K-pop is constantly growing increasingly popular all around the world. A few years ago, there were only a handful of acts hailing from South Korea that stood a chance of reaching charts and making a commercial impact outside of the country, but now that is no longer the case. New solo stars and beloved groups regularly score successful albums and sometimes even hit singles in territories that had never seen an act from the Asian nation chart just a decade ago.
To highlight just how popular K-pop has become, Hanteo, a company based in South Korea that compiles necessary charts and tracks news in the music industry, has released a Global K-Pop Report, which both names the artists that have made the most significant commercial impact all around the world in the first half of this year, as well as includes figures that show how sales are improving by leaps and bounds.
The report is reportedly based on some criteria, including sales data, chart information, popularity on social media, views of music videos, and more. Perhaps the most exciting section is a ranked list of which names have “shown the most influence,” It is populated by the most prominent and most successful figures in the K-pop space.
Somewhat surprisingly, BTS doesn’t appear at No. 1. The band is primarily considered the most successful South Korean act globally, and in many ways, they are. But the septet hasn’t released a new album so far this year. The group’s older collections are still selling well. Their new single “Butter” has made history in dozens of territories (including in the U.S., where it has owned the Hot 100 for more than a month), but the lack of a full-length filled with new material is likely why then ended up at No. 2.
BTS is beaten to the top spot by NCT Dream, who scored a significant sales win this year with their debut full-length Hot Sauce. The collection sold more than one million copies in its first week of availability, and as they just re-released it with new tracks, their influence will only continue to grow.
Rounding out the upper half of the top 10 on the 50-spot tally are BAEKHYUN (No. 3), the band he’s a member of, EXO (No. 4), and Seventeen (No. 5). Solo acts fill just three spots inside the top 10, and four are claimed by women or groups composed of all females.
Here are the top 10 most influential K-pop musicians in the world in the first half of 2021, according to Hanteo.
- NCT Dream
- Tomorrow X Together