Hanteo Has Released Its Top 50 K-Pop Artists For The First Half Of 2021

The #1 artist might surprise you!

The data is clear: The K-Pop industry is rapidly growing, with physical album sales in the music genre higher than ever despite the digital age.

Hanteo has just released its semi-annual summary for the first half of 2021, and along with listing the 50 artists who represented the first half of the year, it also provided some interesting data on K-Pop as a whole!

Even though the global physical album sales industry decreased by 4.7% in 2021 in favor of digital methods of listening to music, such as streaming, the K-Pop industry saw an incredible 34.25% growth in physical album sales in the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of 2020! Or to be exact, 14,454,862 copies sold in the first half of 2020, while 19,405,514 sold in the first half of 2021.

Hanteo charts

Along with this, there has been an increase in the initial chodong (first week of sales after release) sales since last year, both in South Korea as well as internationally. This is an important factor in a K-Pop artist’s success, because not only is it an indicator of the artist’s core fandom, it also is directly related to how well they perform on Hanteo’s (and other) charts.

Hanteo charts

Between the first half of 2020 and 2021, these chodong sales have increased 16.23% overall, with 73% of all total album sales being made within this first week period. And while just three artists  (BTSSEVENTEEN, and Baekhyun) sold over 500k album units in their initial chodong sales for the first half of 2020, five of them (SEVENTEEN, NCT DreamEXO, Baekhyun, and TXT) accomplished this so far in 2021!

Hanteo charts

Finally, the most dramatic increase in K-Pop’s influence can be seen in global physical album sales. Compared to the first half of 2020, there has been a whopping 50.02% increase in global physical album sales in the first half of 2021! While this was likely influenced by the lack of promotions due to the ongoing pandemic that began in 2020, it’s still a massive increase.

Hanteo charts

Along with this data, Hanteo has also released its 50 K-Pop artists that best represent the first half of 2021. The data impacting these choices includes accumulated sales data, initial chodong sales amount data, chart ranking data, music video data, social media channel data, and many others. Here are those top 50 artists!

50. Golden Child

49. DAY6

48. Dreamcatcher

47. B.I

46. Yesung

45. aespa

44. PENTAGON

43. Kang Seungyoon

42. Brave Girls

41. CRAVITY

40. MAMAMOO

39. AB6IX

38. ONF

37. Taemin

36. WEi

35. Jackson Wang

34. HyunA

33. Taeyeon

32. Wendy

31. Joy

30. Lim Youngwoong

29. U-Know

28. BamBam

27. ONEUS

26. NU’EST

25. Stray Kids

24. OH MY GIRL

23. NCT 127

22. (G)I-DLE

21. TREASURE

20. WayV

19. MONSTA X

18. Super Junior

17. Kang Daniel

16. SHINee

15. ITZY

14. ASTRO

13. ATEEZ

12. NCT

11. ENHYPEN

10. TWICE

9. BLACKPINK

8. TXT

7. Rosé

6. IU

5. SEVENTEEN

4. EXO

3. Baekhyun

2. BTS

1. NCT Dream

Source: Hanteo and Image (1), (2) and (3)