Understanding 2015’s trending, crossover K-pop stars

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In Twitter terms, highlights of 2015 can be summed up by the top trending hashtags of the year. Interspersed throughout this year’s list of music’s top 10? Four of K-pop‘s biggest names. On the list itself, six were actual groups, while the other four included awards shows like the iHeart Radio Music Awards (No. 7) […]

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In Twitter terms, highlights of 2015 can be summed up by the top trending hashtags of the year. Interspersed throughout this year’s list of music’s top 10? Four of K-pop‘s biggest names.

On the list itself, six were actual groups, while the other four included awards shows like the iHeart Radio Music Awards (No. 7) and the VMAs (No. 9). Of the six bands to make the cut, only Fifth Harmony (No. 5) and One Direction (No. 1) represented the West—the other four riding the hallyu wave from South Korea.

But who are these K-pop idols continually winning the battle for social media hearts and minds?


Got7

Of the four groups in the top 10, Got7 is the youngest, debuting in 2014. This seven-member boyband ranks as the second most trending hashtag this year. The boys hail from popular label JYP Entertainment and unlike many other groups, have a very multinational, multilingual team with members from Korea, Thailand, America, and Hong Kong. Their name reflects the seven-member count, but also represents luck. So their name really means that they’re “seven people who has got luck.”

The group has released three singles this year—”Just Right” in June, “If You Do” in September, and their holiday music video, “Confession Song” in November. Got7 also recently performed in the U.S. at the Los Angeles KCON in August.

Exo

A couple spots down at No. 4 sits nine-member boy band Exo. The group from SM Entertainment—a huge rival company to JYP—has been busy at work in 2015. This year, they released their second full-length album, performed all across Asia, recorded a webseries, made a Japanese debut, and can be currently seen promoting Star Wars.

Exo debuted in 2012 and have gained global popularity ever since. In 2015, they’ve released three music videos—”Call Me Baby” in March, “Love Me Right” in June, and “Lightsaber” in November. They also announced their first ever North American tour, scheduled for February.

????? (Bangtan Sonyeondan)

Bangtan Sonyeondan, or BTS for short, ranked sixth on the list of top music trends. They are a seven-member, hip-hop boy group from Big Hit Entertainment, whose name literally translates to “Bulletproof Boy Scouts.” In an interview, member J-Hope explains that “bangtan” means “to guard against something.” Thus their name implies that they will block against societal pressures, as well as protect their value and worth.

As a hip-hop group, the boys’ music style differs from contemporaries like Exo and Got7. However in 2015, they have proved to be formidable contenders in the K-pop world. Allkpop reported today that BTS has either ranked or topped five different Billboard charts with their newest album, despite being from a smaller label.

The group debuted in 2013, and in 2015, BTS released three music videos—”I Need U” in April, “Dope” in June, and “Run” in November. They also recently performed in the U.S. on their Red Bullet tour.

Big Bang

Of all the K-pop groups who broke Twitter’s music top 10, Big Bang is the most senior. Despite their long reign, the five-member boy band came in at No. 10. The group comes from the third of K-pop’s “big three” companies, YG Entertainment. (SM and JYP are the other two.) 

Although a favorite, Big Bang as a whole was on hiatus for three years, and each of the members pursued solo or sub-group activities instead. In K-pop, individuals usually can’t promote as solo artists until their group has established a well-known name, which Big Bang has been doing since 2006. While the Big Bang members have been releasing successful singles on their own since 2012, this year marked their long-awaited comeback with their mini-album series, “Made.”

Starting in May, Big Bang released a total of eight music videos. Going until August, the group debuted two music videos on the first of each month. They also toured the U.S. and Canada this fall during their Made World Tour.

The full listing on Twitter can be found here.

Screengrab via jypentertainment/YouTube

Sherry Tucci

Sherry Tucci

Sherry Tucci is a fandom reporter who specializes in Korean pop culture and anime. In addition to her work at the Daily Dot, her reporting has appeared in the Daily Texan.