When you consider we’re in 2013, a look through America’s 10 best-selling K-pop songs has expected and majorly-unexpected inclusions.
Unsurprisingly, PSY leads the count for top-selling K-pop track. But it’s not with his 2013 single “Gentleman,” a top-5 hit on the Hot 100; rather, t’s with with last year’s international smash “Gangnam Style,” which is still selling the Korean rapper loads of singles. The 2012 single also landed at No. 55 on Billboard’s year-end Hot 100 chart. Last year, “Gangnam Style” was at No. 47 on 2012’s year-end chart.
PSY’s slinky follow-up single “Gentleman” is the second-largest-selling K-pop track of 2013. Meanwhile, PSY’s 2010 single “Right Now” — which also boasts a high-energy electronic production similar to “Gangnam Style” — is the eighth biggest-selling K-pop track.
Another surprise comes from the third-biggest seller: “Fantastic Baby” by five-member boy band BIGBANG, which was also released in 2012. “Fantastic Baby” is, perhaps, one of the most accessible K-pop tracks to American listeners, helping it outsell a slew of 2013 releases. Interestingly, the leader of BIGBANG — rapper/singer G-Dragon — did not chart any tracks from this fall’s “Coup D’Etat” album despite collaborations with names like Missy Elliott, Sky Ferreira and Diplo. Still, the release hit No. 182 on the Billboard 200 earlier this year, the only K-pop act in 2013 to enter the Billboard 200.
Behind BIGBANG is Girls’ Generation’s “I Got a Boy.” While the nine-member girl group is popular on its own — a GG splinter group still holds the record for the highest-charting K-pop album on the Billboard 200 — sales may have been spurred after “I Got a Boy” won Video of the Year at the first-ever YouTube Music Awards.
At No. 5 is “Growl” by 12-member boy band EXO. Less than two years after its debut, the group has made waves in the K-pop industry for not only for becoming the year’s biggest-selling act in Korea, but also for impressive visuals like the one-take video for “Growl” along with “Wolf,” the ninth biggest-selling K-pop song in America.
K-pop girl group 2NE1 land at No. 6 with its 2011 single “I Am the Best.” Unlike “Fantastic Baby,” this track isn’t as hard to figure out, following two contestants performing a fierce rendition to the electro-pop track on “So You Think You Can Dance.”
The quartet’s reggae-tinged “Falling in Love” single, 2NE1’s first new release in a year, also rounded out the top 10 at No. 10.
Just behind 2NE1 is the girl group’s leader — rapper/singer CL — with her debut solo track “The Baddest Female.” The hip-hop track was CL’s first foray into solo stardom.
Check out the Top 10 biggest-selling K-pop songs in America below based on Billboard’s year-end World Digital Songs chart. Read weekly updates about the biggest-selling K-pop tracks in America on K-Town’s weekly chart stories.
1. “Gangnam Style” PSY
2. “Gentleman” PSY
3. “Fantastic Baby” BIGBANG
4. “I Got a Boy” Girls’ Generation
5. “Growl” EXO
6. “I Am the Best” 2NE1
7. “The Baddest Female” CL
8. “Right Now” PSY
9. “Wolf” EXO
10. “Falling in Love” 2NE1