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K-pop band Blackpink: A global phenomenon

Torsten Landsberg
April 21, 2023

Blackpink became the first Asian and all-female band to headline Coachella this year. Ahead of their second performance at the event, here's more on the record-breaking K-pop band.

K-Pop Band Blackpink | Coachella 2023
Image: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Since forming in 2016, the South Korean quartet keeps smashing records. Blackpink are the most followed female group on Spotify; they are the music group with the most subscribers on YouTube — just to name two of their Guinness World Records.

And after becoming the first female K-pop act to perform at Coachella in 2019, the band marked again the festival's history this year by becoming the first Asian and all-female band to headline the event.

Founded in 1999, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is one of the largest festivals in the world and features a three-day program that is repeated two weekends in a row.

The headlining act of the festival is held on the main stage on Saturday night — a highlight that obviously draws the festival-going crowd.

Billions of clicks on YouTube

Blackpink's TV appearances in 2018 could have marked a bumpy North American start, as critics noted that their choreography was not in sync and the singers seemed a bit listless. But that didn't affect their career at all, as nowadays, televised events no longer determine the success of a band.

That same year, "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du" became the first song by a female K-pop band to reach more than a billion views on YouTube.

The Blackpink channel on the video platform now has more subscribers than Justin Bieber's. The K-pop stars' channel has nearly 87 million subscribers.

The video for "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du" now has two billion views, while another Korean-language hit single, "Kill This Love," has also reached 1.7 billion views.

Behind Blackpink — as well as behind the boy band BTS — is the South Korean entertainment group YG Entertainment. YG designs the bands' careers by casting talents and putting bands together. The performers are drilled intensively for years. All marketing aspects of the bands are strategically planned, down to the last detail, including the private lives of the idols.

A thirst-provoking release strategy

Instead of releasing albums in quick succession and oversaturating fans with new material, the marketing strategy has been to build their expectations through scarcity.

A Blackpink album released only in Japan in 2018 was followed by the international debut in 2020 with "The Album" — four years after the band was founded.

"Born Pink," the second album for an international audience, was released last year.

When the release of "The Album" was delayed in 2020, fans protested against the entertainment agency, using the hashtag #NO_More_Lies_YG.

Yet despite protests, the strategy of creating artificial shortage appears to be working well. Singles recorded in collaboration with stars like Lady Gaga or Selena Gomez also contributed to boosting their success.

Blackpink didn't disappear from public view during their musical creative breaks. Jennie, Lisa, Jisoo and Rosé are considered fashion icons; they sit in the front row at Fashion Week and act as ambassadors for luxury brands such as Chanel and Prada.

Of course, they keep their fans up to date on everything on their social media channels. The four singers each have their own Instagram accounts. Altogether, along with the official Blackpink account, they have nearly 370 million followers.

K-Pop Band Blackpink
A record-breaking band: BlackpinkImage: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

That community of fans has its own official name: Blink, a combination of the first and last letters of the band's name. Blinks are particularly active on Twitter and other social media platforms, and are known to flood those sites with love and support for the group that just keeps breaking one record after the other. 

James Corden played on Blackpink's long list of records when the girl group appeared on his latest installment of "Carpool Karaoke," which aired between their two historic headlining sets at Coachella. The show included renditions of their hits, but also attempts to break random records, such as the fastest assembly of a Mr. Potatohead or the most handclaps in one minute. They all failed.

This article was originally written in German.

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