It takes a brave person to get involved in arguments between the world’s keenest superfans over whether one artist is better or bigger than another. So doff your caps but retreat a safe distance from music-database Viberate, which has sent out some figures claiming that Blackpink are ‘the biggest K-Pop group’ ahead of BTS.
Blackpink recently became the first K-Pop group to join the ‘three commas club’ (1bn views for a video) on YouTube, joining solo-artist Psy. But how to judge whether Blackpink or BTS are bigger, given the many different metrics – CD sales, audio streams, video views, tickets and merch sold, social followings etc?
Viberate has been pulling together a range of digital stats to figure out who’s biggest. Drilling down on the numbers around digital popularity on Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube, it found that Blackpink topped both the Mainstream Pop and the Asian Pop rankings. It added that Blackpink are by some distance dominant on YouTube and BTS are only in the lead in terms of Twitter followers and SoundCloud plays (which was hardly difficult given Blackpink have no SoundCloud account).
In Viberate’s overall popularity rankings, Blackpink are 22nd and BTS 27th. That said, a comparison based on metrics from western streaming services and social networks doesn’t tell the whole story: Spotify, for example, isn’t even available in South Korea yet.