As K-pop becomes more popular worldwide, the proportion of English in the lyrics is increasing significantly. According to Circle Chart’s senior researcher Kim Jin Woo, the proportion of English in the lyrics of girl group music that ranked in the top 400 digital charts in the first half of this year was 41.3%, an 18.9% increase compared to the same period in 2018.
By group, the proportion of English lyrics in the first half of this year for (G)I-DLE was 53.6%, LE SSERAFIM 50.6%, BLACKPINK 50%, NMIXX 49.3%, and NewJeans 48.4%. On the other hand, the percentage of English lyrics in IVE’s music was low at 24.9%.
The English lyrics mainly used words such as “I,” “You,” “Like,” and “Love.” Researcher Kim stated, “After BLACKPINK’s global success, the domestic market for girl groups expanded overseas, and the proportion of English users increased. Looking at each group, the more overseas consumers there are, the higher the proportion of English users.”
It is analyzed that the domestic consumer market atmosphere, which has become relatively tolerant of English, played a part of in the increase in their use of English.
Pop music critic Kang Tae Gyu stated, “The MZ generation has no aversion to English lyrics, and this phenomenon is reflected in the actual charts. There is no need to limit lyrics to Korean.”
In the case of boy groups, the proportions of English lyrics recored 24.3% in the first half of the year, an increase of 5.6% compared to the first half of 2018. Like girl groups, the proportion of English lyrics in boy groups has increased, the but the rate of increase has been relatively low.
Researcher Kim analyzed, “Girl groups are targeting not only fandoms but also the global public, so a phenomenon that differentiates them from fandom-centered male idols is emerging.”
According to the survey, the number of people participating in K-pop song production has also increased, which is presumed to have been influenced by idol members’ participation in writing and composing lyrics and overseas composers’ activities in the K-pop market.
In the first half of this year, the number of people involved in producing a K-pop song was 3.9 people writing lyrics, 4.8 people composing music, and 2.2 people arranging music, an increase of 1 person, 1.4 people, and 0.5 people, respectively, compared to the same period in 2018.
The target of this survey is the music of idols (including unit and individual activities) in the top 400 digital charts based on Circle Chart, including 38 girl group songs and 76 boy group songs in the first half of 2018, and 63 girl group songs and 24 boy group songs in the first half of 2023. If the entire song was in English, it was excluded from the survey.