back in figures about a worldwide phenomenon

Korea invites itself to the Japan expo. The biggest show about Japanese pop culture in France this year deviates from the guideline, with the arrival of the “K-pop village” in one of the hangars of the exhibition, in Villepinte (Seine-Saint-Dennis). A dance space especially dedicated to Korean pop music, where four K-pop dance groups will perform throughout the event.

Another example of the colossal place K-pop holds in the industry and in the music world in general. But how has this style emerged as a true pillar of Korean soft power in just a few years? Back in five figures about the style of music that took the charts of the planet by storm.

1.8 million records

This is the number of records sold by the pioneers of K-pop, the group Seo Taiji & Boys, when they released their first album. The boy band’s first appearance on Korean television on April 11, 1992 marked the birth of K-pop in the eyes of the general public. They lay the foundation of this new music style: a boy band, a mix of genres with hip-hop accents and an already very visual universe.

This performance by Seo Taiji & Boys and the album of the same name released the year of their performance and marked a turning point for K-Pop and paved the way for an entire generation of young Korean artists.

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eight million dollars

This is the amount generated by the clip of Gangnam Style, by singer Psy, in 2012. Twenty years after the birth of K-pop, the title exploded the style internationally and shook the music industry. The Korean is on the cover of Billboard (American magazine dedicated to the record industry) and his song is the first to reach the bar of one billion views on YouTube, a record that reveals as symbolic as the success of the title.

Psy signed with one of the most fashionable American executives of the time and definitively sealed the future of K-pop beyond the borders of his country of origin.

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25.8 billion streams

This is the total number of streams achieved in 2021 by BTS, one of the most famous K-pop groups in the world. An absolute record for Korean artists, landing the group on the most stages of streaming platforms. BTS rose to the third most-streamed artist spot on Spotify last year, and their song “Dynamite” has been the most-streamed on Apple Music for months.

30 hours

It took just 30 hours for the K-pop group Blackpink to reach 100 million views on YouTube and set an all-time record on the platform. An unprecedented score, achieved in 2020 by the style’s most famous female group, just four years after its founding in 2016.

Blackpink also holds the record for the most YouTube subscribers for a musical artist, with 70 million subscribers, according to the group’s promotion agency. In total, their channel currently has 32 videos reaching or exceeding 100 million views on the platform.

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$3.6 billion

This is the value of the economic benefits generated by the BTS group in South Korea, according to the Hyundai Research Institute. A figure that is mainly based on the extra visibility that the group offers Korean brands internationally and on the number of tourists it attracts. In 2017, 800,000 people visited South Korea thanks to the image of the group, which represents more than 7% of the total number of foreign tourists.

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