Which K-pop groups are the bestsellers of physical albums?

South China Morning Post

Posted at Apr 27 2021 05:45 PM | Updated as of Apr 27 2021 05:46 PM

Which K-pop groups are the bestsellers of physical albums? 1
Blackpink held an online concert, ‘The Show,’ last January 31, 2021. Twitter: @BLACKPINK

Nowadays, it’s quite common for K-pop stars to become “million-album sellers”, or artists who sell over a million physical copies of their physical albums. But only a handful have ever sold more than that.

In recent years, as album sales increase, more artists are joining the multimillion seller club, and some have sold well over 10 million.

For this list, K-pop refers to fan-oriented idol teams produced and managed by entertainment companies; Seo Taiji, DJ Doc, Clon, Roo’ra and other acts from the 1990s are precursors to the modern K-pop industry who also sold millions of albums.

Due to changes in chart-tracking systems over the years, misreporting, and different markets accounting for different modes of sales – as well as ongoing sales, this report is based on estimates and official records of album sales.

From the prototypical K-pop boy band H.O.T to the K-pop kings BTS, here are the multimillion sellers.

More than two million albums sold

While many K-pop acts have sold upwards of a million physical copies, only a handful have sold more than two million.

The K-pop teams that have surpassed this milestone include girl groups IZ*One (2018), Fin.K.L (1998-2005, 2019), S.E.S (1997-2002, 2016-2017), Kara (2007-2016), and Blackpink (2016-), as well as boy bands Shinhwa (1998-), NCT (not including NCT 127, NCT Dream, and WayV-specific albums, 2016 -), Wanna One (2017-2019), Got7 (2014-), and SechsKies (1997-2000, 2016).

More than five million albums sold

Only a handful of girl groups have gained this recognition, and Girls’ Generation (2007-inactive as of 2017), with confirmed sales between five million to 10 million copies sold, join Super Junior (2005-present), g.o.d (1999-2005, 2014-present), H.O.T (1996-2001, 2018-), and Seventeen (2015-present).

Bigbang is generally considered to have sold upwards of four million physical copies, however there are hard-to-confirm reports of their 2016 album MADE selling six million albums in China, a market where K-pop album sales are not always tracked, bringing them close to, potentially into, the 10 million sellers club.

More than 10 million albums sold

Three K-pop acts alone have sold a confirmed amount of albums within the 10-million seller club as of April 26, 2020: TVXQ! (2003-), EXO (2012-), and Twice (2015-).

More than 20 million albums sold

Among K-pop groups, only BTS has sold this many physical copies. Their most recent album, November’s BE, was reported by the South Korean Gaon Chart as selling over 3.5 million copies alone.