K-pop, or Korean popular music, has swept the globe. Since its emergence in the mid-1990s, this music genre has produced many successful acts on its way to pop-culture supremacy. You've probably heard of some of the most well-known K-pop groups, such as BTS, Blackpink, and SEVENTEEN.
Groups like the ones mentioned above and on the list below have provided some of the catchiest, most successful bops of the last two decades, infusing traditional Korean sounds while celebrating Western musical influences like hip-hop, electronic dance, and R&B.
With their inspiring and uplifting tunes, these K-pop acts have captured audiences and created large fan bases. Idols, or band members, labor relentlessly and go through intense vocal, media, and dance training before taking the stage for the first time, in groups ranging from four to 21 performers.
While the bands are busy releasing songs as a group or celebrating solo ventures every few months — K-pop stars frequently branch out into acting, fashion, and other creative fields — their work and talent are recognized worldwide.
If you want to get into K-pop music but aren't sure where to start, here's a list of the 10 top K-pop groups. We're confident that you'll be adding these albums to your playlists in no time.
Tomorrow X Together (TXT) released their debut EP, The Dream Chapter: Star, in 2019. After “Crown” gained 14.5 views in one day, the music video for the EP's lead track became the most viewed K-pop debut music video within 24 hours for a boy group.
They debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Emerging Artists chart and were nominated for their first MTV Video Music Award for Best K-pop. The Dream Chapter: Magic, their follow-up, landed at No. 3 on Billboard's World Album chart. TXT's success continued when they were named Men of the Year Pop Icon by GQ Japan.
9. Red Velvet
In 2014, the four-member K-pop girl group released their first single, “Happiness.” Red Velvet's Ice Cream Cake became the best-selling album on South Korea's Hanteo chart when a new member was introduced to the group in 2015.
Their third chart-topping album, The Red Flavor, arrived at No. 1 on the Billboard World Albums chart in 2017. They were the first K-pop girl group to debut three No. 1 albums on the World Albums Chart.
Members of the group are proud of Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo Global, and Tod's ambassadors. They have also received endorsements from Converse Korea.
8. Girls' Generation
Girls' Generation is one of the most successful K-pop girl groups, having sold over 100 million digital and physical records. Girls' Generation pioneered the way and established history from their debut in 2007 until their final release as a group in 2018.
They entered the Guinness World Records in 2018 after earning 13 prizes at the MelOn Music Accolades, making them the musicians with the most awards at the show. Their members have become prominent DJs, actresses, and variety show hosts.
BIGBANG was founded in 2006 due to the television series Big Bang Documentary. For years, the R&B-inspired quintet was one of the most popular K-pop bands of the 2000s.
The group joined the military in 2017 due to South Korea's mandatory military service obligation. As members Taeyang and Daesung were discharged from the Korean army in November 2019, reports of a probable comeback surfaced.
G-Drag, Big Bang's commander, debuted his new sneaker collaboration with Nike, a pair of sneakers called the Nike Air Force 1 Para-Noise, shortly after his discharge from the service.
In 2018, the K-pop girl band (G)I-DLE was formed with six members. With the release of their third EP, “I Trust in 2020,” 2020 the group set a new record for a South Korean girl group. They were also the fourth girl group to sell 100,000 copies in the first week.
When they first came out in 2020, ENHYPEN won four awards for “Rookie of the Year.” All seven members of the group are global ambassadors for Ami Paris. The music videos for their singles “Given-Taken,” “Drunk-Dazed,” and “Tamed-Dashed” have been watched more than 100 million times.
ITZY debuted in 2019 and made history as the first and only K-pop girl group to win “Rookie of the Year” at all five of the most significant Korean music awards shows. With the release of their single “In The Morning,” they also made history as the second South Korean girl group to have more than one hit on the Billboard Global 200.
SEVENTEEN is known as one of the K-biggest pop stars. They have 13 members and three groups. The former Seventeen Magazine cover stars are proud that their music has been streamed over 2 billion times and sold over 10 million albums.
They started 2021 with a bang by being the first group to have two No. 1s on the Billboard Top Album Sales chart. They were also nominated for the Best K-pop at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards.
Blackpink, a four-member K-pop girl group, made history as the first K-pop girl band to perform at Coachella in 2019 and as the highest-charting K-pop girl group on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200. The group is known for its style and choreography.
MAC Cosmetics and the Calm app have sponsored them. Blackpink even has its own Netflix documentary, and in 2021, a member of the group, Lisa, will go out on her own and release her first album.
BTS is a South Korean boy band that started as the Bangtan Boys. Since their debut in 2013, they have had a lot of success. BTS made history by being the first Korean band to perform at the American Music Awards in 2017 and the first Asian act to win the American Music Award for Artist of the Year.
The seven-person group is worth an estimated $100 million, and each idol is worth about $20 million on their own. They also have four No. 1 albums and five No. 1 singles in a row. But it might be a while before BTS releases new music.
The band posted a video to YouTube during their annual FESTA event, saying they are going on a “hiatus.” Even though a representative for BTS said they aren't breaking up, they “will take some time to work on solo projects and stay active in different ways.”