If 2022 was the year of girl groups, 2023 is expected to be the year for boy groups. This is because it is likely that many new boy groups will debut next year. The industry is already calling them the “fifth-generation rookie group” and expressing expectations for a generation change for boy groups.
According to insiders, the four major entertainment companies (HYBE, SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, and YG Entertainment) have more rookie debut schedules than ever before. All across Korea, Japan, the U.S., and China, more than ten new groups are planning to debut from the four major agencies, seven of which are boy groups.
HYBE plans to introduce a new boy group each from Pledis Entertainment and KOZ Entertainment. JYP will launch a boy group selected through the SBS audition program, LOUD, a Chinese group Project C, and a boy group version of the popular girl group NiziU. SM is scheduled to debut a new boy group that does not belong to NCT, along with the debut of NCT Tokyo. YG currently has no plans for a boy group.
Several audition programs are also expected to center around boy groups. Mnet will broadcast Boys Planet, while MBC will broadcast Fantasy Boys. These will be the boy group version of the programs that debuted Kep1er and CLASS:y last year. In addition, several small and medium-sized agencies are said to have plans to release a boy group as well.
Boy group debuts have been rare in the last two years (2021-2022). Only 13-15 teams debuted this year compared to 57 boy groups that debuted in 2017. From 2018 to 2020, fourth-generation boys groups also poured out of the big four agencies.
Analysts believe that 2023 will be the year where a natural generational change for boy groups will take place as it will be the year that most fourth-generation groups will enter their fourth to sixth year since debut.
A music industry official stated, “The boy groups that represented one generation are either on hiatus due to military enlistment or scattered due to contract renewal issues, so naturally, a generation change will occur with the start of the fifth generation.”