K-pop is taking the world by stormm but just who are the richest k-pop groups in the world, many have come to ask due to the rapid success of the industry. In the world of music, K-pop is something like an urban legend. It has evolved to become the best export of Korea and is one of the most lucrative industries in the world. The buzz is true, with global brands like Hyundai and Samsung reaching out to K-pop groups and superstars. K-pop has been edging its way into the American sales chart, featuring and competing against established acts like Drake, The Weeknd, and Diplo.
In 2019, Money.com was able to reach out to music journalists and Billboard K-pop writer Jeff Benjamin. The ranking of the several K-pop groups was done based on their various income streams, album sales, and available numbers released by the management of these groups. These are the 7 richest K-pop groups in no particular order.
7 Richest K-Pop Groups In The World
1. Wanna One
Although they were officially separated at the start of 2018, Wanna One made their joint moment in the spotlight lucrative with good sponsorship deals and huge revenue. Their first solo album 1¹¹=1 (Power of Destiny) achieved the highest success in 2018, shipping 438,000 physical copies in its first week. Wanna One’s showcase income raked in $2 Million alone. Their album sales in South Korea came out close to $10 Million and $6 Million more from advertisements as well.
Despite the name, Seventeen is a boy band with 13 members who have gone past selling music. They also entered the all-important beauty sector, becoming ambassadors of the makeup company Saem. However, they gained ground outside their country. Their Japanese debut ended up hitting the top of the country’s regular album charts in 2018. They’ve also toured extensively. They are ranked among the seven highest-earning k-pop groups of all time.
Pronounced “XO,” EXO makes money selling albums. Their very high sales of records have promoted them all over the world. One of the richest K-pop groups, they have Korean and Chinese representatives, and they sing in both Korean and Mandarin. Their net valuation as a band is seen as being approximately $858 million, far more than the net worth of America’s One Direction. Their net worth comes mainly from songs, gigs, sales, CFs, royalties, and endorsements.
Although they don’t sell as well as they used to, TVXQ’s ability to enter into Asia’s vast touring market has allowed them to keep raking in big bucks. TVXQ is the first foreign band ever to sell so many tickets on a single Japanese tour. They’re the very first Korean male act to dominate the weekly Oricon chart, the Japanese version of the U.S. Billboard weekly chart, with their album Purple Line in 2008.
While Blackpink doesn’t have album sales as strong as other K-pop groups, the girl group tours extensively, and has Western appeal. They went on a tour of America in 2019 that included the all-important stadiums. And their wide-ranging appeal in Japan has only boosted their revenue streams. Each member of Blackpink individually is worth $2 million.
Twice are the reigning queens of K-pop. Their album sales are greater than what other female K-pop groups get and they have won huge endorsement deals, from video games to uniforms to a chicken franchise. Their parent company JYP, founded in 1997 by Korean singer-songwriter Park Jin-young, houses many of Korea’s biggest acts. JYP Entertainment Corp. rose 22 percent on South Korea’s KOSDAQ and reached a market capitalization of 552 billion won (around $516 million).
If you’ve heard of one K-pop group, it’s almost certainly BTS. Their album sales across international music markets speak for themselves: BTS earned the No. 8 position on Billboard’s 2018 Top Artist chart. The total net worth of the BTS is $60 million making them one of the richest k-pop groups. BTS is a very popular band, not only in Korea but also in many other countries as well. Endorsements have also contributed hugely to their wealth. Alongside a sold-out Puma collaboration, the group has a partnership with Hyundai. The automaker has pushed BTS far beyond Asia, tapping them as global brand ambassadors for its new Palisade SUV, with a heart-warming ad about family. Hyundai has reportedly been struggling to keep up with the demand for the car as a result.