Could K-Pop Artists Save Physical Albums Sales? TXT Become the Fifth-Highest Selling Artist in the US in 2021

Could K-Pop Artists Save Physical Albums Sales? TXT Become the Fifth-Highest Selling Artist in the US in 2021

K-Pop Artists Physical Albums Featured Image: @txt_bighit (IG)
“The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE” Promotional Image

Although an arguably dying format for consuming music compared to online streaming platforms like Spotify and iTunes, the sale of physical albums is still used to define the success and popularity of an artist.

While physical album sales have been on a predictable downwards slope, in 2021, despite the on-going pandemic tightening consumer budgets, physical album sales saw an increase for the first time in 17 years!

K-Pop Artists Physical Albums
Image: @spotifykr (IG)
Spotify New York Times Square Billboard Featuring K-Pop girl group aespa

K-Pop Artists & Physical Albums Sales

The top 10 artists to sell the most physical albums in 2021 include three K-Pop ensembles, as well as acclaimed international female solo artists like Taylor Swift, Adele, Olivia Rodrigo, and Carrie Underwood.

How Do K-Pop Artists Sell So Many Physical Albums?

K-Pop is known for its unique ability to sell massive amounts of physical albums because K-Pop albums do not try to compete with online streaming services.

Instead, Korean entertainment companies and music distributors take advantage of the fact that fans will listen to the album online by packaging the physical records with one-of-a-kind photo cards, photo books, and posters, making the purchase attractive to even casual fans.

The members of NCT 127 unboxing their “Sticker” Album

TXT Become the Fifth-Highest Selling Artist in the US in 2021

According to the year-end report put together by MRC Data: in the United States in 2021, TXT, a five-piece K-Pop group under Big Hit Music (HYBE Corp.), sold the fifth most CD records of any artist.

Selling 215,000 physical albums, the members of TXT were also the best-selling K-Pop artists, male artists, and group artists of the year.

TXT in the United States

MRC Data cites this as evidence of the group having “really arrived in America.” Meanwhile, Forbes writes that the sales figures “show that they have truly settled in the U.S. market.”

While members of TXT have been beloved in the States since their 2019 debut, even holding an American showcase tour in the same year, the releases of their most recent and successful album “The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE,” and as its repackaged version “The Chaos Chapter: Fight or Escape,” have made this group one of the top K-Pop groups of the year, conquering international charts and selling thousands records.

K-Pop Artists Physical Albums
Image: @txt_bighit (IG)
Repackaged Album Cover

More About the “The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE” record

Following the incredible 13-week run on the Billboard 200, the title track of “The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE” was named by the platform as one of the top K-Pop songs of the year.

The track, “0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You),” featuring Korean indie/R&B vocalist Seori and penned in part by RM of BTS, was praised by fans for spotlighting the members of TXT’s famous versatility, as the song embraces elements of punk-pop and a grittier aesthetic.

As a result, “0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You)” has continued to find success throughout the year, becoming one of the group’s most popular songs in their diverse discography.

The success of TXT’s physical album sales in the United States signals their incredible global popularity and future as worldwide artists. Furthermore, TXT’s entry into the list also demonstrates the future longevity of K-Pop as a global genre, as more Korean artists become top-selling international musicians.

K-Pop Artists Physical Albums
Image: @txt_bighit (IG)
“The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE” Promotional Image

Other K-Pop Artists and more Physical Album Sales

In addition to TXT, the members of NCT 127, a nine-membered sub-unit under SM Entertainment, were the second-best-selling male artists and group artists in the United States, with their album “Sticker,” selling 211,000 copies.

Despite not releasing any qualifying albums, global supergroup BTS took two spots on the top 10 highest-selling artists of 2021 in the United States list. According to the report, the seven-piece group’s 2020 studio album “Map of the Soul: 7” sold 210,000 records. Meanwhile, their 2020 mini-album “BE” sold 187,000.

K-Pop Artists Physical Albums
Image: @bts.bighit (IG)

The Official Top 10 List of Best-Selling Artists with the Most Physical Album Sales in the United States in 2021

Artist
(Listed 1-10th)
AlbumNumber of Physical Album Sales
Adele30898,000
Taylor SwiftFearless (Taylor’s Version)263,000
Taylor SwiftRed (Taylor’s Version)237,000
Carrie UnderwoodMy Savior217,000
TXTThe Chaos Chapter: FREEZE215,000
Taylor SwiftEvermore213,000
NCT 127Sticker211,000
BTSMap of the Soul: 7210,000
Olivia RodrigoSour195,000
BTSBE187,000

The simultaneous incredulous increase of CD sales and the ever-growing success of K-Pop artists might indicate the potential for these groups and other Korean musicians to save the previously disintegrating physical albums industry with their unique approach to record sales.

For more K-Pop news, keep reading here:

Eden McLeod

Hi, Eden here! I am the main writer and publisher at ME Asia. I am a professional writer and blogger. I love creating content that can introduce future fans to incredible artists, actors, and musicians from around the globe!

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