From BTS’ “Butter” to BLACKPINK’s “How You Like That,” K-pop music is topping the charts in the United States.
While these catchy songs can be found on playlists of all sorts, the world of K-pop entails so much more than just the songs themselves. What is a K-pop idol? How did K-pop become so popular? And, why do K-pop groups have fandoms?
Read on to learn more about today’s hottest K-pop groups, their devout fan bases and which ones have a release (or tour) on deck.
What is K-Pop?
K-pop is short for Korean pop music. The term was coined in the late 1990s as the Korean music industry started to introduce Korean pop culture globally. K-pop has become a phenomenon unlike any other thanks to its distinctive blend of catchy melodies, polished choreography and elaborate music videos.
What is a K-Pop Idol?
BTS, BLACKPINK and hundreds of other acts are known as “idols” in the industry. Idol groups are built by Korean music studios and consist of girl groups and boy groups who train extensively with their respective studio. K-pop artists who are not affiliated with an idol group create, perform and release music either independently or through a record label. Idol music is varied in sound, but generally is catchy and inspired by different genres such as hip-hop, rock and techno.
Who are the First Generation K-Pop Groups?
The first generation of K-pop groups started in the early 1990s and was pioneered by Seo Jaiji and Boys and their hip-hop number “I Know.” The single topped the Korean music charts for 17 weeks and paved the way for K-pop into Western culture. Other well-known first generation K-pop groups are H.O.T., S.E.S. and Sechs Kies.
Is BTS Second or Third Generation?
BTS is considered a third generation K-pop group. Some other third generation K-pop groups include BLACKPINK, TWICE and GOT7. TxT, Stray Kids, Itzy, ENYPEN and ATEEZ have emerged as the fourth generation of K-pop groups. Many of these 3rd and 4th generation K-pop groups are experiencing massive success, and even have upcoming tours around the world.
How to Learn K-Pop Fan Chants
Attending a K-pop concert is an experience like no other and fan chants play a big part in creating the fun-filled atmosphere at these shows. What is a fan chant exactly? A fan chant is a dedicated chant that K-pop fans can do together during specific songs. These fan chants are unique to each group and aim to show support for the group during performances. Fan chants are easy to learn thanks to tutorials on YouTube that teach fans what to say and when. Below is a compilation of some of the most popular K-pop fan chants:
K-Pop Fandom Names, Labels and Group Members
Label: KQ Entertainment
Fandom Name: ATINY
Group Members: Wooyoung, San, Park Seong, Kim Hong Joong, Choi Jong-ho, Song Min-gi, Jeong Yun-ho, Kang Yeo-sang
From playing in 800-person capacity venues to sold-out arenas, ATEEZ is the latest K-pop group to make it big thanks to their label KQ Entertainment. While venues have yet to be announced, ATEEZ will be venturing out on a 2022 tour. The group is known for their incredible performances, and we can’t wait to see what their 2022 tour entails.
Label: YG Entertainment
Fandom Name: BLINK
Group Members: Jennie, Lisa, Jisoo, Rosé
BLACKPINK is one of the most popular groups to ever come out South Korea. From filling arenas to collaborating with stars like Lady Gaga and Cardi B, the K-pop quartet has already experienced massive success. Their last LP, The Album, sold around 1.2 million copies in less than a month after its 2020 release, making BLACKPINK the first million-selling K-pop girl group. Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rose are set to release a new album in 2022, with a 2023 tour likely to follow.
Label: BigHit Entertainment
Fandom Name: ARMY
Group Members: Jung Kook, V, Jimin, SUGA, Jin, j-hope, RM
While BLACKPINK is the biggest girl group on the planet, BTS is considered the world’s most popular K-pop group. Between No. 1 albums, residency-like performances in the United States and highly sought-after merchandise, BTS’ reach has no bounds. Unfortunately, BTS announced that they will be taking a break to explore solo work for an indefinite period.
Label: BELIFT Lab
Fandom Name: ENGENE
Group Members: Ni-ki, Sunghoon, Jungwon, Sunoo, Jay, Heeseung, Jake
ENHYPEN is one of the most exciting groups to enter the K-pop scene. The boy band was formed under BELIFT LAB, a joint venture between HYBE and CJ ENM. After releasing their latest album, BORDER: CARNIVAL, the seven-member boy band announced their first-ever world tour, which will include shows in the United States. The septet has been dominating album sales and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Label: JYP Entertainment
Fandom Name: MIDZY
Group Members: Ryujin, Yuna, Yeji, Lia, Chaeryeong
Since debuting in 2019 with their award-winning single “Dalla Dalla,” ITZY has become a K-pop powerhouse. Just a year after their debut, ITZY earned two nominations at the 2020 Korean Music Awards for Best Pop Song and Rookie Of The Year. Now, the girls of Itzy—Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong and Yuna—are ready to hit the road for a 10-show tour this fall to celebrate the release of their new album Checkmate.
Label: Starship Entertainment
Fandom Name: Monbebe
Group Members: Wonho, I.M., Hyungwon, Shownu, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Joohoney
Since Monsta X was formed over six years ago, the group has appeared on a number of Billboard’s various albums charts in America. From releasing their all-English album The Dreaming to recording their documentary film, the renowned K-pop group has stayed busy over the past few years. Monsta X last appeared in the U.S. with appearances at iHeartRadio’s annual Jingle Ball, but Monbebes hope they’ll make their way stateside soon for a 2023 tour.
Label: Pledis Entertainment
Fandom Name: CARAT
Group Members: Kim Mingyu, Yoon Jeonghan, Wonwoo, Hoshi, DK, Xu Minghao, Joshua Hong, Wen Junhui, Woozi, S.Coups, Vernon, Seungkwan
Seventeen has promoted itself as a self-producing group since its debut in 2015, making them different from other K-pop acts. The group has experienced quite a bit of success. Most notably, its album Heng:garae sold more than 1 million physical copies in its first week. BTS is the only other Korean act to have surpassed this number with its first-week sales. Seventeen has four studio albums under its belt, and Carats can’t wait for another one.
Label: JYP Entertainment
Fandom Name: Stay
Group Members: Hyunjin, Felix, Bang Chan, Lee Know, Han, I.N., Changbin, Seungmin, Kim Woojin
Stray Kids was formed by one of the Top 3 biggest music labels in South Korea, JYP Entertainment. The K-pop group’s first EP, ODDINARY, sold more than 1.6 million copies and debuted at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200. Stray Kids made their way stateside in 2022 for their third tour, which was a massive success. Felix, Hyunjin, Chan and the rest of the group have set themselves up as K-pop’s next true greats.
Label: JYP Entertainment
Fandom Name: ONCE
Group Members: Nayeon, Momo, Sana, Jeongyeon, Tzuyu, Mina, Jihyo, Chaeyoung, Dahyun
Formed in 2015 by JYP Entertainment, nine-member girl group TWICE has been on the rise ever since with hit after hit. They’ve amassed more than 10 million cumulative album sales, four billion streams on Spotify and three Top 10 albums on the Billboard 200. TWICE also became the first K-pop girl group to hold a stadium concert in the United States when they toured in 2022. While their 4th World Tour is over, the anticipation for their next one is running high.
Label: BigHit Entertainment
Fandom Name: MOA
Group Members: Yeonjun, Soobin, Beomgyu, Huening Kai, Taehyun
TxT is often referred to as the leaders of the fourth generation of K-pop. The 5-member boy group, which consists of Yeonjun, Soobin, Beomgyn, Taehyun and Huening Kai, debuted in 2019 with their EP The Dream Chapter: STAR. The BTS labelmates have performed two small U.S. tours in the past three years, but MOAs believe this could be the first step towards a larger tour in 2023. The sky’s the limit for these rising stars.
Label: Jellyfish Entertainment
Fandom Name: VERRER
Group Members: Kangmin, Minchan, Dongheon, Yongseung, Gyehyeon, Yeonho, Hoyoung
Verivery has been on the rise ever since their debut in 2019. Verivery toured in 2021, and the boy band is hitting the road on another tour just nine months later. The seven-member group hopes this tour becomes a stepping stone to larger ones in the future.
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