With BTS’ enlistment and various new groups’ debut, 2023 will be a year of changes for the Kpop industry.
According to Naver, in contrast to 2022 being “the year of girl groups”, 2023 may be one for male artists. In particular, this year alone will greet the debut of new boy groups from all 4 major entertainment agencies (HYBE Labels, SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, and YG Entertainment). In particular, there will be around 10 artists coming from these agencies, 7 of those are boy groups, who will be active in South Korea, Japan, the US, and China.
The debut of various new male groups
In early 2023, JYP Entertainment has plans to introduce their new boy group, Project C, which will reportedly consist of 6 members Luo Yan, Victor, Li Xijie, Huang Wenjin, Bai Yuanhao and Liang Zexin. The male group will be active in China under JYP’s Chinese division Fanling Culture.
At the same time, JYP will be forming a new boy group from the SBS survival show “LOUD”, as well as the male version of NiziU – their Japan-based girl group which was created through “Nizi Project” in 2020.
Meanwhile, SM Entertainment plans to reveal NCT’s first Japan-based sub-unit NCT Tokyo and another male artist outside of the NCT project.
In the same year, HYBE Labels will birth 2 new boy groups under its subsidiaries Pledis Entertainment and KOZ Entertainment. There will also be a Japanese group formed by HYBE Japan, which is called &TEAM and expected to include I-Land competitors K, Nicholas, EJ, and Taki.
Alongside the current “big 4”, small and media agencies will also be introducing their own new artists.
In particular, project groups will be formed through the Mnet survival show “Boys Planet” (male version of “Girls Planet”) and the MBC survival show “Boys Fantasy” (male version of “My Teenage Girl”).
There were only a limited number of new male artists debuting in 2021 and 2022, with only 2 of them coming from large agencies. This is an extremely low number compared to 2017 – when there were 57 new boy groups, and 2018-2022, where there were new male artists from HYBE, SM, JYP, and YG.
BTS’ enlistment provide a prime opportunity
Naver stated that 2023 will be a year of change, as early 4th generation idols enter their 4th year of activities. In addition, the enlistment of BTS, who have been dominating the male category for years, will open up huge opportunities for other male artists.
Recently in the program “HYBE Briefing with Community”, the CEO of HYBE Entertainment affirmed that in BTS’ absence, various plans have been set for the label’s many artists, including TXT, former NU’EST member Hwang Min Hyun, SEVENTEEN, fromis_9, ENHYPEN, LE SSERAFIM, and NewJeans.
The 2nd season of I-LAND is also expected to be launched.
Regarding this, an industry insider commented, “Boy groups that represented the previous generation are going on hiatus due to enlistment in the military or dispersing due to contract renewal issues, As such, a natural transition to the next generation is about to begin, alongside with the appearance of the 5th generation.”