[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.


‘Sky Castle’ Cast Reach K-Pop Idol Popularity Level

The main cast of the hit series “Sky Castle” are enjoying a level of popularity that is typically reserved for K-pop idols.

Image source – Ilgan Sports

Over the weekend, the actors and production team of JTBC’s show “Sky Castle” headed off on a much-deserved vacation in Phuket, Thailand. By the show’s end, the drama had a record-breaking viewership rating of 23.8 percent, a record previously held by “Goblin” starring Gong Yoo.

Given the popularity of the show and its stars, there was fierce competition at Incheon International Airport as people looked to see the actors in person and snap a few pictures. However, the media was not the only ones on site who waited for the actors to file in for their flight. A large number of fan brandishing expensive camera equipment with large lenses. It was a sight that is usually seen only around top-rated K-pop idol groups.

Unlike idols who have many different avenues where they can interact with fans t like autograph sessions, concerts, and music shows it is unusual for actors to have this kind of infrastructure. Moreover, due to the popularity of the “Sky Castle,” an active fan base with demands for goods and information formed. Consequently, as a result, the competition at the airport was even tenser due to the lack of scheduled opportunities to see and possibly interact with the stars.

Likewise, just like idol fans who value the relationship between group members, fans of the show have grown increasingly fascinated with and enthusiastic about the friendship between the “Sky Castle” co-stars. For them, they have outgrown their role as characters from the drama, although they are forever connected to it.

Products, entertainment show appearances, and even other dramas and movies featuring the actors have seen popularity and interest swell, though one industry official cautioned that it’s a temporary effect.





By O.C


IZ*ONE Successful Japanese Showcase Marking International Debut

Kpop idol group IZ*ONE recently performed at their first Japanese showcase singing  好きと言わせたい (Suki to Iwasetai) for the first time at Tokyo Dome’s City Hall.


On January 20, IZ*ONE successfully completed their Japanese showcase performing and greeting fans while also marking their upcoming global debut. It has been reported 4,000 fans came to cheer the idol group through their pre-purchased tickets showing how much love IZ*ONE has been receiving even prior to their upcoming official debut in Japan. IZ*ONE shared their intent to work hard to become global idols with the goal to perform at the Tokyo Dome some day. IZ*ONE also expressed their excitement to finally greet Japan’s WIZ*ONEs signifying the first meeting between IZ*ONE and their fan club in Japan.


IZ*ONE is a kpop idol group consisting of 12 South Korean and Japanese members selected through Mnet’s reality show Produce 48. The group debuted on October 29, 2018 with their extended play Color*IZ with title song La Vie en Rose being well received.


IZ*ONE performed songs from their Japanese single giving fans the first chance to hear it prior to the single being available on February 6.


As their final performance, IZ*ONE performed Produce 48‘s theme song Pick Me ending it with Sakura Miawaki saying “IZ*ONE is so happy to have a chance to meet with WIZ*ONEs even before our Japanese debut. Please continue to cheer for us.”



By Sara N


BTS Jimin Tops December’s Individual Idol Brand Ranking

Jimin from BTS top’s this month ranking for individual idols, followed by Wanna One’s Kang Daniel, and MAMAMOO Hwasa.

Image source – OSEN News

According to an analysis of data from Nov. 28 to Dec. 29, the Korea Enterprise Institute determined that BTS member Jimin took the top spot out of 100 candidates from the biggest individual idol brand.

The brand reputation index is determined by evaluating the online habits of consumers. For this, the Institute analyzed the effect that 100 idols had on brand consumption measured through positive evaluation, media attention, consumers’ interest, and communication.

Jimin’s brand reputation index had 12,506,372 points in total. Goo Chang-hwa, the head of the Institute commented that the singer plays a central role in BTS’ sound and mainly responsible for the executing parts that are of a higher vocal range. ”

A mournful voice seduces the fans’ ears…and is a contemporary dancer. His personality is gentle and nice…and he listens well” Goo said, listing some of Jimin’s appealing qualities. Consumer associated words like “cool,” “cute,” and “warm” with the singer and used words “beautiful” and “romantic” as keywords.

In second place in Kang Daniel with 11,949,952 points and third in Hwasa with 11,062,222. The MAMAMOO member’s appearance on “I Live Alone” hugely appealed to the general public, most likely increasing her general popularity. Meanwhile, BTS V and BLACKPINK Jennie round out the top 5 in fourth and fifth place, respectively.



Original article

Translated by O.C


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!

Original Article
Translated by Dasol Kim


TVXQ’s Yunho to Make Special Appearance on MBC’s Upcoming Program “Under 19”

TVXQ’s Yunho will be making a special appearance on MBC’s upcoming idol debut program “Under 19”

On October 29, a source from MBC’s upcoming idol debut program “Under 19” reported, “TVXQ’s Yunho has confirmed to appear as our special director. Please look forward the advice and encouragement from Yunho – a member of a legendary K-Pop group and the king of performances.”

They continued, “while filming the program, Yunho participated even in the rehearsals of the contestants. At the time, the singer gave much advice to the contestants from the choreography to their facial expressions. Furthermore, he did not withhold his know-how’s that has accumulated over his 15-year career as a K-pop singer.”

At last, they said Yunho was very impressed with the contestants. The source said, “he was taken aback at the skills of these contestants. He showed much affection and anticipation towards the next generation of K-Pop singers.”

Meanwhile, “Under 19” is a new audition program that hopes to launch a global K-Pop boy group at the end of the contest. The program will feature 6 directors in 3 different categories – rap, vocal, and performance. A total of 57 participants, 19 in each category, will compete against one another to debut as a group to lead the next generation of K-Pop.

Previously, EXID’s Solji and Crush confirmed to appear as the vocal directors, with Dynamic Duo as the rap directors. Furthermore, Eunhyuk of Super Junior confirmed to appear as the director of performance alongside SM choreographer, Hwang Sang-Hoon.

The program will premiere on November 3 at 6PM, KST.

Image Source – MBC

Original Article
Translated by Dasol Kim


[HOT CLIP] Watch BTS Perform “IDOL” and “DNA” at Korea-France Friendship Concert

BTS puts on another killer performance at the Korea-France Friendship Concert!

On October 14, BTS performed at the “Resonance of Korean Musicians,” a concert to promote the friendship between Korea and France. On the stage, they put on yet another perfect performances of “IDOL” and “DNA.”

Jungkook had to perform seated in a chair due to a recent injury in his heel. At the end of the video, you can see BTS shaking hands and exchanging hugs with South Korean President Moon Jae-In and the First Lady Kim Jung-Sook.

Check it out below!


Film Featuring BTS on 2017 “Wings” Tour Confirms Release Date

Film featuring boy group BTS “Burn the Stage: The Movie” confirms a cinema release on November 15!

A movie featuring boy group BTS on their 2017 “Wings Tour” will premiere through screen on November 15. The film “Burn the Stage: The Movie” follows the group on their 2017 “Wing” tour, also featuring unreleased backstage and behind-the-scenes footage.

Image Source – Big Hit Entertainment

The film was originally released as an 8-part YouTube Original series in March. They have condensed these episodes into an 85 minute film, ready for a screen release in November.

“Burn the Stage: The movie” will contain close interviews of BTS during “2017 BTS Live Trilogy Episode III The Wings Tour,” which spanned over 300 days in 19 cities and 40 concerts. Furthermore, the film will also showcase the big career moments of BTS, such as receiving their first-ever Billboard Music Awards in May and their first performance at the American Music Awards in November.

Meanwhile, the band is currently on “Love Yourself: Answer” tour in Europe. The first concert took place at the O2 Arena in London on October 10. Moreover, the group is also set to appear on the upcoming broadcast of “The Graham Norton Show,” on which Jimin unfortunately missed out due to health-related concerns.

Original Article
Translated by Dasol Kim


BTS Jimin to Not Appear on “The Graham Norton Show” Due to Severe Muscle Pain

BTS’ Jimin will not appear on the upcoming broadcast of BBC’s “The Graham Norton Show” due to health-related concerns.

Big Hit Entertainment has announced that Jimin will not be joining the rest of BTS on the recording for BBC’s “The Graham Norton Show,” scheduled to take place on October 12.

The following is the official notice from the agency:

We regret to announce that one of the members of BTS, Jimin, will not be able to take part in the recording of the band’s appearance tonight on the Graham Norton Show.

On the morning of the day of the recording, Jimin began suffering from severe muscle pain in his neck and back and received medical attention. While Jimin made every effort to take part in the program, including arriving at the studio, the decision was made for Jimin not to take part in the recording due to his condition.

We sincerely apologize to all of our fans who have been eagerly awaiting the band’s appearance on the Graham Norton Show, and ask for your understanding.

Thank You.


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

Original Article
Translated by Dasol Kim


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