How Many K-pop Groups Debut a Year? The Scale and Harsh Reality of K-pop 

K-pop, which became the idol culture we now know and love, first became a thing in the early 90s, starting with the appearance of Seo Taiji and Boys. 

Ever since, the explosive popularity of the K-pop industry and the benefits it brings have prompted the debut of numerous artists, greatly upping the number of K-pop groups who debut each year. 

Today, let’s take a deep dive into 2 very prevalent questions “How many K-pop groups debut a year” and “How many K-pop groups are there”

How many K-pop groups debut a year

During the 1st generation of K-pop, the number of K-pop groups who debuted each year were in the single digits, with ranging from 1 (such as in 1992, with Seo Taiji and Boys), to 7 (such as in 1997, with SECHSKIES and Baby V.O.X, among others). 

In the 2nd Gen of K-pop, the number of K-pop group debuts started small due to a slump in the industry, with only 3 groups debuting in 2003. However, TVXQ’s appearance in the year sparked a new wave, and a huge surge can be seen in the number of artists, which fluctuated before peaking in 2010 with a total of 15 debuts (including famous names such as CNBLUE, Infinite, Miss A, and SISTAR).

K-pop Gen 3 witnessed a skyrocket in terms of how many K-pop debut a year. In particular, 2011 (which is considered an intersection between the 2nd and 3rd gen) witnessed 21 new groups, and by 2012, this number reached a new high of 33 boy groups and 38 girl groups, with notable names such as EXO and AOA. 

When BTS debuted in 2013, they competed against around 30 other groups, and BLACKPINK was up against approximately 50 competitors by their debut in 2016. 

Meanwhile, 2017 is known to be the most competitive year for K-pop, with above 80 new groups trying to make it big, likely a result of the explosive idol show “Produce 101 Season 2”.

At the start of K-pop’s 4th generation, the number of K-pop groups that debut each year was still high, with approximately 74 groups in 2018 and 76 groups in 2019. However, there is a clear decline compared to Gen 3, and after 2020, this figure has fallen to the 60s. 

How many K-pop groups are there in South Korea

The answer to “How many K-pop groups are there in South Korea” is simple enough: too many to count, and likely in the hundreds. 

However, a trend that can be observed across the years is that despite a huge number of new groups each year, there are only a few that actually survive, especially during later generations like the 3rd and 4th gen of K-pop. 

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For instance, out of the 70-ish artists in 2013, BTS enjoyed huge popularity, while other names fell to oblivion. 2012 groups, meanwhile, are either disbanded or barely active, even including those massively popular like EXO, NU’EST, and BTOB.

On the other hand, however, as smaller groups are taking advantage of SNS to spread their influence instead of relying on traditional media, and as international fans are fueling the flames for lesser-known groups, hope prevails for those who are still trying to follow their K-pop dreams. 

Source: Krb, Smp

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