Looking for the best K-Pop groups of all time? Here’s the top 10 list of bands that have taken the world by storm! They are the most popular and successful in Korea and abroad. K-pop girl groups and boy bands are mixed in this list.
Top 10 Best K-Pop Groups:
- Oh My Girl
- Red Velvet
Here’s one of the best K-Pop groups of all time! Composed of seven members (who are also co-writers and co-producers in their band), BTS is known all around the world. They began their formation as a group in far 2010 and debuted in 2013. By 2017, the band broke many sales records and even led the Korean Wave into the US. In 2018, BTS became the first Korean act ever to top the Billboard 200 chart in America. In 2020, they reached first place on the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Hot 100 in the US. Also, they are the first to receive a certification from the Recording Industry Association in the USA.
They are called the best-selling artists in Korean history. The band even received the Order of Cultural Merit from the President of South Korea thanks to their contribution in spreading and popularizing Korean culture and language. It’s said that they attract one in every 13 tourists who visit South Korea and help to boost global music sales. Dubbed as “Princes of Pop”, BTS were featured on Time’s top 25 and top 100 lists of most influential people on the Internet and in the world.
As for the musical style of the band, they developed “fusion music”. However, they still emphasize hip hop as their original style. Rather than stick to a specific genre, they introduce new elements into their musical repertoire and sound. In their works, they often make literature references. Also, lyrics primarily focuses on social and personal themes of mental health, loss, individualism, troubles of youth, and many others.
You might want to learn more about this band in the related post BTS | K-Pop Idol Group Profile, Members, Songs.
- Members: J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook
- Years Active: 2013 – present
- Labels: Big Hit Entertainment, Pony Canyon, Def Jam Japan, Columbia
- Production Company: Big Hit Entertainment
- Associated Acts: none
- Studio albums: Dark & Wild, Wings, Love Yourself: Tear, Map of The Soul: 7, Be; Japanese: Wake Up, Youth, Face Yourself, Map of The Soul: 7 The Journey
Here’s one of the most popular K-pop girl groups. Blackpink debuted in 2016 with singles “Whistle” and “Boombayah” that received first numbers on numerous charts. It hasn’t taken them a long time to become one of the biggest girl groups in the world! Here’s a little bit of statistics. They became the first K-pop girl group to appear on the top of such charts as Billboard World Digital Song Sales and Gaon Digital several times. They are also the first among female Korean acts to get a certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. Also, they are the first Korean band to receive a certification from the British Phonographic Industry and become certified platinum by the Australian Recording Association.
We can talk for a very long time about their achievements and the records they’ve broken! But let’s mention some more. Do you know that their music videos of “How You Like That” and “Kill This Love” (which we are sure you’ve heard about even if you are not crazy about K-pop) has broken all records and became the most viewed music videos within the first day of release? Blackpink is setting new Guinness World Records! They are definitely one of the best K-Pop groups of all time!
In continuation of their achievement list, we can say they are recognized as the most powerful South Korean celebrities by Forbes Korea and the first K-pop girl band to win the MTV Music Video Award. Blackpink became the first K-pop girl group to play at Coachella and to get one billion views on Youtube. They are the most followed girl group not only on Youtube but also on Spotify. Gosh, are they the first in everything in this world? (hahaha, this list is enough for this article))).
- Members: Jennie, Rosé, Jisoo, Lisa
- Years Active: 2016–present
- Labels: YG Entertainment, Interscope Records
- Production Company: YG Entertainment, Avex
- Associated Acts: YG Family
- Studio albums: Blackpink In Your Area, The Album
The K-pop boy group debuted with twelve members in far 2012. Right from the start, they were divided into EXO-M and EXO-K, two subgroups performing in different languages (EXO-M in Mandarin and EXO-K in Korean). This continued until the release of EP Overdose in 2014. Since then, they have performed as one group. However, they haven’t stopped performing music in Mandarin. The band consistently releases music in the Chinese and Korean markets while continuing to top the charts in the US. Considered a notable force in the Hallyu Wave (the spread of K-Pop culture all around the world), they are truly an unstoppable global force.
In 2018, Forbes even stated that EXO overperforms on social media worldwide (alongside BTS)! That means they are even more popular on the Internet than such well-known American stars as Justin Bieber, Beyonce, or Taylor Swift. International outlets like Vogue, PageOne, Metro, and many South Korean outlets like OBS called them “Kings of K-Pop”. In 2015 and 2016, Forbes stated them to be the most powerful celebrities in Korea. EXO is one of the most successful, best K-Pop groups of all time.
- Members: Xiumin, Suho, Lay, Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai, Sehun
- Years Active: 2012 – present
- Labels: SM Entertaiment, Avex
- Associated Acts: SM Town, Exo-CBX, Exo-SC, SuperM
- Studio albums: Xoxo, Exodus, Ex’Act, The War, Don’t Mess Up My Tempo, Obsession, Countdown
The K-Pop girl group debuted in 2011 with ep. Seven Springs of Apink. Since then, they have won numerous awards at various shows (the Seoul Music Awards, the Golden Disc Awards, and the Mnet Asian Music Awards). Apink stands out among other girl groups in Korea. Unlike many other bands that impress viewers by their sexy looks and dancing skills, they have a girlish, innocent image.
As for Apink’s music, its style can be categorized as a bubblegum pop genre with cheery lyrics. Their songs released in 2015 reminded of bubblegum pop in the early 2000s, synth-pop in the 1980s, or 1990s hip-hop adding some melancholy theme to it. In 2016, their tracks could be described as mature, mid-tempo dance-pop and R&B with hip hop beat, even urban pop with energetic vibes. In 2018, Apink moved towards even more sophisticated and mature sound, using house beats, autotune, synth with less melancholy in lyrics.
- Members: Park Cho-rong, Yoon Bo-mi, Jung Eun-ji, Son Na-eun, Kim Nam-joo, Oh Ha-young
- Years Active: 2011–present
- Labels: UMG (EMI), Cube, Play M
- Production Company: Play M Entertainment (formerly A Cube Entertainment)
- Studio albums: Une Annee, Pink Memory, Pink Season, Pink Revolution, Pink Doll, Pink Stories
5. Oh My Girl
In 2015, Oh My Girl made their debut as the new sister group of B1A4 from the same label. In 2016, they held their first solo concert. The tickets sold out within three minutes making it the fastest among all rookie girl groups to do so. In 2018, they won their first music show (on The Show and then on the Show Champion).
- Members: Hyojung, Mimi, YooA, Seunghee, Jiho, Binnie, Arin
- Years Active: 2015–present
- Labels: WM Entertainment
- Studio albums: Oh My Girl Japan Debut Album, The Fifth Season, Oh My Girl Japan 2nd Album, Eternally
6. Red Velvet
This girl band is well known for their unique concept described by two completely different images. Their ”red” side reflects their intense, vivid half, while ”velvet” showcases more elegant and feminine half. While their ”red” musical side is primarily of pop genre, the ”velvet” one is predominantly R&B and ballads. However, Red Velvet have recently started to mix their two sides. Moreover, they stand out among other girl groups in South Korea because they don’t fall under either ”pure and cute” or ”sexy” type of groups (unlike other bands). They are breaking the stereotypes. IZE Magazine even called Red Velvet one of those female figures who helped transform the passive image of women in South Korea.
They are the seventh K-Poo group to perform in North Korea (and the first one to do so since 2003). The group is one of those few super talented ones who have largely promoted K-pop culture around the world. Time magazine recognized the girl group as one of the best K-pop groups in the world. Moreover, Billboard named them ”the best idol group alive”.
- Members: Seulgi, Wendy, Irene, Joy, Yeri
- Years Active: 2014–present
- Labels: SM, Avex Trax
- Associated Acts: SMTOWN, SM Rookies, Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi
- Studio albums: The Red, Perfect Velvet
The girl band was formed through the competition show Sixteen and debuted in 2015. With their rising popularity and recognition, they have gained the name of ”Nation’s Girl Group”. Their songs even were used as campaign jingles during the 2017 South Korean presidential election! A candidate from the Democratic and the Bareun parties both used the song ”Cheer Up”. That same year, Forbes Korea Power Celebrity placed Twice third among all and first among recording artists.Twice even have been praised for their help in mending relations between South Korea and Japan (Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun).
- Members: Nayeon, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, Tzuyu, Momo, Jeongyeon
- Years Active: 2015–present
- Labels: Warner Japan, JYP, Republic
- Associated Acts: JYP Nation
- Studio albums: Twicetagram, BDZ, &Twice, Eyes Wide Open
This multinational K-pop girl group debuted in 2018 and is one of the most successful girl groups in Korea to not come from the “big three” record labels. In 2019, (G)I-DLE also debuted in Japan. In 2020, they signed with Republic Records, the American Record label. Thus, they started to expand into the American marketplace. They are often described as different individuals that complement each other, bold and sensual artists who are brave enough to try different music styles. Their music covers a variety of genres like moombahton trap, moombahton, Latin pop, boom bap, urban hip hop, tropical moombahton, and even covers such topics as self-trust and self-love.
Many members of the (G)I-DLE directly get involved in their music, producing and writing it. Moreover, they have a huge female fanbase, which is not typical for K-pop girl bands. As for the records, the band set the highest one for a South Korean girl group topping the iTunes Top Albums chart. Their single album released in 2020 broke another record – it became the second best selling girls group single album of all time!
What their name stands for? The ”I” stands for individuality and ”Dle” is the plural form of ”I” in Korean which means their group consists of six different personalities.
- Members: Minnie, Soojin, Yuqi, Shuhua, Soyeon, Miyeon
- Years Active: 2018–present
- Labels: Cube, Universal Japan, Republic
- Associated Acts: United Cube, K/DA
- Studio albums: Dumbi Dumbi
Most of NCT members were under SM entertainment pre-debut team SR14B 2014). However, in 2016, the company introduced a new ambitious, and somewhat confusing concept no one has heard of before. According to it, SR14B transforms into NCT ( ”Neo Culture Technology”), a new K-pop boy group with an unlimited number of members originating from different countries. Moreover, it was stated that the new supergroup would be divided into numerous sub-units singing in different languages, targeting different countries, cultures, and age groups (quite mind-blowing, yeah?). So, is NCT a group or a brand? With such a concept, the future of K-pop will definitely expand far beyond Korea. Moreover, this group is going to take charge of the inevitable evolution, even change of K-pop nature.
NCT U was the first among all NCT groups to debut (2016). It’s considered to be the main group in NCT. Originally, there were only two members, but seven more members joined later.
NCT 127 was the first sub-unit of the team, composed of ten members from five countries. ”127” refers to the longitudinal coordinate of Seoul which shows their domestic focus. However, the sub-unit has gained popularity not only in Korea but also across the globe.
NCT Dream appeared sometime later. This sub-unit is also Korean but focuses on a very young audience. Thus, it has an age limit – members leave the unit once they turn 20.
WayV (WeiShenV) is the first NCT’s sub-unit focused not solely on the Korean market. This group is based in China and C-pop market is what it focuses on.
- Members: NCT U (23 members): Taeli, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Taeyong, Ten, Mark, Yuta, Winwin, Haechan, Renjun, Jeno, Jaemin, Chenle, Jisung, Johnny, Jungwoo, Lucas, Kun, Xiaojun, Hendery, Yangyang, Shotaro, Sungchan
- Years Active: 2016–present
- Labels: SM, Avex Trax
- Associated Acts: SM Town, SM Rookies, NCT U, NCT 127, NCT Dream, WayV, SuperM
- Studio albums: NCT 2018 Empathy, NCT 2020 Resonance Pt. 1; NCT 127: Regular-Irregular, Awaken, Neo Zone, Awaken the World
Check out NCT Profile, History & Facts to find more information about the group.
This K-pop boy band is composed of only thirteen members (even though its name is ”seventeen”). Actually, the name of the group signifies the average age of the members at the time when the group was formed (2015). Still, thirteen is quite a big number for a band. That’s why it’s divided into three trams, each specialized in a specific area: hip-hip, performance, and vocal. Each subunit has a leader. There’s even the ”Leaders” unit consisting of the leaders from the three subgroups. Because of the size, they were divided into sections, but the size is also their plus. It creates many opportunities for visual storytelling.
Seventeen have gained the name of a ”self-producing” idol group. They don’t create all the materials on their own of course (they often give credits to producers and choreographers). Yet, they have been heavily involved in the composition and production of every performance and album from the very debut. It’s rare to see in the K-pop world, and it sets them apart.
- Members: S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, DK, Mingyu, The8, Seungkwan, Vernon, Dino
- Years Active: 2015–present
- Labels: Pledis
- Associated Acts: Bumzu, BooSeokSoon
- Studio albums: Love & Letter, Teen, Age, An Ode
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