BLACKPINK’s domination over the US Billboard charts can be explained with 5 reasons
“Rewrote the definition of Kpop”, was what the US Billboard said about BLACKPINK’s domination of the Billboard main album chart. Meanwhile, Kpop has already become a global mainstream culture. So, what exactly is the rewriting that Billboard is talking about? This is interpreted to mean that the K-pop market, which used to be dominated by boy groups, has faced a new turning point. In particular, BLACKPINK has risen to an extremely high point and shattered the old notions that girl groups have relatively weak fandoms. Here are five reasons why BLACKPINK were able to conquer Billboard.
#Reason 1. BLACKPINK manages to become a “wannabe” gather of female fans
According to a preview article on the Billboard Chart on September 25th (local time), BLACKPINK’s 2nd full-length album “BORN PINK” recorded sales of 102,000 copies and took first place on the “Billboard 200” main album chart, becoming the first Kpop girl group to have achieved such a feat.
The No. 1 spot on the Billboard chart is not just difficult for K-pop girl groups. Even among female singers around the world, the last time a female group reached the top of the Billboard main album chart was the American group Danity Kane in April 2008. After that, it took about 14 years and 5 months before BLACKPINK rose to such a position.
Album charts are attributed to album sales. To top album charts, it’s better to have a huge fandom that follows a group’s every move. This is why boy groups with strong female fandoms, who are usually active, are strong on the album charts. However, BLACKPINK gathered female fans around the world based on their unique girl crush image. As a result, not only the Korean word for “oppa” (Korean endearment term for older men) but also the word “sister” (for older women) has become commonplace.
The cohesion of BLACKPINK’s fandom was amazing. Physical sales for “BORN PINK” recorded more than 2 million pre-orders during the pre-order period, and so far sold over 2 million copies (including exports to North America and Europe), making BLACKPINK the first Kpop girl group to become a “double million seller”. The group’s Initial Chodong record (sales in one week after the album was released) also broke a total of 1,542,950 copies based on the Hanteo Chart, setting a new record for a K-pop girl group.
#Reason 2. Attract male fandom
BLACKPINK’s YouTube channel currently has over 81.8 million subscribers, making them the No.1 artist on YouTube. In the past, the position was held by pop star Justin Bieber, who has been there for ages before he was dethroned last year. In addition, the total views on BLACKPINK’s YouTube channel also amount to 7.22 billion over the past year.
Why? To understand this, we need to hear a rather uncomfortable truth. In the case of boy groups, they have absolute support from female fans around the world. On the other hand, it is rare for Western men to view Asian men as objects of envy.
But for women, it is different. The fact that Western men and women view Asian women as “mystical” and even “exotic” beings is still valid. As a result, a huge part of BLACKPINK’s fandom are male from all corners of the world, leading to their YouTube subscribers surpassing BTS and climbing to become World’s No.1
#Reason 3. BLACKPINK stays faithful to the basics
There are quite a few reviews about BLACKPINK’s songs as “good to listen to”. As a singer who enjoys global popularity, this should be a given fact.
However, Kpop groups that are heavily based on the fandom often released music regarded as “difficult to listen to”. In these cases, the fandom will show enthusiastic reactions, but the general public will show a lukewarm reception. In this regard, BLACKPINK not only has a hold on its fandom through easy and addictive melodies, but on the public as well.
The proof of this is that the title song of their 2nd full-length album “Shut Down” has topped the global weekly chart Spotify Top Songs – a feat never done before in Kpop. The song was streamed 39,186,127 times over the past week on the Spotify Weekly Top Songs chart shortly after its release. Meanwhile, the pre-release song “Pink Venom” was in second place, proving that BLACKPINK has brought music “easy to listen to”.
#Reason 4. Specialize in ‘music you want to see’
As mentioned earlier, BLACKPINK has 81.8 million subscribers to its personal channel YouTube. It’s worth calling a ‘YouTube Queen. But they are not simply a large number of subscribers. They are loyal ‘customers’. To keep them in the channel, BLACKPINK continued to supply subscribers with quality music videos.
BLACKPINK’s “DDU-DU DDU-DU” music video surpassed 1.9 billion views in July. It has been about four years since it was released on June 15, 2018. It is the first and highest record for any K-pop group’s music video. Since exceeding 1 billion views in November 2019, it has increased by 100 million views every three to five months. If this trend continues, it is possible to achieve a milestone of 2 billion views by the end of this year.
In addition to this, Blackpink has a total of 8 videos with more than 800 million views, including “DDU-DU DDU-DU”, “Kill This Love” (1.6 billion views), “Boombayah” (1.4 billion views), “As if it’s your last” (1.2 billion views), “How You Like That” music video (1.1 billion views), “How You Like That” dance performance video (1.2 billion views), Jennie’s solo song “SOLO” (800 million views), and “Whistle” (800 million views). For the MZ generation, who are accustomed to ‘music to see’, BLACKPINK is like a custom-made group.
#Reason 5. Becoming fashionistas
The members of Blackpink are not only ‘musicians‘, they are also ‘artists‘. It means they have a lot of things that appeal to fans, besides music.
In particular, fashion. All members are working as the “face” of global luxury brands: Jennie – Chanel, Lisa – Celine, Jisoo – Dior, and Rosé – Saint Laurent.
For K-pop idols, ‘appearance‘ is an important evaluation criterion. Another reason why BLACKPINK stands out is their glamorous looks that make anyone around the world feel “I want to be like them”. Another big advantage is that members are fluent in English and can communicate with people around the world at any time.