BTS suspends activities, who will lead the next wave of Hallyu?

BTS focuses on solo activities, and K-Pop fans have raised the question of which group will gradually lead the Hallyu wave in the future

Recently, BTS made the public extremely confused when they announced that they would suspend group activities in the near future to focus on each member’s individual projects. This also means that the group name BTS will no longer appear when standing with current groups. And the most asked question is the bright candidate to replace BTS to gradually lead the upcoming K-Pop wave.

Among the listed candidates, BLACKPINK is considered the strongest candidate for becoming the next K-Pop artist (after BTS) as the most popular K-Pop group in the world. According to the global Hallyu trends report in 2021 published by the Korea International Culture Exchange, the top Korean artist in the K-Pop field is BLACKPINK, following BTS. This is also the second year in a row that BLACKPINK is ranked 2nd in this report.

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BTS taking a break from group activities and focusing on solo activities could be an opportunity for another group to become the leader of the Hallyu wave. (Photo: Bighit Music)

In fact, even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the influence of the Hallyu wave is still growing globally. Korean exports related to Hallyu are still growing steadily, reaching 10.175 billion USD in 2021, up 9% from the previous year. This also means, there is no reason why the Hallyu wave will stop after the news that BTS is suspending group activities, it just needs another leader.

Experts point out that BTS and BLACKPINK have been central to K-Pop’s global popularity in recent years. If you look at the ranking of the most popular K-Pop artists voted by foreign audiences last year, it is easy to see that BTS is at the top with 22% of the votes, followed by BLACKPINK with 12.5%. However, it must be added that the percentage difference between these two positions is a huge number, up to 10%. In 3rd place but far behind are Psy with 2.5%, TWICE 2.4%, and EXO with 2.1%.

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BLACKPINK is predicted to become the next leader of the K-Pop wave. (Photo: Rolling Stone)

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Psy is also a globally famous K-Pop artist. (Image: Getty Images)

On YouTube, BLACKPINK’s popularity is shown most clearly. As of June 16, the number of subscribers to the YouTube channel of the 4 YG girls has reached 74.7 million, ranking first among artists worldwide.

After debuting in 2016, the group has become incredibly popular. Two years later, they signed with Interscope Records, a record label under Universal Music. The group has built international recognition through collaborating with world-class pop stars such as Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Dua Lipa, and Cardi B.

In addition, another aspect of BLACKPINK that can be considered as one of the reasons why the group easily reaches the world is that the 4 members all have different cultural backgrounds: Jisoo grew up in Korea, and Rosé grew up in Korea. Growing up in New Zealand, Jennie studied abroad and Lisa came from Thailand. According to information from YG, the BLACKPINK girls will return to the track this year. Thus, it is possible that BLACKPINK’s comeback will be more explosive than ever.

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