In the K-pop industry today, there are three talent agencies considered to be the biggest and the most-influential. The first is SM Entertainment Founded by Lee Soo Man, it is responsible for creating such powerhouse K-pop groups like Super Junior, EXO, and So Nyeo Shi Dae (better known as Girls’ Generation). Second is YG Entertainment. Founded by Yang Hyun Suk, it is known for forming K-pop groups with an edgier kind of sound that includes Big Bang and 2NE1. Finally, there is JYP Entertainment. Founded by J.Y. Park, who likes to be quirky and fun with his music, he trickles such attributes to his other K-pop groups including TWICE, Got7, and Wonder Girls.
The aforementioned three label agencies have their own distinctive features and stand out in ways that make them unique. Being the biggest and most-influential agencies, they should also have the highest number of sales. That was not the case for 2015 as Big Hit Entertainment, the talent agency in which Bangtang Boys or BTS is signed to, outsold both YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment that year.
The news of Big Hit Entertainment actually doing the impossible and outselling two of the biggest talent agencies in the K-pop industry was made known when Korean outlet Instiz released a list of the top selling labels for 2015. Big Hit Entertainment had a grand total of 563,022 albums sold. With that number, they were able to go over YG Entertainment by a little over 20,000 albums sold. By comparison, YG Entertainment had 542,587 albums sold. The margin of difference was much larger between Big Hit Entertainment and JYP Entertainment, as the latter only had over 332,705 albums sold.
As for the rest of the top ten, Soompi translated the details in which FNC Entertainment (F.T. Island, AOA) came in fifth with 324,807 albums sold. Woollim Entertainment (Infinite, Lovelyz) came in sixth with 301,630 albums sold. Jellyfish Entertainment (VIXX) came in at seventh with 280,412 albums sold. CUBE Entertainment (4Minute, BtoB, Apink, B2ST) came in at eighth with 223,280 albums sold. Pledis Entertainment (After School, NU’EST, Seventeen) came in at ninth with 175,522 albums sold. As for everyone else altogether (Source Music, Happy Face Entertainment, Starship Entertainment, etc.), they came in at a total of 1,152,911 albums sold.
The number one spot, however, was taken by SM Entertainment yet again; they counted for almost 50 percent of album sales in the K-pop industry at 3,297,688 albums sold in 2015. A third of those sales are from EXO, the popular K-pop and C-pop boy group has sold 1,205,657 albums as detailed by the Gaon Chart.
What is amazing about Big Hit Entertainment outselling both YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment is the fact they technically only have one K-pop group to their name presently: Bangtan Boys, better known as BTS. That means a K-pop boy group consisting of seven members — Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Rap Monster, Jimin, V, and Jungkook — sold enough albums on their own outselling established K-pop soloists and groups like Big Bang, 2NE1, Psy, miss A, Got7, Day6, Wonder Girls, and TWICE. That is truly an accomplishment.
If one were to really analyze how tantamount BTS and Big Hit Entertainment’s selling feat truly is, BTS specifically outsold some of the biggest names in K-pop. They beat both Girls’ Generation and Taeyeon’s solo sales together (327,624) as well as Super Junior and their subgroup Donghae & Eunhyuk sales together (333,091).
Presently, Big Hit Entertainment is busy with BTS promotions. They recently released BTS’ sixth Japanese single titled “Run,” and they are currently working on their upcoming special album titled The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever, expected for a May 2 release.
[Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]