These 10 K-Pop Artists Had Not-So-Popular Debuts, But Incredibly Successful Careers

#3 went from almost disbanding to being worldwide famous.

While many K-Pop groups that are successful today started off with a well-received debut, others had a slow start to their career that slowly built up over time. Debuts are important for a K-Pop artist’s career, but it doesn’t always mean the end if their first song doesn’t do great on the charts! These are ten K-Pop groups who proved that even though they may not have had the biggest debuts into the industry, they still went on to have great careers.

1. Super Junior

Super Junior debuted with “Twins (Knock Out)” on November 6, 2005, which has accumulated 5.18 million views and 76k likes to this day, and the album Twins which has made about 125k sales (many of which came later in their career). Despite the low-ish views on their debut MV, the group has gone on to sell over 4.5 million albums in South Korea, and over 5.5 million worldwide. Their most-viewed music video now is “Mr. Simple”, which has 206 million views!


VIXX debuted with “Super Hero” on May 23, 2012, which has accumulated 6.49 million views and 88k likes to this day, and an album of the same name which made just over 20k sales. Despite this small start, it seems that maybe a change in their concepts led to their rise, as they have now sold nearly 1.3 million total albums in South Korea. Their most-viewed music video is “Chained Up” with just under 30 million views.

3. BTS

BTS debuted with “No More Dream” on June 11, 2013, which has accumulated 235.9 million views and 6.8 million likes to this day, and their first album, 2 Cool 4 Skool, has now sold over 400k copies. Of course, their career didn’t start out this way, with their first album initially making only about 24k sales in the first year, and “No More Dream” only picking up more views after BTS began to rise in popularity. They now have made over 37 million album sales worldwide, and their most-viewed music video, “Boy With Luv”, has over 1.4 billion views!


SISTAR debuted with “Push Push” on June 4, 2010, which has accumulated 6.31 million views and 36k likes to this day, and their first album, So Cool, made a modest 25k sales. While they’re still not the best-selling group in terms of album sales — with about 150k sold in total — they certainly did well in the industry with millions of digital downloads. Their most-viewed music video now is “Alone”, which has 127 million views!


OH MY GIRL debuted with “Cupid” on April 19, 2015, which has accumulated 7.33 million views and 87k likes to this day, and their first album, Oh My Girl, sold just over 10k copies. They’ve seen a steep rise in their popularity in recent years, and overall, they’ve now made over 500k album sales globally! Their most-watched music video now is “Nonstop”, which has about 78 million views.


THE BOYZ debuted with “Boy” on December 6, 2017, which has accumulated 11.5 million views and 252k likes to this day, and their first album, The First, has made around 82k sales. Their popularity has also gone up in the last year or so, however, and their total sales now total over 2.5 million worldwide (with their best-selling, Thrill-ing, making nearly 650k sales on its own). Their most-viewed music video is “Thrill Ride”, which has about 36 million views.


PENTAGON debuted with “Gorilla” on October 9, 2016, which has accumulated 11.5 million views and 339k likes to this day, and their first album, Pentagon, made just under 20k sales. After the explosion of popularity with “Shine”, the group saw a noticeable rise in their sales, and currently, they have around 730k total album sales! Their most-watched music video, of course, is “Shine”, which has over 235 million views.

8. Apink

Apink debuted with “I Don’t Know” on April 19, 2011, which has accumulated 10.7 million views and 46k likes to this day, and their first album, Seven Springs of Apink, made just over 25k sales. Though they never really blew up in popularity like some groups, they still have had a strong and steady career in more recent years, and their album sales total is around 1.04 million worldwide! Their most-viewed music video to date is “I’m So Sick”, which has 85 million views.


EXID debuted with “WHOZ THAT GIRL” on February 15, 2012, which has accumulated 11.0 million views and 74k likes to this day, and though the sales numbers for their first album, Holla, is unknown, their second album (Hippity Hop) barely surpassed 1.5k sales. Like SISTAR, they still don’t have the most album sales on this list — just over 180k total — they were highly successful in the digital world, with their hits “Up&Down” and “Ah Yeah” breaking a million downloads. Their most-viewed music video is “Up&Down”, which has about 114 million views!


MAMAMOO debuted with “Mr. Ambiguous” on June 17, 2014, which has accumulated 10.3 million views and 189k likes to this day, and their first album, Hello, made just under 13k sales. Though it took some time, MAMAMOO’s popularity in the K-Pop industry slowly grew over time, and it was songs like “Starry Night” and “HIP” that really helped them get a bigger fandom! Worldwide, they’ve made about 1.11 million album sales, and their most-watched music video, “HIP”, has 314 million views.