You might be hard pressed to find a more contentious non-political battle than the fight between K-pop fandoms. Since the dawn of the American K-pop obsession, BTS has dominated the charts and the airwaves. However, a recent study released by the South Korean government has given us some insight into the popularity of the genre.
K-pop groups have taken America by storm
Despite BTS’ great American success, it’s hard to forget Korean pop sensation Psy’s stranglehold with their 2012 hit “Gangnam Style.” Since then, music from around the world has become more accessible through TikTok, YouTube, and other streaming services. While international musical artists are nothing new, Korean music is more important than ever in America.
BLACKPINK, BoA, SHINee, BIGBANG, Girls’ Generation, and more, K-pop is a unique blend of American music that made its way overseas and came back through a Korean filter. Overall, pop groups like these haven’t performed well since the new millennium. Now it’s a cultural juggernaut with a strong and loyal following.
The South Korean study, as published by KPopMap, indicates that BTS still reigns supreme. However, other bands like Monsta X are also making waves.
BTS is way more popular in America than Monsta X
It’s no surprise that BTS dominates the American K-pop scene. Yes, the six-man group has received many accolades in Korea. But their American success story is not only due to record sales and passionate fans.
Several major US award shows have solidified the group as one of the most celebrated bands since One Direction burst onto the scene. From the American Music Awards to fan-focused shows like the People’s Choice Awards, BTS resonates with fans and critics alike.
Despite all of the group’s accolades around the world, none carry the weight of their Grammy nominations over the past two years. The group made history in 2021 with their Best Pop Duo nomination for the hit track “Dynamite,” which they also performed on the show. Although they didn’t win last year, they will have another chance. “Butter” also received a nomination at this year’s ceremony.
Many K-pop groups have sold out American stadiums and concert halls. None have the clout that BTS has with American audiences. If contemporaries like Monsta X are successful, perhaps a new generation of talent will strengthen K-pop’s hold on the music world.
Monsta X is coming to America
Casual American audiences may not know Monsta X as well as BTS, but they are already making waves with young American audiences. According to Fandom, the new K-pop group was formed in conjunction with the survival music series No Mercy in 2015. Like BTS, the group has six members representing different pop-inspired personalities.
The group received an MTV VMA nomination alongside BTS in 2020 for their video “Someone’s Someone”. As Billboard reports, they performed “Who Do U Love” at the 2019 Teen Choice Awards. The group’s harmonies combined with catchy hooks and meticulous choreography made it a sold-out act across America.
It’s hard to top pioneers like BTS, but bands like Monsta X show it’s not a one-time hit genre. Psy may have come and gone in 2012, but BTS has brought dozens of bands like them to American audiences. Now they have the genre category at awards shows and millions of fans are selling out venues.
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