Overflow of New K-pop Rookie Groups: Phenomenon Amidst Industry Shifts

The K-pop industry has seen an unprecedented influx of new talent, with 3 to 4 rookie idol groups debuting each month since the beginning of the year, amounting to around 10 new groups in a few months. This surge in debut activities reflects the competitive industry and growing aspirations of entertainment companies amidst industry shifts.

Last month alone, four rookie girl groups showcased their talents over three consecutive days, signalling a robust entry into the K-pop scene. Notable debuts include ILLIT from BELIFT LAB under HYBE, UNI.T from the “UNIVERSE TICKET” audition program, Candy Shop produced by BRAVE Entertainment, and RESCENE from THE MUZE.

In addition, prominent labels like YG Entertainment recently debuted their rookie girl group BabyMonster, while others like VIVIUP and SPIA made their debut strides, further diversifying the rookie lineup.

TWS (Credits: Pledis Entertainment)

The influx is not limited to girl groups, with several rookie boy groups making waves as well. Notable debuts include TWS from PLEDIS under HYBE, All(H)Ours from EDEN Entertainment, and DXMON, the debut group from SSQ Entertainment.

Despite the multitude of debuts, major agencies continue to dominate the rookie idol market, leveraging their established fandoms, systematic training, and robust financial backing. For instance, BabyMonster quickly garnered a global fandom, thanks in part to fans transitioning from the existing BLACKPINK fandom.

NCT Wish (Credits: SM Entertainment)

The success stories of ILLIT, TWS, and NCT WISH highlight the ripple effect generated by major agency associations, with their debut songs achieving significant chart success both domestically and internationally.

However, concerns persist over the growing focus on overseas markets post-COVID-19, as K-pop consumers with limited spending power make selective choices. This shift may impact ticket sales for overseas performances, signalling potential challenges for aspiring rookie groups.

ILLIT (Credits: BELIFT LAB)

As the rookie idol market continues to evolve, industry stakeholders emphasize the need for sustainable growth strategies that balance global aspirations with domestic market dynamics, ensuring a vibrant and inclusive K-pop world for both established and emerging talent.