The return of WINNER and iKON after long hiatuses: successful on SNS, failed on music charts?

Despite both making highly-anticipated comebacks after a long time, reactions towards WINNER and iKON are rather different. 

Two 3rd gen boy groups of YG Entertainment, WINNER and iKON, both recently made comebacks after a long break, with WINNER dropping the colorful and lively “I Love You” and iKON releasing the nostalgic retro-pop track “But You”. 

Rave reviews from the public, unremarkable digital achievements 

Despite both “I Love You” and “iKON” receiving a lot of public attention and positive reviews, their digital achievements can’t be said to be explosive. WINNER, for example, used to be a digital monster, but “I Love You” only debuted at No.41 on Melon and No.11 on Genie. These positions haven’t risen that much despite the group actively promoting their song on music shows. 

winner chart
WINNER did decent on Korean music charts, but their ranking isn’t too stable 

Meanwhile, iKON showed an alarming decrease in digital achievements. In particular, “But You” debuted outside of Melon Top 100, and even flunked out of the Top 100 for Melon real time after 4 hours of release. 

YouTube views for the song within the first 24 hours was also low, at only 1.7 million views. 

ikon chart
iKON’s new song was completely missing from the music platform Melon after 4 hours of release 

Successful on social media 

Contrary to their low rankings on Korean music charts, however, both WINNER and IKON did well on social network platforms. 

For starters, WINNER has always been well-loved by the Korean public due to their charming personalities, unique musical colors, and dedicated passion. Therefore, even though they were missing from the Kpop scene for 2 years, WINNER constantly makes it to hot topics, with the member Jinwoo going viral for his youthful appearance and outstanding visuals.

winner kim jin woo thumbnail
The viral thumbnail of WINNER Jinwoo

In addition, moments from WINNER’s free concert “Holiday In The Night” has also taken the internet by storm. The concert, which was held to promote WINNER’s latest comeback, attracted an insane number of attendees from all age groups, who greatly enjoyed the boy group’s performances and songs.

winner concert
The number of attendees exceeded expectations 
winner concert
Listeners from different ages enjoyed WINNER’s music 
winner concert

After the concert ended, there were more than 80 articles written about WINNER’s “Holiday In The City” concert, proving the group’s high public recognition in Korea despite going on a hiatus for more than 2 years. This contributed to their successful comeback.

After 2 years, WINNER’s popularity with the general public remains strong 

iKON also succeeded in creating a trending challenge to promote “But You” on TikTok with more than 74.6 million views. BLACKPINK’s Lisa also did this challenge, attracting more fans’ attention. 

Lisa joined the “But You” TikTok challenge to promote iKON’s comeback 
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