Battle for the Throne: The Rising Generation of Boy Bands Ignites a New War in K-pop
The fierce struggle for the crown among the 5th generation of K-pop boy groups is officially underway.
Nowadays, the competition among K-pop rookies is extremely intense. From groups establishing solid fan bases even before their official debuts through survival shows to big label agencies preparing for their upcoming rookies' debuts, it's a relentless race. Among them, the groups gaining recognition through survival shows and large agency labels are currently leading the 5th generation race. However, other groups are also steadily gaining fandom and evolving.
What's notable is that these rookies are achieving remarkable success, which is quite unusual for just-debuted groups. Who will win the throne in the global expansion of the K-pop market among the 5th generation boy groups?
ZeroBaseOne is currently considered the hottest rookie boy group. Formed through the Mnet survival program 'Boys Planet' that ended last April, ZeroBaseOne is achieving unprecedented success for a rookie group, leading the charge in the 5th generation boy group competition. The group truly reaped the benefits of the survival show.
ZeroBaseOne broke records from the moment they debuted. Their first mini-album 'YOUTH IN THE SHADE,' released on the 10th, sold 1.24 million copies on its release day, earning them the status of million-sellers. They are the first K-pop group to achieve million-seller status on their debut album's first day. They also broke into the TOP 5 K-pop groups with the highest initial sales, selling more than 1.82 million copies within the first week. This proves the strength of ZeroBaseOne's fandom.
Moreover, their debut song 'In Bloom' achieved a cumulative 1.55 million streams on Spotify within three days of release. It also surpassed one million streams on Melon, South Korea's largest music platform, within about four hours of release. They were also awarded a triple gold badge on China's largest music streaming platform, QQ Music, proving their popularity after just three days. ZeroBaseOne continues to lead the 5th generation K-pop competition, producing such impressive results.
Another standout rookie boy group is BoyNextDoor, under HIVE's label KOZ Entertainment. Solidifying their status as a promising 2023 rookie through their debut single activities, BoyNextDoor has firmly established its 'skilled' image based on solid skills. With well-made performances and high-quality music, they've been acknowledged for their skill by delivering stages of all three title tracks during their debut activities, successfully showcasing their charms and opening the 'fandom door' wide.
BoyNextDoor is a 5th generation group also garnering international attention. The notable British music magazine NME recently highlighted their debut by conducting an exclusive interview. NME introduced BoyNextDoor as a group that "proves they will be unpredictable by not following the typical flow," expressing anticipation for their unique approach. As HIVE's rookies, the team is expected to excel based on their proven skills.
The group Circus, who debuted last March, is another team gaining attention in the 5th generation boy group war. Circus, a rookie from KQ Entertainment who produced groups like Block B and ATEEZ, is making an appeal with powerful performances and dynamic energy.
Xikers also achieved significant results right after their debut. With their debut album 'HOUSE OF TRICKY: Doorbell Ringing,' they surpassed 100,000 initial sales, setting the record for the 5th highest-selling debut album for a boy group. Notably, they entered the 'Billboard 200' chart at 75th place just two weeks after their debut, proving their global success. They are growing as a representative team of the 5th generation.
Meanwhile, Pledis Entertainment, home to the group Seventeen, is preparing to launch a rookie boy group in the second half of this year. The first rookies to be launched in nine years since Seventeen, expectations are high. SM Entertainment is also launching a new boy group this year. It is known that singer Yoon Sang's son, Lee Chan Young, is joining the group, and they will make an official announcement about the rookies on August 1, raising expectations.
With major agencies joining the rookie boy group war this year, the competition for the 5th generation is set to become even more abundant and fierce.