South Korean Music Sales Exploded During the First Half of 2022

Written by on December 20, 2022

South Korean music sales

Photo Credit: Louie Nicolo Nimor

South Korean music sales exploded by 31.7 percent during the first half of 2022, the Korean creative content agency reveals — behind only film, pulling ahead of all other forms of entertainment (comics, games, broadcasting, publishing, and animation). 

Korean Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) published its report for 2022’s first half, revealing incredible growth in South Korea’s music industry. Revenues grew by 31.7% year-on-year, behind only films, where sales increased 58.1%.

Additionally, music export revenues increased 26.2% year-on-year thanks to K-Pop’s continued international success with artists such as BTS and Blackpink. The Korean entertainment sector as a whole has experienced tremendous growth in the first half of 2022, with fans eager to return to movie theaters and live performances.

While KOCCA’s report only covers the first half of 2022, some of BTS’ most significant accomplishments for the year occurred later, which speaks to the group’s staying power. They were the IFPI’s Global Recording Artist of the Year in 2020 and 2021, and the June 2022 release of their album Proof brought the already-successful group even more acclaim. Their live-streamed concert in Busan attracted more than 49 million viewers in October.

2022 has also been a banner year for Blackpink, whose international success has indeed rocketed them to the top of South Korean pop stars. They became the first music artist to reach 75 million YouTube subscribers, and both they and BTS held official YouTube Shorts challenges to encourage fan participation.

K-Pop has seen such success globally, thanks largely to the prevalence of streaming, enabling groups to cast a wider net and gain more fans in the West. But physical album sales for the genre have been similarly impressive.

Researchers at South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Securities claim that in May alone, nearly 10 million K-Pop albums were sold. Notably, 48% of those were artists signed under Hybe, including Seventeen and TXT, who had just released new albums that month and accounted for a large portion of the sales.

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