K-Pop idols who dream of becoming of global stars like BTS and BLACKPINK, are constantly coming out into the K-Pop industry. It has been analyzed that the successive debuts of rookies in the new year coincide with the generation changing period of popular groups and the global popularity on K-Pop.
Starting with girl groups, HYBE, also known as BTS’s agency, will be introducing three girls groups this year through its subsidiary labels. Among them, Min Hee Jin’s girl group is receiving much attention. Min, who is the CEO of HYBE’s subsidiary label, ADOR, previously appeared on the tvN program, You Quiz On The Block, and stated, “I’m looking forward to it in hopes that it will cause a new sensation”.
HYBE’s subsidiary label, Source Music, is preparing for the girl group, LESSERAFIM, which is centered on former IZ*ONE members formed through the Mnet audition program, Produce 101. BELIFT LAB, a label that was formed by the collaboration of HYBE and CJ ENM, will be creating a new girl group through the audition program, I-LAND 2.
JYP Entertainment will unveil a new 7-member girl group next month, making it three years since girl group ITZY debuted. The group name is expected to be NMIX. Last July, they released the debut single package without disclosing the group member information and sold over 60,000 copies in ten days.
YG Entertainment plans to introduce a new girl group for the first time in six years since BLACKPINK. The group’s debut date and member information have yet to be revealed. With YG registering a trademark at the Korean Intellectual Property Office, it is expected that Baby Monster will become the group name.
Wake One and Swing Entertainment introduced the girl group Kep1er, which was created through the audition program, Girls Planet 999. GLG, a label established by Grandline, debuted H1-KEY on January 5. Starship Entertainment unveiled girl group IVE last month, which includes Jang Wonyoung and Ahn Yujin from IZ*ONE.
In terms of boy groups, the competition is just as fierce. SM Entertainment is preparing for the boy group NCT Hollywood, who will be active in the U.S., and created in partnership with MGM. JYP debuted the boy group Xdinary Heroes last month with a storyline that moves back and forth between real and virtual worlds.
Interpark Music Plus, a subsidiary of Interpark, introduced new boy group TRENDZ, on January 5. They made their name known by releasing various dance covers of K-Pop seniors such as BTS. Yuehua Entertainment will release the boy group TEMPEST next month for the first time in three years since girl group EVERGLOW. Keystone Entertainment announced a 9-member boy group Keystone Boys (tentative name). Cube Entertainment is also launching a new boy group for the first time in six years since PENTAGON.
With the successive launches of new groups, agencies emphasize that it is a choice to adapt to the new environment. One agency official stated, “It’s not easy to integrate the trend of the metaverse with existing groups in a situation where the market is changing. New groups are coming out one after another to combine new groups with these trends”.
There have also been interpretations that link the contract period with existing groups. Another agency official commented, “A lot of popular idol groups out now are around the five-year mark. Considering the contract period is usually seven years, the continuous growth of the agency is possible by releasing a new group”.
Regarding this trend, pop music critic, Park Hee Ah stated, “A generational change has started as teenagers who have grown up with the values of the MZ generation are debuting as idols. It is also a move that keeps pace with the rapid increase in global fans who are into K-Pop idols”. Another critic stated, “With the movement to resume concerts, rookie groups who have been looking for a time to debut are starting to make their debuts now. This year can be seen as a generational change to replace the third-generation girl groups that debuted in the mid-2010s”.