[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.


Sunmi’s First World Tour ‘WARNING’ Sells Out in Less Than a Day

Having announced her world tour just last week on Jan. 15, singer Sumin has proven her star power once again.

Screen capture from Sunmi’s personal Twitter account

It took less than a day for ticket’s to Sunmi’s first world tour to sell out after they went on sale Tuesday evening. In fact, it took about 10 hours for fans to snatch up all the available tickets.

The singer’s first ever solo world tour is set to launch in Seoul next month and will include stops in 12 different cities throughout the world. In particular, Sunmi is expected will have shows in Asia as well as North America with stops in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Vancouver, Calgary and more.

Image source – Make Us Entertainment

According to reports, destinations listed are part of the first leg of her tour. At a later date, the singer’s agency Make Us Entertainment plans to release an additional schedule. Reportedly, there will be stops in Europe and other parts of the world.

Sunmi’s unique sensual performances and always on trend music have proven to be captivating, interesting, and have mass interest. Meanwhile, with tickets bought, expectations for her solo concert are growing for many who will see her for the first time in person.




Translated by O.C


Actress Jang Mi-Inae Warns Fan Who Repeatedly Requests Video Chat Late at Night

Jang Mi-Inae asks her fans to respect her privacy!

On November 26, actress Jang Mi-Inae posed a slight warning on her Instagram. She was targeting at a fan who had repeatedly tried to video chat her late at night.

The actress said, “I realize you are a fan of mine. But, this has become way too much. I’m sorry, but this shouldn’t happen so late at night. There are more of you who have been doing this to me for a while, but I couldn’t let it slide any longer.”

She continued, “you may think that I should just block him and let it go. However, I still want to communicate with you, listen and see things enough before making any haste decision. If you continue this act, I will block you. Not only that, I will take strong action.”

Furthermore, the actress posted a screen-captured image of what it seemed to be a chat on Instagram. It was evident that the so-called fan had repeatedly tried to video chat the actress. The call had begun around 9:03 PM and seemed to have gone on until 11:33 PM.


Original Article
Translated by Dasol Kim


GOT7 Youngjae Issues a Strong Warning to Stalker Fans

After a previous warning several months ago, GOT7 member Youngjae is forced to issue another to stalker fans.

Image source – JYP Entertainment

On November 1, Youngjae took to his personal Instagram to issue a message directed at stalker fans. “I don’t like thing too (to do this) so stop (doing it). Everybody please stop…there are limits to being patient,” he said. Continuing he asks “Does it feel good? Having people you don’t know contacting you? Even if you say a few good things you should know I am not going to listen,” the singer informed the problematic fans.

Lastly, he wrote that “from now on, I will collect and capture [the messages and calls]” and asks them not to contact him. It seems that for the past few months or longer, the GOT7‘s main vocalist has been dealing with stalker fans calling or messaging his personal phone and Instagram accounts. Now, it appears that he has decided to take matters into his own hands to stave off the unwanted and invasive attention.



Original article

Translated by O.C


Sunmi Enlisted ‘Gangnam Style’ and ‘Gashina’ Choreographers for Comeback Routine

Singer Sunmi is paying particular attention to the choreography for her upcoming comeback.

Image source – Daily Sports

On September 4, Sunmi will make a highly-anticipated comeback with her new album WARNING. Further, with her previous releases “Gashina” and Heroine” certified hits, her fans are looking forward to the singer’s next concept.

If clues about the dance routine are any help, then we can say that the soloist’s next title track is going to have crazy and catchy choreography. According to Daily Sports, the singer has enlisted the talents Jang Joo-hee who worked on Psy‘s “Gangnam Style” and Lia Kim whom she paired up with for “Gashina.”

Fans’ expectations are on the rise as the singer continues to drop hints and teaser about her return. According to information released, WARNING will be the final installment in the singer’s three-part project. Sunmi plans to use the last album to connect the main character that she introduced in “Gashina” and elaborated on in “Heroine.”

Unfortunately, the three teasers she has released thus far have done little to quell fans’ curiosity. Fractal-lens type images overlaid with the names of the album and songs provide few clues.

Meanwhile, the singer will return after eight months on September 4 at 6 pm KST.



Original article

Translated by O.C


Sunmi Talks About New Album in Fashion Magazine BAZAAR Pictorials

Sunmi warns about her upcoming album in pictorials with fashion magazine Harper’s Bazzar!

On August 20, a fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar released a few sneak peeks from the recent photoshoot with solo artist Sunmi. In the interview that followed the photoshoot, the singer talked about her upcoming album “Warning” and a few of her makeup tips.

First, Sunmi mentioned that she likes to go with a simpler look when she’s not on stage. The singer said, “I usually put on extravagant makeup when I’m going on stage. However, in my daily life, I go with more of a natural look only with base makeup. I normally add a red lip as my “point makeup” because I consider that as a part of my accessories. It does a great job of attracting attention.”

Then, she talked about her upcoming album “Warning” scheduled for a release on September 4. Sunmi said, “the definition of word “warning” plays a big role in this upcoming mini album. It could mean a small, trivial warning or big warnings that could endanger people’s lives.”

She continued, “I also put the focus on my voice this time. I want everyone to pay more attention to that as well.”

Check out Sunmi’s stunning pictures below!

Meanwhile, Sunmi also released a title poster for the upcoming album “Warning,” which is scheduled for a release on September 4 at 6 PM, KST. This album will act as the final portion of her 3-part album project, following the release of “Gashina” and “Heroine” from last year.

Image Source – Harper’s Bazaar Korea

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


Newly Debuted Soloist Kim Dong-Han’s Agency Warns Sasaeng Fans

The agency of Kim Dong-Han, a former member of JBJ, warned Sasaeng fans about the invasion of the artist’s privacy.

On June 18, Kim Dong-Han’s agency Oui Entertainment posted a warning against Sasaeng fans about invading the artist’s privacy. The company said, “there is an increasing amount of fans who are continuously visiting our headquarter, practice rooms, and the artist’s dorms. This is a huge invasion of privacy. If this were to continue, we will release the footage from our security cameras without blurring out the image.”

Meanwhile, Kim Dong-Han debuted as a soloist on June 19 at 6PM, KST. He first appeared in the entertainment industry thorough Mnet’s ‘Produce 101 season 2,’ and officially debuted as a member of project boy group, JBJ. After the group disbanded in April, Kim Dong-Han debuted as a soloist with his first mini-album, ‘D-DAY.’

The following is Oui Entertainment’s official statement:

We announce the official events and schedule of Kim Dong-Han that fans can participate through our official fan-cafe or Twitter. Besides those official events, we will prohibit all unofficial visits from fans, who come by the headquarter, practice rooms, or the dorms and invade Dong-Han’s privacy.

We are planning on taking strong legal action against those who continue to invade his privacy, so please refrain yourself from coming to unofficial events.

Furthermore, we have previously warned about the invasion of privacy. However, the number of fans who continuously visit Dong-Han during his unofficial events is increasing.

Once again, please refrain yourself from visiting the artist where it could invade his privacy.

If this continues, we will release the footage from our security cameras without blurring, and will prevent you from participating in Dong-Han’s official events as well.

Dong-Han is currently preparing and working hard for his upcoming solo activities. If you were to violate the terms above, you will be given disadvantages in the future.

Please be mindful of this notice, and we ask for an enjoyable and pleasant fan activities from you. Thank you.

Original Article
Translated by Dasol Kim