[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)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH1PVvFj8cE

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)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHFL-mIeZX4

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)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k1-jOZ7f1w

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.

https://twitter.com/BTS_twt/status/1100449341200773121

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.

https://youtu.be/D_nyuB8GbM8

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QK-HR7xfEA

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

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlTF_iJhvlh/?hl=en

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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn8S5QphtwR/

 

https://twitter.com/LINEFRIENDSinfo/status/1054826311938646018

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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnshifThY9g/

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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnXnJ-7BF8X/

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. 

https://youtu.be/PIMB64pJS3o

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!

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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 Receives First Platinum Single and First Gold Album by RIAA

BTS sets yet another record by becoming the first Korean group to receive a gold album by the RIAA!

On November 21, it was revealed that the latest album of BTS “Love Yourself: Answer” was recognized as a gold album by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album had reached over 500,000 units sold, thus placing itself well within the requirement of gold certification of the RIAA.

Image Source – Big Hit Entertainment

Furthermore, the Association also announced that BTS “MIC Drop” received a platinum certification for reaching over 1,000,000 units. This particular track was the group’s first gold certification in February. Afterwards, the group received gold for 3 more singles, including “DNA,” “Fake Love,” and now, “IDOL.”

Moreover, the “MIC Drop” is the second-ever Korean track to be recognized as platinum. In 2013, PSY received the first-ever platinum for his single “Gangnam Style.”

Congratulations to BTS!

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Translated by Dasol Kim

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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.

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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.

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BTS Confirmed to Attend and Perform at the 2018 Asia Artist Awards

BTS confirms attendance for the 2018 Asia Artist Awards amidst busy schedule!

On October 5, BTS confirmed their attendance, as well as performance, for the upcoming 2018 Asia Artist Awards. The ceremony will take place on November 28 at the Namdong Gymnasium in Incheon, South Korea.

Image Source – BigHit Entertainment

Many K-Pop stars have already confirmed to attend this particular awards. The lineup revelation started with Wanna One in August, followed by Seventeen and TWICE. Furthermore, “Mr. Sunshine” actor Lee Byung-Hun also confirmed to attend, generating much buzz in the community. In addition, Super Junior’s Leeteuk and actress Lee Sung-Kyung confirmed to host the awards.

At last, the 2018 AAA makes its lineup even greater by including the sensational boy group BTS in its list of artists in attendance. The group’s attendance was as expected due to their growing popularity across the globe.

Meanwhile, the 2018 AAA will continue to announce a total of 20 artists and 20 actors who will attend the ceremony. It reportedly plans to turn the whole first floor into a standing section this year, thus hoping to create a “crazy festival,” where fans and artists can enjoy their time together.

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BigHit Entertainment Clarifies BTS Appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”

BigHit responds to reports about BTS re-appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and says it’s a re-edited broadcast from May.

On August 27, reports stated that BTS was appearing on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” for the third time. According to the show’s schedule, the August 30 episode supposedly features another performance by the boy group, while Mario Lopez guest-host the show.

Image Source – BigHit Entertainment

However, BigHit Entertainment responded to the reports and said the group did not participate in a new recording. A source from the agency said, “they are re-editing BTS’ appearance from May for the upcoming episode. The group did not participate in a new recording for the show.”

In other words, the audience will not be seeing BTS perform their newest title track “IDOL” on the show. Instead, the show will replay their “Fake Love” performance from May, in celebration of the group’s comeback.

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BTS Reveals to Have Collaborated with Nicki Minaj for Upcoming Album

BTS reveals they have collaborated with rapper Nicki Minaj for a track in the upcoming “Love Yourself: Answer” album!

BTS, with a release of their upcoming album ahead of them, revealed that they have collaborated with rapper Nicki Minaj. The track they worked on together is entitled “IDOL,” which is a special digital track that is not included in the physical copy of the album.

Image Source – BigHit Entertainment

BigHit Entertainment reports that BTS sent Nicki Minaj a request to feature a song in the album. After finishing their work on the album, the group thought her rapping style would suit the track perfectly, and the rapper willingly accepted the request.

Moreover, the agency says Nicki Minaj’s unique rap style will compliment the original track in a new way. Different from “IDOL” that’s actually included in the physical album, “IDOL feat. Nicki Minaj” will take things on a whole new level.

Thus, this news add on to the anticipation among fans all around the world, as they await the big finale of the grand “Love Yourself” series that have been going on for two and a half years.

Meanwhile, BTS is releasing their “Love Yourself: Answer” album on August 24 at 6PM, KST. Afterwards, the group will hod their solo concerts in Seoul, performing their newest tracks for the first time in front of fans.

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BTS Receives Nominations for Order of Cultural Merit

Group BTS is unstoppable! They just became the youngest group to receive nomination for the Order of Cultural Merit, presented by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism recently announced that BTS became one of the 12 nominees to received the Order of Cultural Merit this year. They will announce the winner at the 2018 Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards, taking place on October 31.

Image source – BigHit Entertainment

An Order of Cultural Merit is awarded to a person who has devoted themselves into improving the national development in the fields of culture and arts. Alongside BTS, actors Lee Soon-Jae, Kim Young-Chul, Lim Ha-Ryong, and CUBE Entertainment’s president Shin Dae-Nam placed their names on the nominees’ list.

Regarding the nomination, the Ministry of Culture said, “BTS gained recognition in both domestic and international music industry for their achievement. Consequently, they contributed much to the improvement of Hallyu in Japan, the United States, and around the world. Furthermore, most members are singer-songwriters who have the ability to write, compose, and produce music themselves.”

Moreover, BTS has previously received a commendation from the Minister of Culture at the 2016 Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards. Afterwards, the group managed to win two consecutive awards at the Billboard Music Awards, and secured their places in the music charts, ultimately receiving the nominations for the higher honor than a commendation.

Meanwhile, the group is currently preparing to release their repackaged album “Love Yourself: Answer” on August 24. Afterwards, they will embark on another world tour, starting with Seoul on August 25 and 26. During the tour, BTS plans to hold in total of 33 concerts in 16 different cities around the world. Recently, they set another record by becoming the first Korean group to hold a stadium concert in the U.S.

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BTS Becomes First Korean Group to Have Stadium Concert in America

Another record set by BTS in history of K-Pop: the group has become the first Korean artists to have a stadium concert in the U.S!

On August 9, it was confirmed that BTS added one more stop in their “Love Yourself” world tour by holding a concert at Citi Field stadium in New York on October 6.

Image Source – BigHit Entertainment

This stop is especially meaningful because it made them the first Korean group to hold a stadium concert in America. According to a source, about 40,000 seats are available for the concert at Citi Field, which is larger than any other venues the group has hold concerts before.

Previously, BTS had mentioned their wish to hold an international concert at a stadium during their interview with American press. With the upcoming concert in New York, the group achieves their dream and set another record in K-Pop history.

Meanwhile, the group is currently preparing to release their repackaged album “Love Yourself: Answer” on August 24. Afterwards, they will embark on another world tour, starting with Seoul on August 25 and 26. During the tour, BTS plans to hold in total of 33 concerts in 16 different cities around the world.

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Translated by Dasol Kim

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BLACKPINK’s “DDU DU DDU DU” Becomes Most-Viewed Korean MV in 24 Hours on YouTube

BLACKPINK’s “DDU DU DDU DU” became the most-viewed Korean MV within 24 hours on YouTube!

BLACKPINK’s “DDU DU DDU DU” music video beat previous records set by PSY with “Gentleman,” and became the most-viewed Korean music video within 24 hours on YouTube. In addition, the music video also beat BTS’ May Release “Fake Love.”

Image Source – YouTube

According to the YouTube streaming data, “DDU DU DDU DU” reached over 36.2 million views within 24 hours. The video surpassed PSY’s 2013 release “Gentleman” and BTS’ “Fake love,” which saw 36 million and 35.9 million, respectively.

On July 5, Metro News also confirmed that “DDU DU DDU DU” is the second most-viewed music video in the first 24-hour period in YouTube History. The video came in close second to Taylor Swift’s 2017 release, “Look What You Made Me Do” with 43.2 million views. Furthermore, Billboard selected the song as the “biggest 24-hour debut of 2018.”

Image Source – Metro News

Billboard reported, “K-pop quarter BLACKPINK broke numerous records with the release of their Square Up album last month. Now they can add one more accolade to their name: the girl group has now broken the record for the most-viewed Korean music video within 24 hours of its release on YouTube.”

BLACKPINk doesn’t need to say much; their records prove that the girl group is, indeed, the revolution.

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