As a k-pop journalist, I’ve been trying to find a way of deciding k-pop idol groups’ rankings more objectively. I’ve asked several people in the k-pop industry for the objective standard to decide the rankings, and some of them gave me a hint about it. So, in early 2017, I’ve collected data on k-pop idol groups’ activities to determine their rankings, and what I basically wanted to do was to measure k-pop idol groups' popularity and influence in the k-pop world numerically, just like the Korean Business Research Institute did.
Some people might think it’s just something for people to gossip about, but it’s not. Actually, idol groups and their agencies really care about k-pop idol group ranking, and there is a good reason for it. Performing at various mini concerts is the main source of income of most of k-pop idol groups. And if an idol group has a very high public recognition, in other words, if the group is ranked high on the k-pop idol group ranking, the group can get paid more than other idol groups. And the group who is ranked high on the ranking also can appear in more mini concerts than others because the public want to see more popular idol groups. Yeah, k-pop idol group ranking is absolutely to do with money. Ok, let’s see the result I got first. (Data as of March 1, 2017)
Let me explain how I got the result. As you can see above, the ranking has been decided based on 5 factors, Melon index, fan café index, Facebook index, Youtube index, and recent performance index. More specifically, I gave marks for each field on a maximum of 1000 points, while I got numbers for Melon index from the amount of the idol groups’ fans on Melon, the biggest online music site in Korea. And fan café index means the membership of their fan cafes, and Facebook index means the amount of likes of their official Facebook page. These 3 indexes show how many fans idol groups have and how loyal their fandoms are.
By the way, the problem is that the 3 indexes don’t reflect idol groups’ recent performance, and that's why I included Youtube index and recent performance index in the statistics. Youtube index means the number of views of idol groups' recent music videos. And recent performance index shows how popular idol groups are these days, and to reflect how successful idol groups’ latest albums were, I got the numbers from the amount of likes of their latest albums on Melon.
So, among boy groups, BIGBANG, EXO and BTS are taking the top spots of the ranking, showing off their overwhelming popularity in the k-pop world, while young and fresh boy groups such as GOT7, WINNER and SEVENTEEN are in the steep growth. And among girl groups, Girls' Generation, the most famous k-pop girl group, is still maintaining the top position, but young girl groups who debuted within the past 3 years such as BLACKPINK, Red Velvet, MAMAMOO and GFriend are becoming more prominent in the k-pop industry. And particularly noteworthy is the fact that TWICE, who debuted in 2015 has already become no.2 in the ranking.
Well, to summarize, top class idol groups such as BIGBANG, EXO and Girls’ Generation are still in their golden days now, but young idol groups are in the steep growth and began to threaten the top position. What do you think it means? Yeah, it means there is an active generational shift in the k-pop world. And as explained above, recent performance index of 2017 k-pop idol group ranking shows how successful idol groups’ latest albums are, and the ranking will continue to change and change again based on their latest performance.
**This article is included in <K-pop Secret Vol.5: K-pop Idol Group Ranking>. K-pop Secret Vol.5 contains stories about k-pop idol group ranking.
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K-pop Secret Vol.1: 40 Korean Stars’ Real Personality
K-pop Secret Vol.2: Unknown Stories about K-pop Industry
K-pop Secret Vol.3: How and with whom Idols Date
K-pop Secret Vol.4: The Reality of K-pop Idols
K-pop Secret Vol.5: K-pop Idol Group Ranking