Even if you’re not a huge fan of South Korean pop culture, you must have heard of Korean boy groups like BTS or EXO.
These boy bands are such a huge part of Hallyu culture. It’s amazing to see how music transcends boundaries because these Korean boy groups have fans even in western countries.
You can teenagers, and who am I kidding, a lot of other age groups bopping to the latest BTS tracks even if they don’t understand what the heck are the songs saying!
These Korean boy groups have also collaborated with popular western artists like Justin Bieber, Sia, and Lil Nas X.
If you want to know more about the Korean pop music scene, here is a list of Korean boy groups who are beloved not just in Seoul, but in cities all over the world.
Related: List of Korean Girl Groups
Korean Boy Groups 2021
Names of Members: Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook
Top Songs: Dynamite, Butter
Years Active: 2013–present
Name of Recording Label/Production Company: Big Hit Entertainment, Pony Canyon, Def Jam (in Japan), Columbia (in USA)
Perhaps the most famous among this list of Korean boy groups, BTS have made a name for themselves in not just South Korea but in the American music scene as well.
Did you know that they are the first Korean band to perform at the American Music Awards? They are also the first to win a Billboard Music Award. Cool right?
They have a very dedicated fan following who call themselves the “BTS Army” and run many blog posts and fan accounts to praise their “idols”.
Their list of achievements doesn’t end there. They have interesting milestones to their name. Such as being the most tweeted about celebrities in 2017 and the first Korean band to reach a billion followers on twitter.
BTS, short for Bangtan Boys, have also collaborated with several western artists like Justin Beiber, Jason Derulo (for a version of Savage Love), and Lil Nas X (for a version of Old Town Road).
Names of Members: Xiumin, Suho, Lay, Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai, Sehun
Top Songs: Love Me Right, Sing For You, Unfair
Years Active: 2012–present
Name of Recording Label/Production Company: SM, Avex
Exo was originally formed in 2011 by SM Entertainment and introduced in 2012. There are two subdivisions of this group.
Exo-K which focus on singing in the Korean language and Exo-M which sing in Mandarin.
Their first album XOXO was released in 2013 and sold over one million copies. It was also lauded by music critics.
Exo have been named the most influential celebrities in South Korea by the Forbes magazine in the years 2014 and 2015.
They have done several endorsement deals, including with Samsung. This K-pop band also supports a charity called Smile For You which is part of a project by their label SM Entertainment.
Names of Members: Kang Daniel, Lee Dae-hwi, Kim Jae-hwan, Ong Seong-wu, Park Woo-jin, Lai Kuan-lin, Yoon Ji-sung, Park Ji-hoon, Bae Jin-young, Hwang Min-hyun and Ha Sung-woon
Top Songs: Spring’s Breeze, Light, Energetic
Years Active: 2017-2019
Name of Recording Label/Production Company: YMC, Stone Music, Swing
Like some of their western counterparts like One Direction and Fifth Harmony, Wanna One too is a result of a reality show.
They were formed during the second season of Produce 101 by CJ E&M in the year 2017. They instantly shot to fame and were even named the best K-pop Act in the same year
After a last concert in January of 2019, the group disbanded as their contract was over. The members now plan to focus on their individual careers.
While they were together, Wanna One made waves with their music which was a fusion of electric and pop. They were also known for their stylized dance moves.
Names of Members: Taeyong, Doyoung, Ten, Jaehyun, and Mark
Top Songs: The 7th Sense
Years Active: 2016-Present
Name of Recording Label/Production Company: SM, Avex Trax, Capitol
NCT (short for Neo Culture Technology) is not a single band, it’s multiple Korean boy groups under one unit.
The record label introduced the first unit, NCT-U in April 2016, NCT-127 appeared later, along with NCT Dream and NCT Hollywood which is their overseas branch.
Totally there are about 21 members in NCT all together!
Names of Members: Yugyeom, BamBam, Jay B, Mark, Jackson, Jinyoung, and Youngjae
Top Songs: Not By The Moon, Just Right
Years Active: 2012-Present
Name of Recording Label/Production Company: Universal Music Group, Epic JYP
Got7 is truly more of a multinational boy group, but they’re backed by a South Korean label. Their members come from various parts of Asia like Thailand, Hong Kong, USA, and of course South Korea.
They started off in the Japanese market by releasing the song Around the World. But their 2014 mini album called “Got It?” brought them fame in Korea.
Names of Members: Jeonghan, S.Coups, Joshua,Hoshi, Jun, Wonwoo, DK, Mingyu, Woozi The8, Seungkwan, Dino, and Vernon.
Top Songs: Anyone, Not Alone, Left & Right
Years Active: 2015-Present
Name of Recording Label/Production Company: Pledis, Geffen Records, Universal
If you’re confused as to why a group with only thirteen members is called “Seventeen” than let me tell you that this has nothing to do with the number of boys in this band.
Seventeen refers to the median age of all the members in the band during the time of the band’s formation. Interesting right?
Unlike most Korean boy groups, Seventeen is actively involved in songwriting, choreography, and music production. So fans sometimes call them a “self-producing group”.
Names of Members: Wonho, Shownu, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Joohoney and I.M
Top Songs: Gambler, Shootout, X, FANTASIA
Years Active: 2015-Present
Name of Recording Label/Production Company:
Like Wanna One, Monsta X too were formed as a part of a reality survival show called No Mercy.
The group consists of seven members and was formed by Starship Entertainment and debuted in 2015 with an album called “Trespass”.
Since their conception Monsta X have won several accolades. Three of their albums were certified platinum and four Japanese singles certified gold.
In 2020, their English-language album called All About Luv debuted Number Five on Billboard Top 100 in the USA.
Names of Members: Han, Hyunjin, Lee Know, Seungmin, I.N, Changbin, Woojin, Bang Chan
Top Songs: My Pace, God’s Door, Get Cool
Years Active: 2017 –present
Name of Recording Label/Production Company: JYP Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Epic JYP, Epic Records Japan
Another among the list of Korean boy groups who’ve been found through a reality TV show, Stray Kids were the winners of the show of the same name.
The band has a chill, carefree image and consists of nine members. Stray Kids debuted in 2017 with the release of an extended play called “Mixtape”.
They are set to release an album called Noeasy in August of 2021.
Names of Members: Jinwoo, Seunghoon, Mino and Seungyoon
Top Songs: Empty, Ah Yeah!
Years Active: 2013 –present
Name of Recording Label/Production Company: YG
WINNER was also formed through a reality show that pitted two groups against one another with fans deciding the “winner” judging them on basis of choreography, songwriting, performance, etc.
They quickly shot to fame in 2014 after releasing their studio album called 2014 S/S. So great was their success, media outlets have dubbed them “Monster Rookies”.
WINNER is also a “self producing group” with the four band members having an active role in music producing, songwriting, and choreography.
Names of Members: MJ, Jinjin, Cha Eun-woo, Moon Bin, Rocky and Yoon San-ha
Top Songs: Baby Knock Confession
Years Active: 2016-Present
Name of Recording Label/Production Company: Fantagio, Universal Japan
Astro debuted in the year 2016 with a chart-smashing single Hide & Seek from their EP Spring Up.
This six member boy group was also named the best debut K-pop group in the same year.
The talented members of this group don’t limit themselves to singing and performing. They have also appeared in a Korean web series called Two Be Continued.
Astro stared off as iTeen boys, members of special training program called Fantiago iTeen which aims to seek and develop new talent.
They are all set to release a new EP called Autumn Story in the November of this year.
Names of Members: Bobby, Jinhwan, Ju-ne, Yunhyeong, Donghyuk and Chanwoo
Top Songs: Love Scenario, Killing Me, Why Why Why
Years Active: 2015–present
Name of Recording Label/Production Company: YG, YGEX
iKon is a six member group that debuted in the year 2015 with a studio album called Welcome Back.
The commercial success of the album propelled iKon into instant fame. Three of the singles from Welcome Back sold millions of copies worldwide.
And that was my list of Korean boy groups that are super famous in South Korea right now.
These artists have also managed to build a fan following in other Asian countries like China, Singapore, Japan, India, and China.
In fact, the K-pop craze has spread to European countries and USA as well.
These artists are fondly called “idols” by their followers and are basically worshipped as royalty.
Korean boy groups and Korean girl groups have inspired thousands of teenagers to pursue music and to achieve K-pop level stardom.