Whether it’s Kdramas or Kpop, South Korean artists have managed to capture our hearts. Not only do we like their music and films, but we also love their culture. And we believe it’s because of the influential power the artists have upon us. Their life might look easy, but it’s definitely not, especially for kpop artists and groups. They work day and night preparing music. Moreover, they work on their dance moves to make it a hell of a performance.
Kpop groups are definitely different than of western artists. Many Kpop bands and groups started years ago and are still ruling the music industry. Their journey to fame is hard, but they have managed to earn a name globally. And we would like to see them continue making music in the future too.
So, let’s have a look at some of the biggest Kpop groups we have jammed to and will love too, in the future. Scroll down to check out the list of Top 15 Kpop groups- Then & Now.
1. BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan)
On #1, we have BTS. Was there even a doubt? The boyband that made its debut in 2013 is now the world’s biggest boyband. BTS has taken the world by storms. With more than 40 million fans (Armys), BTS has dominated the music industry (including the west). When BTS debuted, they faced many allegations and hurdles, belonging from not a Top 4 company, they were criticized and looked down upon. BTS consists of seven members – RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, Jungkook.
However, as time passed, the seven members turn themselves into Legends. BTS has outsold stadiums in the UK and USA within 2 minutes and was the best-selling artist of 2018 (behind Drake). Their album “Map of The Soul is the best-selling album in South Korea. With multiple awards, including more than 40 Daesangs (grand prize). They were nominated for a Grammy this year for thier hit single “Dynamite.” BTS is the only artist after The Beatles to have three no. 1 albums released in a single year. Undoubtedly, they are the biggest artists with an estimated net worth of $100 million.
Even though the group debuted not long ago, they have managed to earn fame and love from millions of thier fans. SuperM debuted in 2019 and consists of different artists from SM Entertainment. Taemin from Shinee, Baekhyun and Kai from EXO, Taeyong, and Mark from NCT 127, and Lucas and Ten from WayV. Due to the popularity of these members individually, the group was immediately liked the Kpop enthusiasts.
Their debut album was released in October 2019. Its lead single, “Jopping,” was released on the same day as its music video. It is said that the video was shot in Dubai. The EP stood at number 1 on the Billboard 200 album charts, with 168,000 equivalent album units sold in a week. The boys made their television debut at the Ellen Degeneres Show and have appeared on many interviews and talk shows. While being active members of their original group, SuperM is going to be huge in the coming years.
Big Bang made their debut in 2006, it is okay to say that they have been living the Kpop life for 15 years now. And they are still strong in the game. Formed under YG Entertainment, Big bang has four members – GDragon, TOP, Taeyang, and Daesung. Seungri is a former member of the group, he retired from the entertainment industry in 2019. Big Bang has helped in spreading the Hallyu (Korean) wave internationally and is considered as one of the most successful acts in Kpop. Although their debut album, Bigbang Vol1, was not a massive hit, their success followed with singles like “Lies.” Lies won the song of the year in 2007, other hits include “Haru Haru” and “Last Farewell.”
The band has released successful albums in South Korea as well as in Japan. 4 of their Japanese albums are Gold certified by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). After 2 years of hiatus, the members made a comeback in 2011 with the album, Tonight.
By now, the band has sold over 150 million records all over the globe. In terms of “Bestselling boyband,” Big Bang holds the 1st spot. Moreover, Forbes Korea has ranked them as the most influential celebrities in South Korea in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016. The members have renewed their contract with YG and are currently preparing for a comeback.
4. Girl’s Generation
Known as the “Nation’s Girl Group,” Girls Generation is definitely the biggest Kpop Girl Group at present. Also known as SNSD, GG consists of eight members – Taeyeon, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona, and Seohyun. Jessica Jung was also a member, but she left to pursue a career as a soloist. Formed by SM Entertainment, GG debuted in 2007 with a single, “Into the New World.” However, the group was acknowledged after the release of their song “Gee.” The girls have given multiple no.1 Korean albums. They have also recorded albums in the Japanese language, and one of their albums was certified million by RIAJ.
In 2017, GG released their ninth studio album, “Holiday Night,” which has a massive success selling 167,000 copies by the end of 2017. Since then, the members are working in the company, and some have chosen different paths. Members Tiffany, Sooyoung, and Seohyun decided not to renew their contracts. However, Taeyeon, Sunny, Hyoyeon, Yuri, and Yoona renewed their contracts in September 2020.
Blackpink knows what people today like and loves to listen. The girls (Jennie, Lisa, Jisoo, Rose) debuted in 2016 with their single album, “Square One.” It consisted of hit singles like “Whistle” and “Boombayah.” Both the songs got the girls their first #1 position on Gaon Digital Chart and the Billboard World Digital Song Sales chart, respectively. Formed by YG Entertainment, Blackpink has released several hits since their release. It includes “Stay,” “Kill This Love,” “DDU-DU DDU-DU,” “How You Like That,” and many more.
Blackpink has also collaborated with western artists such as Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, and Dua Lipa. The Quartet has received accolades in their nation as well as internationally, including awards from Seoul Music Awards, the Mnet Asian Music Award for Best Female Group in 2020, an MTV Music Video Award. Recently, Blackpink released its first Korean studio album, “The Album.” It sold 1.2 million copies in a month and also peaked at #2 at the Billboard 200 and the UK Album Chart.
EXO is is a South Korean-Chinese boy band formed by SM Entertainment. It consists of nine members- Xiumin, Suho, Lay, Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai, and Sehun. Exo made its debut in 2012. The band is considered “Kings of K-pop” and the “Biggest boyband in the world” by various media sectors. Later, the band was distributed into two groups- Exo-K and Exo-M. The members of the group further formed 2 more subunits, named, Exo-CBS and Exo- SC. Exo’s first album, XOXO, came out in 2013 and was a massive hit in the country.
By 2020, all the members have decided to focus on their solo careers while staying in the group. Also, the schedule is a little disturbed because the member enlists in the army. While a couple has been discharged recently, some will join soon. Expect smashing hits from Exo and its members in the future.
Twice is a South Korean girl group consisting of nine members -Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu. The group is formed by JYP Entertainment under the television program, Sixteen. The girl group debuted in 2015 with an Extended play, The Story Begins. Twice rose to fame with their song, “Cheer Up,” it topped the Gaon Digital Chart and became the best performing single of the year. Thier next single, “TT,” was released in 2016, becoming the highest-selling song of the year. Also, it topped the Gaon Charts for 4 consecutive weeks.
By December 2020, Twice has sold over 10 million copies in South Korea and Japan. At present, Twice is all ready to release their new song, “Kura Kura,” on 12 May. The music video for their new Japanese song will also release on the same day. Recently, the group appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show to perform their single, Cry For Me.
Formed by JYP Entertainment, GOT7 made its debut in January 2014. It consists of seven members- Jay B, Mark, Jackson, Jinyoung, Youngjae, BamBam, and Yugyeom. Thier debut EP, Got It peaked at #2 on the Gaon Album Chart and #1 on Billboard World Album Chart. The group is also known for their performances while on stage as they often practice street dancing and Martial arts while performing.
In the same year, they debuted in the Japanese market to release their Japanese album, “Around the World.” Their first Korean full-length album, “Identify,” topped all the music charts in South Korea. Moreover, in 2015 their EPs, Just Right and Mad, were released. They were a massive hit and also made the boys a global star. In 2020, the group released EP Dye. By now, it has sold more than 450,000 copies, becoming their best personal album.
In January 2021, JYP announced that GOT has decided not to continue its contract with the agency as a group. Next month, they released “Encore” for the fans.
9. Red Velvet
Formed and managed by SM Entertainment, Red Velvet is a South Korean girl group that made its debut in 2014. Initially, there were four members- Joy, Irene, Seulgi, and Wendy. The four released their first digital single, “Happiness.” However, the fifth member, Yeri, joined in 2015, and that’s when they released thier debut EP, Ice Cream Cake. Red Velvet has the apt name for the genres they perform and sing. Red stands for electronic and funk, while Velvet describes ballad and Jazz.
Their work includes two studio albums, one reissue album, one compilation, and nine extended plays. Out of these, eleven have topped the Gaon Album charts. Several of the group’s singles are always placed in the top five of Gaon Digital Charts. Red Velvet is widely famous outside the borders too. The girl group was named one of the most popular K-pop groups by Time and Billboard in 2020.
The group was on a hiatus for a year due to Wendy’s injury. But, SM announced in 2021 that they are ready to be back. Expect more music from the group soon.
Before debuting in 2014, Mamamoo had already begun their career by collaborating with other artists. The quartet is formed by RBW (Previously, WA Entertainment). Mamamoo debuted with their single, “Mr. Ambiguos,” and it is considered as one of the best Kpop debuts by the critics. Besides releasing music as a group, Mamamoo members are also known for producing music for Kdramas.
In 2014, Mamamoo released their first EP, Hello. Following year, they released thier second EP, Piano Man, which consisted of a song of the same name. It was situated at #41 gaon’s Digital Chart. By 2015, Mamamoo was ranked tenth highest among idol girl groups for digital sales, 19th in album sales, and 11th in overall sales. In 2016, Mamamoo released its first full-length album, which debuted at #3 on the Gaon Albums Chart. “You are the best” from the song also gave them their first no #1 single.
It’s clear that Mamamoo has earned success through thier heavy vocals and R& B concepts. Usually, thier music is different from girl groups, which makes them stand out. In 2021, RBW announced that Moonbyul, Hwasa, and Solar had renewed thier contacts, while Wheein is still considering the decision.
NCT, which stands for Neo Culture Technology, is a South Korean Kpop Boyband that made its debut in 2016. Originally, it has 23 members as of 2021- Haechan, Mark, Kun, Winwin, Lucas, Jeno, Jisung, Yuta, Jungwoo, Johnny, Doyoung, Ten, Jaehyun, Taeyong, Jaemin, Renjun, Chenle, and Taeil. The group is further divided into four subunits- NCT U, NCT 127, NCT Dream, and WayV. Also, a fifth unit will make its debut in 2021.
NCT U took the first step into the market and opened with the singles “The 7th Sense” on April 9 and “Without You.” The two were released in two versions, Koreana and Chinese. Later, In July 2016 NCT 127, made its debut on the program M Countdown with singles, “Fire Truck” and “Once Again.” They released thier debut EP NCT #127 in July. SM announced the third unit, NCT Dream, in August. NCT debuted with “Chewing Gum.”
In December 2018, the fourth subunit, WayV, was announced. The unit is primarily based in China. It is managed in collaboration with Chinese label, Label V. All the four subunits have been working ever since their debuts and have produced some of the best songs. NCT 127’s “Cherry Bomb” is considered one of the best K-pop songs in South Korea.
Consisting of 13 members, Seventeen is a South Korean group under Pledis Entertainment. The group consists of – S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, DK, Mingyu, The8, Seungkwan, Vernon, and Dino. The boys made thier debut in 2015. Seventeen is one of the “self-producing” idol groups as the members actively produce, write, and compose thier songs. Thier first EP, 17 Carat, came out in 2015 with a boom. It was the longest-charting K-pop album of the year in the US. Also, it was the only rookie album on Billboard’s “10 Best K-Pop Albums of 2015” chart.
Their first full-length album, Love & Letter, debuted in 2016. It was a huge success in South Korea as well as in Japan. The boys haven’t stopped since then. They have been on an Asia Tour, have released albums and singles in Koreana and Japanese. SEVENTEEN is also big internationally. On April 21, 2021, they released thier third Japanese single, “Not Alone.”
2NE1 was a South Korean girl group that made its debut in 2009. Consisting of four members- Bom, CL, Dara, and Minzy, the girls rose to fame after appearing in Big Bang’s promotional single, “Lolipop.” The girls released 2NE1 (2009) and 2NE1 (2011) and studio albums, To Anyone (2010) and Crush (2014) in the following years. All of these were a massive hit in the nation as they peaked on the first two positions of Gaon Music charts. Groups single from their debut album, “Fire” and “I Don’t Care”, were enough to make the girls popular all over Asia.
2NE1 also had a successful career in Japan. They are considered as one of the most successful girl groups of all time, considering that 2NE1 has reportedly sold 66.5 million copies during the span of thier careers. Billboard has mentioned the group on the list of best K-pop girl groups of the past decade. After years of ruling the charts, things went downhill as Bom got into a drug scandal, and the group went on hiatus or to embark on a solo career. In 2017, YG Entertainment announced that the group has disbanded.
14. Monsta X
Monsta X is a South Korean boy band formed through a show, No Mercy by Starship Entertainment. The band consists of six members- Shownu, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Joohoney, and I.M. Initially, there were seven members, but, Wonho left the group in 2019. The group made its debut in 2015 with thier EP Trespass. In 2017, they released their first studio album and final part, The Clan Pt. 2.5: The Final Chapter. In 2020, Monsta X’s first English album, All About Luv, was ranked #5 on the Billboard 200 in the US.
In 2021, Monsta X became the global ambassador of the cosmetic brand Urban Decay. “Wish on the Same Sky” and “Play it Cool” are some of their best hits. And the boys have recently released thier third Japanese album, “Flavors of Love,” in March 2021.
SHINee is one of the biggest Kpop groups of all time. Formed by SM Entertainment in 2008, the group currently consists of four members- Minho, Onew, Taemin, and Key. Originally the group had five members with Jonghyun, who died in 2017. SHINee also holds the title of “Princes of K-pop.” The group debuted in May 2008 with their first EP, Replay. Not only thier music, but thier fashion style was becoming famous too, fans begin calling it “Shinee Trend.” The group released thier first album, The Shinee World, which won Newcomer Album of the Year at the Golden Disc Awards. Songs like “Ring Ding Dong” and “Lucifer” and “Replay” are some of thier biggest hits following thier debut.
SHINee launched multiple albums by 2016. But, 2017 was a sorrowful year for the South Korean nation as Jonghyun committed suicide in December. The groups postponed thier activities. And in 20121, after a hiatus of two and a half years, SHINee made thier comeback. The band will release a new album in July 2021.