BTS’s worldwide success paved the way for other K-pop groups, but also set incredibly high standards.
So-called fourth-generation acts, or acts that debuted after BTS in 2013 or have at least three years of industry experience, such as Ateez, The Boyz, and Stray Kids, are making a concerted effort to be successful. abroad.
Ateez, The Boyz and Stray Kids put on powerful performances on Mnet’s “Kingdom: Legendary War” audition program, with the goal of having compelling videos to post online. Such content can help attract new fans from all over the world and create more album sales.
But this is not the first time that such acts have attracted a global audience. From day one, these groups have been targeting K-pop fans by giving concerts both at home and abroad.
But since the pandemic, fourth-generation acts have had to take other avenues to gain worldwide attention.
While participating in more projects in Korea, they are producing more online content to entertain fans overseas. Considering that the three to four year period is important for K-pop groups who typically sign a standard seven-year management contract, this marks the time when they are evaluated by fans or industry experts to find out if they are. they have the potential to go further. .
The Boyz of Cre.ker Entertainment who debuted in 2017, as well as Stray Kids of JYP and KQ’s Ateez who debuted the following year, are often mentioned as the representative groups of the fourth generation of K acts. -pop. The three also earned the collective nickname of “zzz”, thanks to the z sound in each of their group names. The synergy of the groups increases even more as the three participate in the same TV show, âKingdom: Legendary Warâ by Mnet.
The current weekly show began in April after completing the âRoad to Kingdomâ prequel, the winners of which earned a spot in the âKingdom: Legendary Warâ contest. The Boyz, who won âRoad to Kingdom,â competes with many other idol groups who are all trying to find their way onto the world stage.
While Cube Entertainment’s BTOB, which debuted 10 years ago, puts more emphasis on their vocals, YG Entertainment’s iKon, with seven years in the industry, takes a freer, SF9 approach from FNC, who has six years of experience, likes to enhance their appearance.
What makes these three groups even more popular is their ability to produce content for fans themselves. A member is appointed with the task of coordinating how others will show their personality and attract as many fans as possible with their different characteristics.
Three of the eight members of Stray Kids work as producers to lead the group in certain directions and increase their audience.
Ateez does the same with its frontman Hongjoong, who originally dreamed of becoming a producer. The group caught the attention of industry experts with their thematic performances, including one inspired by the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ film series.
The Boyz took inspiration from the American television series “Game of Thrones” and focused some of their performances on the series. Sales of the group’s regular debut album âRevealâ, released in February last year, reached 80,000 copies, but the number quadrupled to 360,000 copies when he released his fifth EP âChaseâ in September after. have finished his run on “Road to Kingdom”.
Ateez has sold 390,000 copies of his sixth EP “Zero: Fever” released in March. It also saw the strongest growth in the number of new members joining its online community in April this year, according to K-Pop Radar, a service that collects data to record the movements of K-pop fans.
According to pop culture critic Kim Young-dae, all three groups focus their performances on demonstrating the powerful movements of their members, telling strong stories and making sure each performance has a different concept.
âSuch a trend is seen in the K-pop industry as acts move into the North and South American markets,â Kim said. It is often said that first and second generation artists worked in Asia and interacted with fans from neighboring countries, while the third generation worked to attract fans from more diverse countries around the world and adapted their style to attract fans to those countries.
“It may still be too early to make any connections between the idol groups under the title of the fourth generation and the momentum they see as the distinction between one generation and another is not clear until after. ‘Some time has not passed,’ said Kim Yoon-ha, another pop culture critic.
âHowever, it is evident that [these three groups] are the ones that show what’s trending and popular in the scene. ”
Kim also pointed out that what excites fans all over the world are the videos, as these contents give fans the chance to learn more about emerging groups in Korea.
“From a video of them on stage or [just a video featuring the members] has the greatest power to get the word out about the act, those who debuted more recently have gone to great lengths to make their performances as good as possible, âKim said. The reviewer also pointed out that this is the reason why both TV stations and K-pop agencies continue to compete in audition programs, regardless of the actual audience rating. The “Kingdom” has an audience rating of less than 1%.
The so-called intergenerational acts that have not seen much success due to the quality of the acts that came before them, as well as the continued debut of new bands, are now being re-evaluated on their potential.
âWhen a group booked more concerts in overseas countries, they tended to be less well-known to the general public in Korea,â said one of the managers affiliated with an entertainment agency. “But with votes for groups [on some programs] Coming from all over the world, many seem surprised when they learn how big the fan base is around the world. ”
âWhen you look at how many Korean responses are posted on certain articles online, you can see that the number of such comments has increased dramatically,â said another official from another agency. “You can really feel how much the fan base has grown not only from what goes viral on social media, but also from the mention of any community the group is affiliated with.”
BY MIN KYUNG-WON [[email protected]]