The Future of the Fourth Generation of KPOP
Have you heard of the term "KPOP generation"? If not, it is how KPOP fans separate idol groups into their active years in the entertainment industry. There's really no exact way to measure the range of the years between these different generations, but for KPOP fans, it is about how the groups transitioned into a new era.
The first generation leading idol groups and solos were Seo Taiji and Boys, H.O.T., Fly to the Sky, BoA, and Rain. While TVXQ, BigBang, Super Junior, 2NE1, and SNSD led the second generation. And now, the current active or third generation is led by BTS, BLACKPINK, TWICE and EXO. Every era has their distinct characteristics. And now, the question is, "Who will lead the next or fourth generation of KPOP?"
How is the Upcoming Fourth Generation Different from Previous Generations?
A lot of KPOP fans believe that the 4th Gen has not yet arrived. New boy and girl groups that debuted since 2019 are said to be the future of the new generation. NCT, Stray Kids, TXT, Treasure, ATEEX, ITZY, (G)I-DLE, and Everglow are currently rising to follow the footsteps of the groups from the 3rd Gen.
Social Media. These rookie groups easily gained the attention of the world and of course, more international fans. One major reason was the use of social media. People have more means to enter the KPOP community which was very difficult during the 1st to 2nd Gen era.
Numbers. Numbers. Numbers. Another thing, recognition of the new leading groups will more likely be based on numbers. During the 3rd Gen, KPOP fans became obsessed with records: Youtube views, number of Spotify streams, digital and physical sales. Transparency in numbers being talked about a lot on the online KPOP community is an indication of this change.
Music Style. KPOP is not even considered a "genre" anymore because of the transition of music styles through these generations. Observing the newly debuted groups, fans concluded that the 4th Gen groups will be performance-based. There are eras where groups focus on vocals, on the lyrics, and the choreography. But now, they are trying to put quality in all those aspects to produce amazing performances. This is something to watch out for.
What will 4th Gen Contribute to the Industry in the Future?
4th Gen groups like TXT, Stray Kids, NCT, and ITZY have already shown amazing results. But still, the distinction of their generation is still blurry. What will make them unique?
Let us try to make predictions. If they are inspired by the 3rd Gen right before them, the music that they will produce will be more personal. Self-producing idols will be more common in a group. Comeback concepts will include more storylines and urge fans to discuss on social media. Song lyrics will be more about self-expression rather than love songs. And probably, the KPOP recognition will stretch and expand more to the West.
There are a lot of possibilities for this upcoming 4th Gen. It is exciting to watch and see what they will contribute to the future. And it's up to the rookies to show what kind of era they will show to the world.