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The Truth About BLACKPINK

Music & Podcasts

Tue, February 13

For nearly a decade, Jisoo, Jennie, Rose, and Lisa, the members of BLACKPINK, have reigned as the queens of K-pop, destroying not only K-pop records but also making international hits. Since 2016, when they released their debut album ‘SQUARE ONE’, BLACKPINK broke world records with ‘BOOMBAYAH’ and ‘Whistle’. Their stunning visuals, incredible vocals, and hypnotic, hype music shot them into instant fame, making them YG Entertainment's most successful girl group. Now, 8 years after their debut and the signing of another 7-year contract, we must ask the question: Is the BLACKPINK era over or is it just the beginning?

Image Credit: DaftTaengk from Wikimedia Commons

Rise to Fame

In early 2016, YG Entertainment announced a new girl group, wherein the members would be chosen through years of harsh competition. Later that year, BLACKPINK debuted as a four-member group: Jisoo Kim, Roseanne Park, Jennie Kim, and Lalisa Manoban. ‘BOOMBAYAH’, released as BLACKPINK's debut single album, peaked at No. 7 on the Gaon Digital Chart and made BLACKPINK the fastest group in history to top the Billboard World Digital Song Sales.

By 2018, BLACKPINK had released more than 4 songs, each of which broke respective records, and were the first Korean girl group songs to enter Canadian and U.K. charts. “How You Like That” alone became the most-viewed music video within 24 hours on YouTube and broke five different Guinness World Records. BLACKPINK quickly became the most popular girl group in the world, overthrowing previous dominant girl groups including TWICE, RedVelvet, and MAMAMOO, marking the start of a new era.

Image Credit: RAS 99 from Wikimedia Commons

The BLACKPINK Era

With the release of “How You Like That” and “DU-DDU-DU-DDU”, it was clear that BLACKPINK had taken over the world with their music. Millions of fans, dubbed BLINKs, flooded the stadiums, with their concerts sold out in a matter of minutes. BLACKPINK's 2018 “In Your Area” world tour comprised 36 separate shows and grossed over $56 million in revenue. Their second world tour in 2022 “Born Pink” attracted over 2 million attendees and made 150 million dollars.

The BLACKPINK members each have over 60 million followers on Instagram, with Lisa leading at 80 million followers. Their popularity has racked up exponentially over the years, with their names on lists such as Forbes Korea Power Celebrity 40 List in 2019 and Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia. The BLACKPINK members are recognized under other powerful South Korean influences including Samsung, Squid Game, Parasite, and Hyundai. Billboard stated that BLACKPINK was the “most successful K-pop girl group to have impacted the U.S. Market.”

Over the past four years, each of the BLACKPINK members released their singles and received an overwhelming amount of support and praise. From Jennie's “SOLO” to Jisoo's “FLOWER”, the respective songs have broken numerous world records. Lisa, with her single “LALISA”, set three new Guinness World Records and became the first solo K-pop winner at the 2022 MTV Music Video Awards.

Jisoo's “FLOWER” became the fastest song to reach 300 million streams by a K-pop female soloist on Spotify. From 2016 until 2023, BLACKPINK has repeatedly shown their dominance in K-pop.

Image Credit: Newsenstar1 from Wikimedia Commons

The Fourth Generation

Recently, however, changes have come, altering the K-pop world as we know it. Newer, younger, and fresher girl groups such as NewJeans, NMIXX, LE SSERAFIM, ITZY, and IVE are bringing different perspectives and changing our perceptions of an ideal girl group. Their Gen-Z style, which especially appeals to the younger generation, is enthralling and different from BLACKPINK. Slowly, BLACKPINK is becoming less and less relevant as the fourth generation of K-pop groups rises, bringing different music and dance styles.

BLACKPINK's dance style has always been praised for its systematic nature and distinct choreography. Their music is powerful and traditional, with impactful bass beats, hype rap sections, and strong vocal displays. However, K-pop in recent years has been taking a sharp turn towards the less traditional styles.

The choreography has turned into a hip-hop style, with more leg and waist movement, and a different type of teamwork. Music, especially introduced by NewJeans, has shifted into a more contemporary R&B, introducing a distinct juxtaposition between BLACKPINK's powerful music with NewJean's chill beats.

NewJeans has broken BLACKPINK Lisa's previous record of being the fastest K-pop group to reach 1 billion streams on Spotify. IVE has also surpassed BLACKPINK as the second best-selling girl group of all time throughout all their albums. LE SSERAFIM holds the highest-selling album by a K-pop group in first-day sales with ‘UNFORGIVEN’, breaking the previous record made by BLACKPINK's ‘BORN PINK’. With new girl groups breaking BLACKPINK's records and threatening the thus-far dominance of BLACKPINK, the question begs to be asked: Is BLACKPINK's reign over?

Image Credit: 티비텐 from Wikimedia Commons

A New Era

"BLACKPINK is number one. We will work hard to revive much love and support from fans." - Jennie Kim.

Although girl groups such as IVE and NewJeans have risen in popularity, the mark that BLACKPINK has made on the K-pop industry will never go away. Their hard work and influence have shot K-pop to multinational levels and brought their bright music to the farthest corners of the world. Their lyrics have shone a light on various life experiences and provided a place of belonging to millions of fans.

This may be a new era: An era of new girl groups and a different style of music. However, the BLACKPINK era is by no means gone or over. It has only begun.

As they sign a new 7-year contract, BLACKPINK will begin a new era of development, excitement, and love. It is without a doubt that Jisoo, Jennie, Rose, and Lisa will continue to give us their best, with new music and surprises for years to come!

Samuel Teoh
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Samuel Teoh is a homeschooled high school sophomore in Taiwan. He is the News & Media Director of AspirAsian, a Senior Editor and Video Editor for Polyphony Lit, and a published author. He is passionate about identity and self-expression, whether through writing, art, or film. His favorite pastimes are drinking bubble tea, listening to K-pop (especially NewJeans!), and reading/writing stories.

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