in April.




By O.C


Actor Joo Won Talks About Acting and BLACKPINK

In a short interview with the media after being discharged from the military, actor Joo Won spoke about his service and acting.

Image source – OSEN News

When Joo Won completed his mandatory military service on Tuesday, fans from both Korea and overseas greeted the actor. Chatting with the media shortly afterward, the actor thanked fans for the support. “While I was in the military a lot of my fans sent me letters. I missed my fans so much,” he said.

But he didn’t just miss his fans nor were the only thing that helped him get through his service. Joo also expressed excitement about being able to act again although he hasn’t decided on his first project yet. Recalling his service time, he recounts how he felt.

“When I watched TV at the military base, it was a question (their next project) that people ask celebrities a lot (after they are discharged), so I gave it a lot of thought. There were so many [that I wanted to act in],” said Joo.

The shows and movies he was able to watch on TV gave him strength, but so too did girl groups. “Many soldiers gained a lot of morale from watching television and from girl groups. Among them BLACKPINK was the best,” the actor commented, adding that other groups also boosted troops’ morale.




Translated by O.C


EXO Kai and BLACKPINK Jennie Have Reportedly Parted Ways

Having been outed by Dispatch earlier this year, singers Kai and Jennie have reportedly parted ways due to excessive media attention.

On Friday, EXO Kai and BLACKPINK Jennie once again found themselves in the spotlight. Rumors had begun to spread that the two who were just starting to get to know each other had parted ways. Responding to an inquiry from OSEN News, a representative from EXO’s agency SM Entertainment confirmed the rumors, saying “that is the truth.”

At the beginning of January, Dispatch released an exclusive report claiming that the two singers were in a relationship. At that time, SM Entertainment said that the two have “fond feelings for each other,” leading many to believe that they were just starting to get to know one another. As a result, it may have been too early to say that they are in a full-on relationship.

The report led to several different conversations. However, the most prominent being that many fans felt that the report invaded the star’s privacy. Going forward many advocated for the idea that the media and the public should avoid paying too much attention to their private lives. Kai and Jennie themselves reportedly echoed this sentiment by expressing discomfort at having pictures of their lives off stage being forcibly disclosed.

Nonetheless, although romance seems to be off the table, for now, Kai and Jennie are expected to continue their careers unperturbed. After completing promotions for EXO’s “Tempo” and “Love Shot,” Kai plan to focus on individual activities with a solo album possibly in the works.

Likewise, Jennie is also busy on BLACKPINK’s first world tour. Following their stops in Bangkok and Jakarta, the group will head to North America, Europe and Australia before returning to Asia.




Translated by O.C


‘Baby Shark’ Song Lands on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart

Congratulations to the popular Baby Shark song for getting listed on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for 2 weeks in a row!


On January 15, OSEN reported the English version of the children’s song Shark Family known as Baby Shark was No.38 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart!


This isn’t the first time the Baby Shark has made its mark on a Billboard chart. Back in July 2018, the catchy song made its appearance on Billboard’s Kid Digital Song Sales chart. Additionally, the Baby Shark video on YouTube has gotten over 2.1 Billion views since its release on June 2016.


The catchy “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo” has gone viral gaining international love and attention. There have been many headlines wondering what makes this song so addicting like CNN’s headline “What’s behind the insane popularity of ‘Baby Shark’? Lets examine.”


It has been said Baby Shark became an international sensation largely thanks to Kpop groups like BLACKPINK and Red Velvet singing and dancing along to the cute song. As a result, it became viral first in Korea followed by other parts in Asia (especially in Indonesia) before it made its way to the US to captivate children with its catchy beat. The song is popular with not only children but also adults through the “Baby Shark Challenge” that has gone viral. What do you think of the song?

[socialpoll id=”2534752″]


By Sara N