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[Korea Quiz] K-pop generations

June 12, 2024 - 10:01 By Song Seung-hyun

Find the answer at the bottom.

Some of you might have discovered K-pop only recently, but within the Korean music industry, there is consensus that we are now in the fourth generation of K-pop.

Each generation in the K-pop world is represented by music acts that have defining characteristics diverging from those of their predecessors.

The first generation of K-pop idol groups includes H.O.T., S.E.S., Sechs Kies, Fin.K.L, Shinhwa and g.o.d, which ruled the K-pop scene from the 1990s to the mid-2000s and commanded a massive, mostly local, teen fan base. The unique fan culture characteristic of K-pop, expressed through fan community names, colors and chants, was created during this time. Of these six acts, two -- S.E.S. and Fin.K.L -- are girl groups, while the rest are boy bands.

The second generation refers to bands such as TVXQ, Big Bang, Wonder Girls and Girls' Generation, who emerged around the mid- to late 2000s. Amid the spread of Hallyu or the Korean Wave, they paved the way for K-pop's overseas expansion as a music genre, primarily throughout Asia but also marginally in countries like the US, Australia and Canada.

K-pop’s worldwide popularity was consolidated in the era of third-generation acts, namely EXO, BTS, Twice and Blackpink. BTS, in particular, has reached a level of global dominance that many didn't imagine would be possible for a K-pop group. They have topped charts globally and performed sold-out concerts in the biggest arenas around the world. The third generation differed from previous generations in that they used social media and YouTube as primary means to promote themselves, rather than relying solely on traditional media.

That brings us to today, the fourth generation, exemplified by girl groups like NewJeans, aespa and Le Sserafim, which were born after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Compared to third-generation acts, who needed four to five years to build a global fan base, these fourth-generation groups are becoming global stars immediately upon debuting.

Answer: (d)

Korea Quiz