Top 10 Best Selling South Korean Bands Of All Time

BTS and EXO are two of the ten best selling K-pop groups right now
BTS and EXO are two of the ten best selling K-pop groups right now( Source : instagram )

Best selling South Korean band includes 1. BTS 2. EXO 3. Black Pink and more. K-Pop is growing globally and these bands are one of the reasons for it.

With acts such as BTS crossing over into the western world, especially America, K-pop has not only become the hot new thing but a legitimate musical genre. Not just in the west, fans of K-pop presently exist in almost all corners of the world.

Fame and success are hard to calculate by themselves, so the next best thing is to collate them by album sales. The bands on this list are some of the highest-selling bands in South Korea, with those near the top of the list showing numbers that rival some of the heavy hitters in international musical artists.

So, here is a list of the ten best selling South Korean band as of 2023.

Best Selling South Korean Band With Their Album Sales Record

10. Wanna One3.6 Million
9. Super Junior4.5 Million
8. GOT75.8 Million
7. TXT6 Million
6. Stray Kids9.4 Million
5. TWICE10 Million
4. Seventeen13 Million
3. EXO14 Million
2. NCT24 Million
1. BTS34 Million

10. Wanna One

The eleven members of Wanna One on the cover of the album, Power of Destiny
The eleven members of Wanna One on the cover of the album, Power of Destiny( Source : instagram )

Best selling South Korean band Wanna One has sold over 3.6 million albums.

What sets them apart from other artists on this list is that they are disbanded.

The band was made up of eleven members with Yoon Ji Sung, the leader, and Park Ji-Hoon, Lee Dae-hwi, Kim Jae-hwan, Kang Daniel, Ong Seong-wu, Park Woo-jin, Lai Kuan-lin, Hwang Min-Hyun, Ha Sung-Woon, and Bae Jin-young.

Their debut took place on August 7, 2017, and they were represented by Swing Entertainment and CJ E&M.

The formation of the band took place on the second season of Produce 101, a competition series where 101 trainees from over 54 companies would showcase their skills. Then, the public would vote on 11 of them to make the band. 

However, the members of the band were already active in the entertainment industries, with some like Park Ji-Hoon, having been an actor, and Hwang Min-Hyun, having been a part of another group previously called NU'EST.

The group was only active from 2017 to 2019, with a short reunion sans Lai Kuan-lin for a couple of concerts in 2021 and 2022. They also only released one album, Power of Destiny, in 2018, which makes their placement on this list even more impressive.

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9. Super Junior

The eight active members of Super Junior in matching outfits in Lima
The eight active members of Super Junior in matching outfits in Lima( Source : instagram )

K-pop group Super Junior has sold over 4.5 million albums. A part of the second generation of K-pop groups, they are the oldest band on this list.

Formed in 2005, the group currently comprises the following members: Leeteuk, Yesung, Heechul, Shindong, Eunhyuk, Siwon, Donghae, Ryeowook, Kyuhyun, and Sungmin, though Sungmin has been inactive since 2015.

They have three past members, Han Geng, Kangin, and Kibum, who left the group in 2011, 2019, and 2015 respectively.

The group was initially conceived and formed as a 12-piece boy band with rotational members by Lee Soo-man of SM Entertainment. However, within a year, the concept was canceled and the group became a conventional boy band.

They have been called the King of Hallyu or Korean Wave, due to their contributions to the spread of Korean culture, which is colloquially called the Korean Wave. Their discography consists of over 12 studio albums in Korean spanning from 2005 to 2023 and two albums in Japanese. 

Due to the success of the main band, Super Junior has also spun off into various subunits called Super Junior-K.R.Y, Super Junior-T, Super Junior-M, Super Junior-H, and Super Junior-D&E. Each of these groups consists of different members of the main band specializing in a sub-genre of Korean music.

8. GOT7

The seven members of GOT7 back in 2020
The seven members of GOT7 back in 2020( Source : facebook )

GOT7 has sold over 5.8 million albums as of the writing of this article. They are especially famous for their dancing, which consists of martial arts.

The band was officially formed on January 1, 2014, through JYP Entertainment and consists of seven members. The seven members are Jay B, the leader, and Jackson, Mark, Youngjae, Jinyoung, Yugyeom, and Bam Bam.

The makings of the band were in process since 2009 and each of the members was painstakingly auditioned and scouted from diverse places like Los Angeles and Bangkok. They had their official debut in January 2014 with an EP called Got It? which was an immediate success. 

Since then the band has gone on to release five albums from 2014 with Identity to 2020 with Breath of Love: Last Piece. GOT7 is however known more for their EPs as they have released over 16 of them, with their most recent one, a self-titled release, coming out on May 23, 2022, to much success.

What sets them apart from most other groups on this list is that they are still successful despite leaving their agency, JYP Entertainment. They have since started working with Warner Music, Korea, seamlessly carrying over their massive fanbase.

7. TXT

Tomorrow X Together is the newest debuted group on the list
Tomorrow X Together is the newest debuted group on the list( Source : instagram )

TXT or Tomorrow X Together has sold over 6 million albums worldwide. Despite only debuting in 2019, they are wildly successful in album sales.

Debuting on March 4, 2019, through Big Hit Entertainment, the same group that backs BTS, TXT consists of five members Soobin, the leader, and Hunening Kai, Taehyun, Beomguye, and Yeonjun. Due to being the youngest on this list, TXT has experimented with wildly varied genres to set itself apart.

They debuted with an EP called The Dream Chapter: Star, and the EP and its lead single made history. The former by debuting at number 140 on the Billboard 200, the highest by any male K-pop group's debut, and the latter by debuting at number 1 on Billboard's World Digital Songs chart, the fastest a K-pop group had appeared on the chart.

The group saw commercial success right out the gate, and many started claiming them to be the successors and the second coming of BTS. To curtail these comparisons, the group has cut its teeth on a more pop-rock/pop-punk style when it comes to their recent music.

6. Stray Kids

The eight members of Stray Kids in matching black and purple outfits
The eight members of Stray Kids in matching black and purple outfits( Source : facebook )

Stray Kids is a K-pop group that has sold over 9.4 million albums. They are the only band, aside from BTS, to have a triple million-selling album.

The group's inception has a lot of similarities with previous entries on this list as like GOT7, they were formed by JYP Entertainment, to whom they are still signed. Also, like Wanna One, their formation came through a reality show of the same name as the band.

Stray Kids consists of eight members with specific roles: Bang Chan, the leader, and Changbin, Lee Know, Hyunjin, Felix, Han, I.N, and Seungmin. The group originally had nine members, but Woojin, a vocalist, left in 2019.

Aside from Bang Chan, who is something of an all-rounder, each member has a set role or roles revolving around rapping, singing, dancing, and producing within the band. For example, Seungmin and I.N are vocalists while Hyunjin and Felix are rappers and dancers, Han is a rapper, vocalist, and producer, Changbin is a rapper and producer and lastly, Lee Know is a dancer and vocalist. 

Of the members, Bang Chan, Changbin, and Han write and produce all of the band's music, and are credited as the first three songwriters of almost all of their releases. Of the three, Bang Chan also works on the arrangements.


TWICE in a collaboration photoshoot with Pearly Gates
TWICE in a collaboration photoshoot with Pearly Gates( Source : facebook )

TWICE is an all-female K-pop group that has sold over 10 million albums. They are the only female group on this list.

Formed by JYP Entertainment in 2015, the group consists of nine members including Jihyo, the leader, and Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu. Like Like Stray Kids, various members of the band split responsibilities over dancing, singing, and rapping.

As the best-selling girl group in K-pop, TWICE has achieved much commercial success in terms of album sales, awards, and setting records. Within nine months of their debut, their four EPS and a special album had sold over 1.2 million units. 

They are also the first Korean girl group to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. In recent years, the group has started pushing for success in the west, especially in America, with two songs already charting on the Billboard Hot 100. 

They have also charted three EPs and five albums on the Billboard 200 album charts with their most recent album, Formula of Love: O+T=<3, and most recent EP, Between 1&2: 11th Mini Album, peaking at number 3 and spending 8 weeks on the chart.

4. Seventeen

All thirteen members of the K-pop boyband Seventeen
All thirteen members of the K-pop boyband Seventeen( Source : facebook )

Seventeen is a boy band from South Korea that has sold over 13 million albums. They are the second band after BTS to sell over 2 million an album.

The band is quite famous for their different approach to their music as they have dubbed themselves a self-producing idol group. This means that the band writes and produces their own songs as well as choreographs all of their dance moves.

The band consists of thirteen members split into three categories known as the Hip-hop team, Vocal team, and Performance team. The Hip-hop team consists of S. Coups, the group and hip-hop unit leader, and Wonwoo, Vernon, and Mingyu. 

The vocal team consists of Woozi, the vocal unit leader, and Seungkwan, Dokyeom, Joshua, and Jeonghan. Lastly, the performance team consists of Hoshi, the performance unit leader, and Dino, The8, and Jun.

From the performance unit, Jun and The8 also provide vocals, while Dino and Hoshi provide vocals and rap too. Due to their success, the band also has a subunit called Seventeen BSS established on March 21, 2018, consisting of Dokyeom, Seungkwan, and Hoshi, which has recently become active again as of February 2023.

3. EXO

The members of EXO with Christmas gifts their fans sent them
The members of EXO with Christmas gifts their fans sent them( Source : facebook )

EXO is a South Korean/Chinese K-pop group that has sold over 14 million albums. They are prominent for singing in Korean, Japanese, and Mandarin.

Debuting in 2012 with twelve members originally, the band currently consists of nine members: Sehun, Kai, D.O., Chen, Chanyeol, Baekhyun, Lay, Suho, and Xiumin. The three former members of the band are Luhan, Kris, and Tao, who left the band in 2014 and 2015 due to legal battles with their label, SM Entertainment.

The group originally debuted as two groups of six members each called EXO-K and EXO-M. EXO-K consisted of Suho, Sehun, Kai, Baekhyun, Chanyeol, and D.O., and performed in Korean while EXO-M consisted of Xiumin, Tao, Lay, Luhan, Chen, and Kris, and performed in Mandarin.

However, following the departure of the three members, the group has been performing as one unit. They have released over seven albums in total with four albums, XO (2013), Exodus (2015), Ex'Act (2016), and The War (2017) being Korean and Chinese albums, two albums, Don't Mess Up My Tempo (2018), and Obsession (2019), being Korean-exclusive albums, and Countdown (2018) being their only Japanese album. 

2. NCT

All 23 members of NCT together. The group has four different subgroups.
All 23 members of NCT together. The group has four different subgroups.( Source : facebook )

NCT is a Korean supergroup with four sub-units that have sold over  24 million albums. They are currently the second highest-selling K-pop group.

The group has over 23 members in total, with the full group being known as NCT U. The members of the group are Taeyoung, the team leader, and Taeil, Doyoung, Ten, Jaehyun, Mark, Yuta, Winwin, Haechan, Renjun, Jeno, Jaemin, Chenle, Jisung, Johnny, Jungwoo, Lucas, Kun, Xiaojun, Hendery, Yangyang, Shotaro, and Sungchan.

The first subgroup of the band is NCT 127 which consists of Taeyoung, who is also the leader of this subgroup, and Taeil, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Mark, Yuta, Winin, Haechan, Johnny, and Jungwoo. This subgroup's music is more geared toward Hip-Hop and R&B.

The second subgroup of the band is NCT Dream, which consists of Mark, the team leader, and Haechan, Renjun, Jeno, Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung. Originally thought up as the group's teen subunit, their music can be seen as more teen-centric than the other groups.

The third subgroup of the band is WayV, which is the Chinese subunit of the group. It consists of Kun, the team leader, and Ten, Winwin, Lucas, Xiaojun, Hendery, and Yangyang.

Lastly, there is a new subunit coming out called NCT Tokyo, which will contain Shotaro and Sungchan. It is yet to be announced.

1. BTS

BTS is the highest selling K-pop group of all time in South Korea
BTS is the highest selling K-pop group of all time in South Korea ( Source : instagram )

BTS is currently the highest-selling K-pop group with over 34 million records sold. They are also the most influential K-pop group of all time.

Originally a hip-hop group, BTS has since evolved into a band spanning various genres from pop, Hip-Hop, R&B, and even EDM. They debuted in 2013 under Big Hit Entertainment and consist of seven members who each co-write and co-produce the majority of the band's material.

The members of the band are RM, the leader, and Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. Of the members, RM, Suga, and J-Hope are rappers while Jin, Jimin, V, and Jungkook are singers.

Already a cultural institution in Korea, the band has seen wild success in America too. Though not the first K-pop group to see success in the west, BTS's success far eclipses any that came before them.

The group has charted 26 songs on the Hot 100 with 10 of them being Top 10 hits and 6 among the 10 topping the charts. Their song, Dynamite, spent over 32 weeks on the charts, and their song, Butter, spent 10 weeks as number 1.

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