TXT in their first group photo released by Bighit Entertainment

Who are the leaders of K-pop's 4th generation?

The fourth generation of K-pop has already started.  The groups that debuted after 2017 such as TXT and ITZY  are dominating the K-pop industry. Do you want to know which groups are leading the 4th generation? Keep reading to find out!  

  • The K-pop genre started in 1992 with the formation of the group Seo Taiji and Boys.
  • There are currently over 100 active K-pop groups in South Korea only. 
  • The 4th generation of K-pop is lead by TXT and ITZY. 

1) Tomorrow X Together 

TXT in the photo released for their 'Way Home' music video

TXT debuted on March 4, 2019, with the mini-album 'The Dream Chapter: Star'. After their debut, the band had instant success as they received the 'Rookie of the year' award at all major Korean award shows. Within two years since their debut, the band is already dominating the K-pop scene with impressive streams and album sales. Their latest album, 'The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE', received 700k preorders in just a month. The album placed at No. 5 on Billboard's Top 200 Album chart making TXT the third K-pop band to have two albums in one year on Billboard 200. This isn't the end of their achievements; the band has a big fanbase. As of July 2021, they have 10 million followers on Tiktok, 8 million on Instagram, and 8.4 million on Twitter. 

2) Stray Kids

Stray Kids in the November 2020 issue of the CUT magazine

Stray Kids debuted in 2017 through a reality TV show with the same name. They are one of the most prominent groups to emerge from the 4th generation of K-Pop. The band has a solid fanbase and high streaming numbers on both Korean and Western charts. They also have numerous significant awards such as 'Best New Male Artist' (2018), 'Rookie of the Year' (2018), and 'Best Korean Act' (2020) under their belt. Stray Kids is also the most Googled 4th generation K-pop group as of June 2021. They currently have 14.2M followers on Instagram, 5.8M on Tiktok, and 5.6M on Twitter

3) ITZY

ITZY in teaser photo for 'Wannabe' music video

Itzy debuted in 2019 with their single album 'IT'z Different' under JYP Entertainment. Their popularity skyrocketed in Korea and the rest of the world, allowing them to win all of the important 'Rookie of the Year' awards in 2020. The girl group made history by winning 14 rookie awards, making them the group with the most ROTY awards of all time. On Google, they are the most popular 4th generation Korean girl group. ITZY has accumulated 10.5 followers on Instagram, 4.2M on Tiktok, and 3.3M on Twitter as of June 2021.

4) ATEEZ 

Ateez in teaser photo for album 'Zero: FEVER Part 2'

ATEEZ debuted in 2018 with their EP "Treasure: EP.1: All to Zero". Despite coming from a company that is not a part of the 'Big 3', they have reached massive success. The band has been named '4th Generation Leaders' by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and is the official global ambassador for Korean culture and tourism. ATEEZ, with its wide variety of unique sounds, catered to international K-pop fans and the fans embraced them. The band currently 4.7M followers on Instagram, 2.5M followers on Twitter, and 2.1M followers on Tiktok.

5) LOONA

Loona in preview photo for mini album '&'

LOONA officially debuted in August 2018 with their lead single called 'favOriTe'. The band is wildly popular internationally for its unique concepts and music. Their fourth album '&' ranked first on the iTunes album charts in 31 regions worldwide and ranked first on the global album charts. With four albums topping the worldwide iTunes Album chart, LOONA has become the only fourth-generation girl group with the most No. 1s. The girl group was also named ambassadors of Korean culture abroad by South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. Additionally, LOONA has amassed 1.8M followers on Instagram, 770k on Titkok, and 760k on Twitter

Conclusion

TXT and ITZY source: Koreaboo

While groups like ATEEZ and LOONA are more popular in Western countries, groups like TXT, Stray Kids, and ITZY are equally popular both in Korea and the west. They have bigger Korean fanbases as their style of music and concepts appeal more to a Korean audience than a western one making them more popular than the rest. Overall, all of these groups are highly successful, and they will continue to lead the 4th generation of K-pop in the future. We are excited to see their growth in the coming years!

Do you agree with this list of K-pop idols who are leading the 4th generation? Let us know in the comments below!

Estefanía Martínez

K-pop enthusiast, you too? Well, hello there, best friend! Follow me for all the awesome updates in the k-world.+ info

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