Recent discussions among music industry experts have raised concerns about a potential crisis in K-Pop. However, despite these worries, K-Pop stars have continued to achieve remarkable success in the global market throughout the year.
The Guardian recently published a column noting the diminishing influence of English pop songs in the music market, with the rise of K-Pop and Latin music. The column marked the emergence of K-Pop as a global success story, starting with Psy's "Gangnam Style" in 2012, highlighting the significant impact of Korean pop culture worldwide.
Following Psy's success, BTS has redefined the boy band genre and expanded K-Pop's global influence. This year, several idol groups have gradually made their presence known in the global music scene, indicating a booming period for K-Pop.
Despite focusing on solo activities due to sequential military enlistments, BTS members have continued to break new records with their solo albums. In March, Jimin's first solo album "FACE" topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, a first for a Korean solo artist, setting new milestones in the history of Korean popular music.
Suga, under the name Agust D, solidified his identity with a solo album and held his first solo concert after its release, connecting closely with fans worldwide on the 'SUGA | Agust D-DAY TOUR.'
V released his solo album "Layover," entering the Billboard Hot 100 at number 51, while "Layover" topped Oricon's "Weekly Digital Album Ranking." Jungkook, with "Seven (feat. Latto)," followed Jimin to top the Billboard Hot 100 and won 'Song of Summer' at the '2023 MTV Video Music Awards.'
Additionally, Jungkook's recent solo album "GOLDEN" debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200, setting a tie record for the highest-ranking K-Pop solo artist. "GOLDEN" also marked the highest first-week sales for a K-Pop solo album in the U.S., establishing Jungkook as a 'global pop star.'
Blackpink, continuously setting firsts and records since their debut, held their 'BORN PINK' tour from last October to this September. The tour attracted 1.8 million fans across 34 cities in 66 shows, the largest scale for a K-Pop girl group.
Notably, Blackpink entered North American stadiums like Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Oracle Park in San Francisco, and Dodger Stadium in LA, as well as MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and Foro Sol in Mexico City. In Europe, they were the first K-Pop girl group to perform at Stade de France in Paris.
In addition to their stadium tours, Blackpink headlined major festivals like Coachella in the U.S. and Hyde Park in the UK, solidifying their status as 'world-class.' Rosé also attended a mental health event hosted by Jill Biden at the APEC summit, highlighting the importance of mental health.
Stray Kids achieved a third consecutive number 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 with their album "5-STAR" and were headliners at 'Lollapalooza Paris.' They also won 'Best K-Pop' at the '2023 MTV Video Music Awards' for their song "Maniac."
SEVENTEEN made history with their mini-album 'SEVENTEENTH HEAVEN,' becoming the first artist to surpass 500 million first-week sales (Chodong). They also spoke at the 13th UNESCO Youth Forum, presenting as messengers of hope for the world's youth.
NewJeans, without significant global activities, made an impact with their music alone. Their albums 'OMG' and 'Get Up' achieved phenomenal success, breaking records in the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 charts.
Meanwhile, FIFTY FIFTY, a rookie from a smaller agency, made an unprecedented debut in the Billboard Hot 100 with their first single "Cupid," setting a record for the fastest K-Pop idol group to enter the chart.
Despite these achievements, experts emphasize the need for a sense of crisis in the K-Pop industry. JYP's Park Jin-young and HYBE's Bang Si-hyuk have expressed concerns about the sustainability of K-Pop, highlighting the need for strategies to maintain K-Pop's unique color while captivating global listeners in a rapidly changing music market.