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Different Standards for Kpop Boy Group and Girl Group's Rankings


As a k-pop journalist, I’ve been trying to find a way of deciding k-pop idol groups’ rankings more objectively. So 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. Well, what they told me was that I should apply different standards to boy groups and girl groups.


Popular boy groups usually have their enthusiastic fandom because most of their fans are teenage girls, and what people in the k-pop industry told me was the size of the fan base and the passion of the fans are factors to consider first when I decide k-pop boy groups’ rankings.

Then, how can we express the size of the fan base and the passion of the fans numerically? Well, the size of the fan base can be measured by whether a boy group can hold a large-scale concert. The Olympic Gymnastics Stadium, the biggest indoor concert hall in Korea, can accommodate about 10,000 audiences, while just a few k-pop boy groups can fill the concert hall. And of course, to hold large-scale concerts at the concert halls of foreign countries that are bigger than the Olympic Gymnastic Stadium, huge fan base is needed. For example, famous k-pop boy groups such as BIGBANG, Super Junior, 2PM and SHINee have proved that they’re qualified to be ranked higher than other boy groups by holding their exclusive concerts at the Tokyo Dome which can accommodate 50,000 audiences.

And the passion of the fans can be measured by boy groups’ album sales. Even though the rise in online music sharing sites has led to a drastic decrease in paid album sales, album sales is still regarded as a significant barometer of idol groups’ popularity. For example, in 2013, EXO has sold more than 1 million copies of its album, recording million-seller for the first time in 12 years in Korea. By setting the overwhelming record, EXO could prove that it is now the most popular k-pop boy group.

Girls' Generation

Then, how about girl groups? Unlike boy groups who have huge and loyal fan base, it’s important for girl groups to captivate the general public. That’s why people in the k-pop industry say girl groups can expect to raise their rankings by making good marks on various online music charts. SISTAR is the typical case. From 2013-2014, the girl group made consecutive hits with its songs such as “Gond not around any longer,” “Give it to me” and “Some” and could become one of the most popular k-pop girl groups. At the time, the girl group was regarded as about the only one girl group who can threaten No.1 girl groups such as Girls’ Generation and 2NE1.


In the same vein, girl groups can raise their rankings by appearing in various TV shows because that’s one of the most effective ways for them to gain public recognition. Well, some of you might wonder if k-pop girl groups and their agencies really care about their rankings, but yeah, they really care about it and there is a good reason for it. Actually, it’s about money. Performing at various mini concerts is the main source of income of most of k-pop girl groups. And if a girl group has a very high public recognition, which means the girl group is ranked high on the k-pop idol group ranking, the girl group can get paid more than other girl groups. And the girl group can appear in more mini concerts than others too because the public want to see a more popular girl group.

So, a person who works for a k-pop agency told me, “K-pop girl groups’ rankings depend on how busy they are. If a girl group has a hectic schedule, it means the girl group is loved by the public that much.”

Girl's Day

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