A Look at K-Pop and Why You Can’t Deny its Power

The undeniable power of K-Pop

With artists like BTS, BLACKPINK and EXO breaking into the mainstream, K-Pop is no longer limiting artists. Proving its power, it is the new kid on the music block. 

K-Pop has long been known as one of the biggest sub-cultural movements in the world. It began as a local attempt at creating pop music, eventually branching out into a genre. In recent times, the existence of K-Pop as a genre, and an artist-defining term has been dissected both favourably and unfavourably. While some have slated it to be a factory of hitmakers (notably, not unlike Western pop music), others have made an effort to understand the inner workings of the industry. 


BTS rapper, SUGA, famously said of K-Pop in an interview: “I’m always weary of talking about K-Pop as a genre because it isn’t just one thing. It is music, yes. But it’s also the make-up and costumes and dance. It’s more like a content package than just one thing.” Industry experts world over have also tried to box K-Pop in understandable terms, but to no avail. And that failure may in itself be an indicator that K-Pop is no longer just a genre or just an artist-defining term. 

In the past few months, groups from South Korea like BTS, BLACKPINK, TXT and more, have shattered western pop records, shaking up the mainstream pop world. 

BTS currently boast a string of consecutive achievements. They recently beat Adele to become the artists with the most #1s in iTunes history with their song ‘Black Swan’. Their album, “Map of the Soul: 7” just made its way back to No.1  on the Billboard World Albums Chart, for its record 15th non-consecutive week. They also recently scored their 20th #1 on the Billboard World Digital Songs Sales Chart, making chart history. 

BLACKPINK, another mega group from South Korea have been making massive waves in the mainstream pop music landscape with their comeback, a single titled ‘How You Like That’. Collecting 3 brand new Guinness World Records and scoring other chart records, their impact this time around has been undeniable. They currently hold the record for the biggest 24-hour debut of a music video in YouTube history – a whopping 86.3 million views.

They also amassed the largest live audience for the premiere of the music video; an audience of 1.66 million. Their recent collaboration with Lady Gaga, ‘Sour Candy’ also debuted at No. 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 – a chart that is home to the biggest Western music artists. This makes them the highest charting girl group in South Korean history. 

Other groups like TXT and TWICE and soloists like Baekhyun from EXO have also gone on to break into the mainstream music market. Baekhyun recently became South Korea’s first “million seller” in 19 years, and the first of the decade. His second solo album, “Delight”, has sold over a million copies (and counting), also making him the only million seller from a group and as a soloist, in 20 years. 

Breaking into the mainstream, proving records time and time again, these artists appeal to mass audiences, transcending language. And if it wasn’t clear before, there is a new kid on the pop music block. 

By: Ahalya Narayanan