K-pop’s global expansion could not be prevented by the epidemic or China’s cultural regulation. Last year, record exports reached an all-time high, making history again. According to the Korea Customs Service’s import and export trade statistics, on the 16th, album exports recorded 289.5 billion won (233.113 million dollars), an increase of 5.6% from the previous year.
Domestic record exports have been steadily increasing every year since BTS first exceeded 40 million dollars in 2017 when they started to enter the United States. In particular, it exceeded $100 million and $200 million in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
As the novel coronavirus infection (Corona 19) began to spread globally in 2020, face-to-face performances of overseas tours such as concerts and fan meetings became impossible for a long time.
The country that imported the most albums during the same period was Japan, which recorded 106.5 billion won (85.749 million dollars). China followed it with 63.7 billion won (51.326 million dollars), and the United States with 48.3 billion won (38.877 million dollars). Taiwan, the Netherlands, Thailand, Hong Kong, Germany, Indonesia, and France followed it.
Each music agency does not disclose specific export performances by the singer. However, according to the annual album chart, the sum of exports and domestic consumption last year, BTS took first place.
BTS’ “Proof” sold 3.48 million copies, ranking first in last year’s best-selling album. Stray Kids’ “MAXIDENT” sold 3.18 million copies, Seventeen’s “Face the Sun” sold 2.87 million copies, and Blackpink’s “Born Pink” sold 2.52 million copies. Ive, who made a sensation as a rookie girl group, sold 1.65 million copies with the single “After Like” and ranked 10th on the annual chart.