K-pop Groups are Falling Behind K-pop Bands? A New Mainstream Has Emerged 

There has been a rise of “band concepts” among K-pop groups, and band songs are becoming the new mainstream.

Rock music, once considered a “non-mainstream” and “outdated” genre, is becoming mainstream again. K-pop idol groups are adopting band concepts to differentiate themselves, and rock bands that have shed their “indie” labels are capturing the hearts of international fans. Even K-pop groups structured like bands are climbing the charts.

Increasing number of K-pop groups adopting band concepts


SM Entertainment’s boy group RIIZE released “Get a Guitar” and followed it with “Talk Saxy,” inspired by the saxophone, and then “Boom Boom Bass” with a bass guitar as the title track. EXO’s Suho, also under SM, released a solo album filled with rock music in May. He said, “I studied rock music during my military service. I wanted to express that ‘Suho is serious about rock.'”

Girl group H1-KEY had a surprise hit with “Rose Blossom,” written by Day6’s Young K, last year, creating a “miracle for a mid-tier idol group.” They continued with a rebellious punk band image in their latest album released last month. (G)I-DLE also had great success with “Allergy,” which has a Japanese pop band feel.

K-pop bands like Day6 and QWER rising to the top of the charts

K-pop-style pop bands are also gaining popularity. JYP Entertainment’s band Day6, since debuting in 2015, is experiencing its peak. While K-pop boy groups tend to lose popularity when they return from military service, Day6’s popularity has been on the rise, with their past songs making a comeback on the charts.


In April, they drew an audience of 34,000 over three days at the Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul. Regarding the rise of their old songs, Young K said, “The structure of band music with real instruments hasn’t changed much, so it remains comfortable to listen to over time.”

Meanwhile, Xdinary Heroes, from the same agency as Day6, sold out their three solo concerts from July 5-7 and will meet local fans in Los Angeles and New York starting July 17. The girl band QWER, consisting of social media stars, has had their song “T.B.H” in the top 10 of Melon’s weekly chart for nearly three months. RBW’s boy band ONEWE is also steadily gaining popularity.

People are looking for band music due to increased fatigue caused by K-pop fixation

Rock bands are looking beyond Korea to the international market. Silica Gel, one of the most popular rock bands in Korea, was invited to perform at “Primavera Sound” in Spain and “Vivid Sydney” in Australia. Wave to Earth, who debuted in 2019, has performed in over 30 cities worldwide. The Rose became the first Korean rock band to chart on the US Billboard album chart.


Interest in band music is palpable on the ground. Seo Hyun-kyu, director at MPMG, which manages several indie bands, said, “With more festivals, the demand for bands to perform has increased, and bands with a certain level of fandom have seen their performance fees rise compared to last year.”

The growing interest in band music is attributed to fatigue from the fixed nature of the fandom-centric K-pop market. Music critic Kim Jakga said, “As K-pop, especially boy groups, have become fan-driven businesses, the fatigue has grown. Some of the demand for popular, familiar melody-driven music seems to be shifting to band music.”

Source: Naver

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