Blackpink debuted in 2016 under YG Entertainment with the single "Square One," now considered the biggest girl group in K-pop with a huge online and offline presence.
Having stormed the charts from the earliest stages of its career with powerful dance tracks "Whistle" (2016) and "Boombayah" (2016), the quartet never failed to land their tracks on the No. 1 spot of local music charts, especially breaking new records with their YouTube music video views.
Thanks to active engagement with global fans by members fluent in English and Thai supported by a tech-savvy generation of fans worldwide, the group saw massive fandom growth online, especially in Southeast Asia.
In 2018, Blackpink became the first K-pop girl group to land a track on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with "Ddu-du Ddu-du," along with the EP that included the song "Square Up" also peaking at No. 40 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
The band is also famed for all its four members becoming "ambassadors," or paid models, for the biggest fashion luxury houses in the world — Jisoo was signed to Cartier, Jennie to Chanel, Lisa to Celine, Bvlgari and MAC and Rose to Saint Laurent, Yves Saint Laurent Beauty and Tiffany.
How popular is the group, exactly?
Blackpink is dubbed one of the "two great mountains of K-pop" along with the boy band BTS. In 2020, Forbes wrote that "the title of the biggest girl group in the world [...] belongs solely to Blackpink, and there are no questions about their supremacy.”
The four members have "a combined fortune" of $62 million, according to a South China Morning Post report last June. The members "work with Celine, Prada, Bvlgari, Dior and MAC, raking in millions from Instagram and their music too.”
The band's latest world tour series, "Born Pink World Tour," has sold 1.5 million tickets worldwide and is expected to generate around 180 billion won in total when calculated by the average ticket price of 120,000 won each. Added with annual album sales of 2.82 million copies in 2022, YouTube revenue and commercial deals, the quote is likely to continue to rise. (2022.09.24)
What contributed to Blackpink’s enormous success?
Many things have contributed to the band's popularity — bandmates' talents, quality music, international fanbase and more. But most importantly, a band's reputation usually corresponds to the size and power of the agency they debut under. Armed with the cash and network of Korea's then-third-largest entertainment company, Blackpink topped the charts and stormed the music scene right after its debut. As critic Cha Woo-jin said, "In K-pop, a band is never described without the agency.”
Blackpink is considered a leading example of a third-generation K-pop girl group, having debuted in the same year as girl groups WJSN, also known as Cosmic Girls, gugudan, Momoland and Pristin and boy bands NCT, SF9, Pentagon, Astro, KNK and Victon.
Third-generation bands typically refer to bands that debuted in the mid-2010s before or around the same time as cable channel Mnet's four seasons of the "Produce" audition program franchise that ran from 2016 to 2019.
Why is the band known for its “slow comebacks”?
Blackpink has been releasing fewer albums and songs compared to other K-pop bands that often drop new music every few months.
With the exception of 2016, when it dropped another track, "Playing with Fire," in November of that year and 2020, when it rolled out "The Album" and two collaborations with pop artists — "Sour Candy" with Lady Gaga and "Ice Cream" with Selena Gomez —, Blackpink has only come back once a year. There was no new music in 2021.
The number is much smaller compared to other girl groups in K-pop, such as Red Velvet's three EPs last year, Twice's one Korean album, two Japanese albums and an EP from its member Nayeon and (G) I-DLE's two albums.