Is K-pop Industry's Popularity Declining? HYBE CEO Expresses Fear Over Genre's Current Status

Credit: HYBE LABELS/YouTube Screenshot

Credit: HYBE LABELS/YouTube Screenshot

HYBE CEO Park Ji Won expressed his concerns that people might not listen to K-pop one day.

In an interview with Bloomberg News in February, CEO Park Ji Won of HYBE — the current K-pop powerhouse — said that he is afraid of how K-pop's popularity might decline in the next few years. He noted that some people started expecting that to happen, as well.

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Is K-pop's Popularity Declining?

Park Ji Won explained that the K-pop industry reached the highest growth during the pandemic. The Korea Customs Service, per The Korea Times, said that the industry exported $231.4 million worth of albums in 2022.

The amount was three times higher compared to the $74.6 million recorded in 2019.

As for the reason why it might lose multi-million in the next few years, experts said BTS' temporary absence plays a huge role in it. The members are expected to complete their military service by 2025.

Currently, its eldest member Jin is serving in the military, with J-Hope already planning to start his, as well.

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While K-pop remains popular nowadays, experts said there would be massive changes soon.

"K-pop is still enjoying its heyday right now, as evidenced by massive album sales and YouTube views," music critic Kim Do-heon said. "But the K-pop industry should fully prepare for the future to avoid being dethroned by other genres. If it continues to experiment and broaden its horizons further to different fields like metaverse, it will be able to gain more traction as time goes by."

He compared how powerful K-pop is compared to J-pop, saying that the former amassed fans globally.

However, K-pop is yet to reach its peak in the US.

K-pop Still Lacks General Popularity

Clinical assistant professor of communication at the University of Southern California Lee Hye Jin said that, while K-pop albums have massive sales, the genre itself still lacks general popularity.

She noted that only about 40 percent of her pop culture course class shows interest in K-pop.

This resonated with what a K-pop fan named Choi Joo Yeon told the publication. Per the supporter, the fourth-generation K-pop groups are yet to savor fame as they are not even well-known in Korea.

Currently, experts are trying to look at the trend by tracking the "determining factors" — BLACKPINK and BTS.

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