Music Ally reported last week on the success of K-Pop group Blackpink, specifically on YouTube, where they topped its weekly artists chart with 342m views for their music. Now they’ve been unseated… by another K-Pop group. Yes, BTS are sitting proudly atop this week’s YouTube artists chart, with 307m views for their music in the week of 12-18 April. Meanwhile, Blackpink only dropped to number two in the latest rankings thanks to 205m views that week.
More than half a billion weekly YouTube views for two K-Pop bands is the big deal here. Also interesting: the extent to which their high rankings are being driven by individual (new) singles versus the rest of their back catalogues. BTS’ new track ‘Boy With Luv’, which features Halsey, did 168m YouTube views last week, and thus accounted for 54.8% of the group’s overall total. Blackpink’s ‘Kill This Love’ did 130m views that week, meanwhile, accounting for 63.4% of their total views.
This isn’t – yet – a wider-scale occupation of the YouTube charts by South Korean artists, in the same way that Indian and Latin American musicians have been dominating the rankings in recent times. In the 12-18 April week, for example, six of the top 20 slots on YouTube’s artists chart went to Indian musicians, and seven to Latin American artists.
Even so, K-Pop’s increasingly-global audience of casual viewers; the passionate and well-organised superfan communities of BTS and Blackpink; and the sheer visual flair of their videos, is having A Moment on YouTube. Once again, the comparison to Spotify seems initially unflattering: BTS are only the 148th biggest artist on that service at the time of writing, with 15.2 million monthly listeners, while Blackpink are 123rd with 16.9 million. Yet the caveat remains that Spotify isn’t available in South Korea, so the domestic audio-streaming audience for these groups will be on local services there, thus restricting their stats compared to YouTube.