December 27, 2023
SEOUL – Rookies who embarked on a new journey as K-pop idols this year wrote many firsts in K-pop history.
Even in the overpopulated industry, the debut acts managed to set the bar high for those following their footsteps by setting new records.
Zerobaseone, a group of nine artists chosen through Mnet’s idol survival program, “Boys Planet,” made its grand debut in July with its first EP, “Youth in the Shade.”
According to local album sales tracker Hanteo Chart, 1.24 million copies of the EP were sold on the first day of its release, making Zerobaseone the first K-pop group to become a million-seller on the day of its debut.
The EP also wrote a new pre-order record by hitting 1.08 million pre-orders just within 13 days of pre-orders opening.
Their success continued with the group’s second EP, “Melting Point,” released in early November. Selling over 1.45 million copies on the day of release, it became the group’s second million-selling album.
Zerobaseone was also recognized as the Best New Male Artist, Worldwide Fan’s Choice, and Favorite New Artist, along with Riize, at the recent 2023 MAMA Awards.
Riize, SM’s first K-pop boy group in seven years, was launched in September with the debut album, “Get a Guitar.”
Their debut single was also released in the US as the group signed on with RCA Records, one of Sony Music’s four flagship labels, which houses renowned artists such as Doja Cat, Justin Timberlake and Khalid.
Riize dropped “Talk Saxy,” a new single, in late October, which topped the iTunes’ Top Songs chart in seven regions and made the Top 10 in 16 other regions.
The dance song won favorable reviews, including on Grammys.com, which touted Riize as “K-pop’s rising star” and described the song as “a hypnotic dance track that adds a level of depth to their sound.”
The single also made it to Rolling Stone magazine’s “All the Songs You Need to Know This Week” list.
A number of girl groups also quickly rose to stardom after their debuts this year.
Kiss of Life, a group of four members from different countries, debuted in July with EP “Kiss of Life,” and rapidly garnered global attention for its unique music style, as well as members’ dancing and vocal talents.
The multinational group was nominated for the Rookie of the Year and for the Artist of the Year awards at the 2023 MAMA Awards, and for the New Artist of the Year at the 2023 Melon Music Awards.
Kiss of Life showed incredible growth in a very short period as its second EP, “Born to be XX,” sold more than 10 times the number of copies its debut album sold, according to Hanteo Chart.
Last but not least is YG Entertainment’s new girl group, Babymonster, which debuted in late November with the release of its digital single, “Batter Up.”
The group’s debut digital single topped iTunes’ Song Chart in 21 countries, according to the agency.
The music video of “Batter Up” surpassed 22.59 million views on YouTube within just 24 hours of its release, making Babymonster the first K-pop act to record such a number of views in a day with the music video of a debut single.
Six-member Babymonster had garnered fans worldwide even before its official debut, as their monthslong evaluation process before debuting as members of YG’s new girl group was shared with the public through YouTube.
Babymonster is YG’s first girl group in seven years since the debut of Blackpink.
This article is part of a series examining the K-pop scene in 2023. — Ed.