[POLL] EXO vs BTS: Who is the most popular k-pop boy group?


Each k-pop agency has different marketing strategies to promote its singers. And chief of all, SM Entertainment is recognized as having the most sophisticated marketing strategy. As the originator of the modern k-pop training and marketing system, SM has been a role model for latecomers. With its well-calculated strategy, the agency has produced many k-pop stars such as TVXQ, BoA, Super Junior, SHINee and Girls’ Generation.

And in 2012, SM’s new boy group EXO made a debut, and yeah, the boy group soon became the most popular k-pop idol group and is now leading the k-pop industry. Actually, many k-pop agencies have tried to produce as popular young idol group as EXO for the past few years, but they failed, and there is no doubt that EXO is now an idol group without equal, while it’s unusual for a k-pop idol group to maintain such an overwhelming popularity for years.

Recent Achievements

Exo's third studio album, Ex'Act, along with its singles "Lucky One" and "Monster", were released on June 9, 2016 in both Korean and Mandarin versions. Domestic pre-sales for the album surpassed 660,000, making it the most pre-ordered K-pop album of all time. The album later broke the record for the highest first week sales of a Korean album, breaking their previous record set by Sing For You, by selling 522,372 copies in one week. The album also went on to top the United World Albums Chart. "Monster" became Exo's first number one on the Billboard World Digital Songs chart, while "Lucky One" debuted at number 3.

On August 18, 2016, a repackaged edition for Ex'Act, titled Lotto, was released. It contained the original tracks from Ex'Act along with four new songs including the single of the same name. "Lotto" became Exo's second number one on the Billboard World Digital Songs Chart and peaked at number 2 on Gaon's Digital Chart. Lotto's Korean and Chinese versions reached number 1 and 2 respectively on Gaon's Album Chart. Within two months of its original release, Ex'Act sold over 1.17 million copies, honoring Exo with the title of "Triple Million Sellers".


There are so many k-pop boy groups, while the groups are too numerous to mention one by one. However, some of them just disappear after debut, and only a very small minority of k-pop boy groups can become popular. By the way, there is a boy group who has been on the steady rise since its debut and is now considered as one of the most popular k-pop idol groups. Yeah, it’s BTS.

As BTS is enjoying a huge popularity at home and abroad, many people in the k-pop world are now saying "The boy group is the future of k-pop." Actually, BTS' success is considered as being very special by many people in the k-pop industry because BTS is in Big Hit entertainment, which is not as big k-pop agency as SM, YG, or JYP. Achieving success as an idol group of small and medium agency in the k-pop word is much harder than you could ever have imagined.

Recent Achievements

On February 13, 2017, BTS re-released their second full-length studio album, Wings, titling it You Never Walk Alone. Pre-orders for the album, which contains 4 new tracks, reached over 700,000 copies. Title track "Spring Day" achieved an all-kill on 8 of the major South Korean online music charts, having crashed the Melon digital chart upon its initial release due to traffic overload. "Not Today" reached no. 11 on the US iTunes Song Chart, whereas "Spring Day" charted 8th, marking the first time a K-pop group entered the Top 10. "Spring Day" also topped the iTunes Song Chart in Brunei, Finland, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, whereas You Never Walk Alone topped the iTunes Album Chart in Armenia, Brunei, Finland, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. "Spring Day" also entered Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart at no.15. 

Within 24 hours of the music video for "Spring Day" being released, it reached over 9 million views. This broke the previous record on YouTube for the highest number of views on a K-pop group music video within 24 hours, previously held by the music video of their own song "Blood, Sweat, and Tears". However, the new record was broken a week later after the group released the music video for "Not Today", which accumulated over 10 million views in said time span. Similarly, "Spring Day" became the fastest K-pop group music video to reach 20 million views, achieving the feat in less than 4 days; "Not Today" bested this by reaching said number of views in less than 3 days.