As K-pop’s global presence increases, Spotify’s biggest K-pop playlist is getting a name change and high-profile reintroduction.
K-Pop Daebak, which has 3.5 million likes on the platform, will be known as K-Pop ON! (온) beginning on Thursday (Mar. 3). The new name for the playlist, which launched in 2014, represents a shift in listening trends, Kossy Ng, Spotify’s Head Of Music in Asia, tells Billboard.
“K-pop is still daebak, or awesome, but there is so much more to the genre and the culture it has fostered around the world and so the name change reflects that,” says Ng. “K-Pop ON! (온) embodies the idea that ‘K-pop is always on 100 for the whole world.’ The new name is a double-entendre — combining the Korean word ‘온’ meaning ‘100’ or ‘whole,’ with the English word ‘on’ to display the action of ‘turning on,’ a word that’s accessible to many languages around the world.”
Along with the playlist name change, Ng says that this year Spotify will be launching “original content that pulls back the curtain on fans’ favorite artists and songs” in K-pop. There will also be new discovery tools for K-pop listeners, and industry and non-industry partnerships. According to Spotify, the playlist averages 6 million first time listeners per month, and there have been 4.7 million searches for “K-pop” on the platform over the past 90 days.
“As music lovers, we get how exciting the world of K-pop is and what it means to the fans who follow it wholeheartedly,” says Ng. “The K-pop fandom is more than liking a song or following the latest group trends. It’s being passionate and involved, supportive and inclusive. Essentially, it’s being a part of a community.”
To toast the revamped playlist, Spotify is also launching a series of billboards around the world, featuring supergroup NMIXX in Los Angeles; BTS, asepa and NMIXX in New York City; ATEEZ, Red Velvet, NCT Dream and more in South Korea; SEVENTEEN, BLACKPINK and others in Indonesia; BTS, NMIXX and IVE in Japan; and BTS, TWICE and ENHYPEN in Toronto.
Ng hopes that the rebrand is even more inclusive to listeners around the world. “K-pop has exploded into an infectious global phenomenon and is taking over the ‘whole (온) world,” she says. “Every day in the K-pop dreamland, there are new songs, styles and trends, and the K-pop fandom is always-on. With K-Pop ON! (온), you’re not just turning on a playlist, you’re turning on the movement.”