K-pop artists sell over 57million physical albums in 2021

Over 57million physical albums by K-pop artists were sold last year, according to new data from Gaon Chart.

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According to new year-end data published by Gaon Chart – the South Korean equvalent of the Billboard Charts – the Top 400 albums from the country had altogether sold a total of over 57million physical copies globally, per Yonhap News Agency.

The figure is a nearly 37 per cent increase from 2020, where the Top 400 albums moved roughly 41.7million units. South Korean musicians sold 25million physical albums in 2019, and had surpassed the 20million mark for the first time in 2018.


According to industry insiders who spoke to Yonhap, the sharp increase in album sales could be attirubuted to fans who have resorted to purchasing more albums during the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of attending live K-pop concerts and events.

“Physical album sales may slow down slightly if concerts are normalised again, but the upward trend is likely to continue in the medium to long term,” predicted Gaon Chart’s senior researcher Kim Jin-woo.

Yonhap also noted that acts from two particular K-pop labels – HYBE and SM Entertainment – accounted for the bulk of sales. The former, which is home to groups such as BTS and SEVENTEEN, accounted for approximately 33.5 per cent of the sales with 15.23million copies sold.

Meanwhile, industry mainstay SM Entertainment, which represents top K-pop groups such as NCT, aespa, EXO and more, recorded a combined sale of 17.6 million copies across its extensive roster of artists.

In other K-pop news, Korean-American singer-rapper Jay Park is reportedly in the process of launching a new boyband. Industry insiders also claimed that a new boy group will be debuting under a new label from Park.