SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Yonhap) — K-pop album sales have grown further as new fans of the genre have snatched up old albums in addition to new ones, industry sources said Monday.
K-pop powerhouse SM Entertainment sold 1.64 million copies of old albums by artists, including NCT and EXO, in the second quarter, a large number compared with 4.82 million copies of new albums released this year.
In total, the company sold 93.1 billion won (US$79.4 million) in albums and digital music in the second quarter, up 76 percent from the same period last year.
Choi Min-ha, an analyst with Samsung Securities, attributed the growth to a widening K-pop fan base.
“As artists gain more recognition, there has been a sharp increase in new fans, driving sales of not just new albums but also old ones,” Choi said in a recent report.
Boy band NCT, which has experienced a surge in popularity, has been among the biggest contributors to this trend, accounting for 42 percent of all old album sales.
NCT Dream, a subunit of NCT, earned double million-seller status with its debut studio album “Hot Sauce,” which dropped in May, and million-seller status with its repackaged version.
In addition to the two, the group’s three older albums — “We Boom” (2019), “The First” (2017) and “We Go Up” (2018) — placed in the top 100 on local music tracker Gaon’s charts in the first half of this year.
K-pop sensation BTS took 15 spots on the charts run by the Korea Music Content Association in the same period, with newer releases such as “Love Yourself” (2017-2018) and “Map of the Soul” (2019-2020) as well as older ones, such as the boy band’s 2013 debut single “2 COOL 4 SKOOL.”
Boy band Seventeen and K-pop queen BLACKPINK also made entries with albums released in 2019.
“We’re seeing a ‘backward spillover’ as people who previously didn’t know these artists are now looking up their past music,” Kim Jin-woo, a senior analyst for Gaon, said.
Overseas sales have been a major boost for K-pop album sales, according to Gaon data.
In 2019, 10 million of the total 26 million copies sold were bought overseas. Last year, nearly 26 million of a total 43 million copies were sold abroad, with overseas sales overtaking domestic sales.
And in the first half of this year, more than 16 million of a total 30 million copies were sold abroad, according to Gaon.