The launch of Spotify’s “Hub” in 2015 has garnered more than 6.6 billion K-pop streams with over 14.4 billion of listening minutes.
When we thought that we’ve just had enough of K-pop, we realised that the bubble hasn’t really burst in the rest of the world. Asia may have been receiving K-pop content for a while now (about a decade), but realising that the rest of the world is still as crazy about BTS and Super Junior till today, maybe a perplexing notion to some of us.
We recently received some numbers from Spotify detailing a growing interest from the West. While K-pop artists may have been touring in the Asia region, many in the West may not have the opportunity to get hold of these songs or seen a performance.
With the expansion of K Con, a K-pop centric festival, in America and some parts in the west, and due to the launch of Spotify’s Hub, K-pop content is being distributed to a wider audience than ever before. While we thought the interest has decreased, it is just starting to pick up in the west.
The launch further drove the number of streams and sharing of Korean music, leading to breakthrough hits including Puss by AOA Jimin, It G Ma by Keith Ape, Hello Bitches by CL and I feat. Verbal Jint by Taeyeon. The number of streams of K-pop tracks continue to rise and sees a 63% increase year on year. To date, Spotify’s Hub has over 4.8 million followers with top songs streaming from its various hub including K-Pop Daebak, Korean OSTs, and K-Party Dance Mix.
CL’s music video – Hello Bitches (below) was only published on YouTube on 21 November but that doesn’t stop it from garnering over 34 million views.
After the world’s brief infatuation with Psy, the genre has rarely broken into the top of the global music charts until now; just this September for the first time, K-Pop debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 album chart with BTS’ ‘Love Yourself: Her’, in a move which many suggest will see K-Pop cross over into the global mainstream.
“We believe music is truly universal and transcends cultures,” says Elly Chae, Director of Communications for BigHit Entertainment. “BTS has been trying to prove it since their debut in 2013, and international music platforms such as Spotify have helped the band expand their horizon to meet new audiences beyond Korea and K-pop.
Based on Spotify’s internal data, each country show different consumption patterns when it comes to streaming Korean music. Spotify users in Mexico tend to hit play for songs by Korean boybands; while, listeners in Brazil enjoy streaming K-Pop party tracks. In Singapore, many turn to Korean original soundtracks (OST) just as often as they watch Korean dramas.