If you’ve been a K-Pop fan for a while, you will probably know, unfortunately, that a lot of K-Pop groups don’t last longer than seven years, giving the term the “seven year curse” in the industry. There are some exceptions to this rule, of course, that last far longer than seven years, and there are others that don’t even make it that long.
A decade ago, in 2011, K-Pop wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today, and second generation artists such as Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, BIGBANG, and 2NE1 were at some of the highest points in their careers.
2011 was also right before what most consider to be when the third generation of K-Pop began, with groups like EXO, VIXX, BTOB, and AOA debuting the following year.
A decade ago was, then, a sort of in-between in the eras of K-Pop, and while there were quite a few groups that debuted in 2011, only four of them are still at least semi-active today.
Apink is one of two girl groups that debuted in 2011 that hasn’t disbanded — and considering that girl groups, sadly, tend to disband more quickly that boy groups makes this extra impressive!
They debuted on April 19 with the song “I Don’t Know” as the title track for the album Seven Springs of Apink, and originally had seven members but changed to six after one member left to complete her studies in 2013. They sold over 25,000 copies of their first album — a huge feat for a girl group back in the day — and since then, they have released music every year until now!
Their most recent release, “Thank You”, came out on April 19 this year to celebrate their 10th anniversary since debut. And though Naeun left Play M Entertainment later that month, the group still consists of all six members!
The other girl group that debuted in 2011 and is still going strong today is a name you’re likely very familiar with: Brave Girls! Though it’s only been this year that they finally became a viral sensation, they’ve been making bops since they released their debut song “Do You Know” on April 7 of that year — however, they have an entirely different member line-up than they did back then.
All of the current members of Brave Girls — Minyoung, Yujeong, Eunji, and Yuna — joined the line-up in 2016, where the group gained some attention for their soft but catchy song “Deepened”.
Of course, however, most people now know them for the iconic bop “Rollin'”, and 2021 has seen their most successful year yet, with their album Summer Queen making over 75,000 sales!
Now, onto the boy groups. The first group that debuted in 2011 that has not yet disbanded, B1A4, is slightly more active than the other, though they are unfortunately down to three members after Jinyoung and Baro left the group in 2018. They debuted on April 23 (we’re seeing a pattern with April debuts!) with the album Let’s Fly and title track “O.K”.
Despite only having three members, B1A4 has released music since 2018, coming out with the album Origine in 2020 and releasing the digital singles “10 Times” (in celebration of the group’s 10th anniversary) and “Adore You” in 2021. Shortly after, Sandeul began his enlistment period, but as of now, the group still hasn’t disbanded.
And finally, the last group that debuted in 2011 that still hasn’t disbanded is Block B! They came out with their first song, “Freeze!”, on April 13 (what a coincidence these groups all debuted in April!) from the single album Do You Wanna B?, though it was met with some challenges since the music video was deemed too sexy for Korean television so the song couldn’t be sold to minors under 19 or played aired before 10PM at night.
Despite these hurdles, however, Block B still made a pretty good name for themselves, known for their unique and quirky concepts and music styles. While they haven’t released any music since 2018 when they came out with “Don’t Leave” and the repackaged album Re: Montage, the group is still a seven-member unit and doesn’t appear to be disbanding anytime soon!
Hopefully 2022 will see more K-Pop groups reaching that 10 year since debut milestone!