K-pop exploded onto the global stage about a decade ago, and since then, two consumption formats have helped keep the phenomenon growing everywhere: actual sales and YouTube. The latter platform is where countless millions of fans of the biggest names in the South Korean music industry go to watch (and rewatch and rewatch) the latest and best from their favorite singers and bands…and clearly they love what they’re seeing.
A quick look at any recent list of the most-liked music videos on YouTube shows that people all around the world have diverse tastes in music…but that K-pop fans are more inclined to not just watch a music video from the band they adore, but to like it in massive numbers.
At present, five of the top 10 most-liked music videos on YouTube are by South Korean musical acts, with one toeing the line between band and brand, but the music is sung in Korean.
BTS’s “Dynamite” just recently advanced once again on the all-time list of the clips with the most thumbs-up, and it is currently tied with two other titles for the third-most likes. The disco-pop smash is currently on the same level as both Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and Pinkfong’s “Baby Shark,” which is performed in Korean and which stands out as one of the most successful singles of all time globally in that language…even if many do consider it nothing but a novelty. Those three uploads have all accrued 26 million likes, and “Dynamite” seems poised to be the first to reach 27 million sometime soon.
Further down the list comes…BTS, again, with what could be deemed their breakout single in many Western territories, “Boy With Luv.” The track, which also features American pop singer Halsey, took the septet to new heights just a few years ago, and it has been liked 21 million times thus far.
On the same level as “Boy With Luv” with 21 million thumbs-ups is Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” which helped introduce millions of people in countries outside of South Korea to K-pop back in 2012 when it was perhaps the single most viral video of the year.
It’s been less than a year since it was released, but Blackpink’s “How You Like That” music video already shines as one of the most-liked of all time. The visual, which helped kick off their latest era (which saw them deliver their debut full-length The Album) has been liked 19 million times, and it could soon improve to 20 million.
Sprinkled in between K-pop smashes on the list of the most-liked YouTube videos ever are titles like Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again” (33 million likes), Alan Walker’s “Faded” (22 million likes) and Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” which has risen above all the rest, earning an incredible 43 million likes during its years on the Google-owned website.
In the coming months and years, more K-pop music videos are sure to rack up tens of million of likes, and there’s no telling how long Fonsi and Yankee will hold on to their crown at the rate BTS is proving their immense popularity on YouTube.