Billions of Online Video Views Prove the World Just Can’t Get Enough of K-Pop

By Bree Brouwer · September 13, 2018

Billions of Online Video Views Prove the World Just Can’t Get Enough of K-Pop

Do you remember the first time you saw PSY’s “Gangnam Style” on YouTube? Whether or not you knew what K-pop (i.e. Korean pop) music was at that point, you probably watched the video when it became an internet sensation in 2012; in just two years, the song became the first video on YouTube to ever reach 2 billion views. In a blog post for the platform’s tenth birthday, YouTube chronicled the then-current 11,000+ years of “Gangnam Style” watch time, which apparently would’ve filled up 50 million regular VHS tapes.

Of course, “Gangnam Style” had monumental influence not just on YouTube itself but on the world’s entire music industry. K-pop videos are now a global phenomenon, a fact Tubular discovered in its State of Online Video Report for Q3 2018 (SOOV). Music videos featuring famous Korean singers and musicians are still some of the most-watched content on YouTube, garnering 4.3 billion views during Q2 2018 alone! A lot of this audience isn’t even coming from Korea; some of the top countries that watch the most K-pop are the United States (at 16.6% of the view share), Thailand (10%), Brazil (7.2%), Philippines (6.4%), and Indonesia (5.5%). So put on your favorite K-pop song, and read on to see what else we discovered about this music genre’s performance on YouTube!

These 5 Channels Attract Billions of Views with K-pop Videos

Call it catchy, call it wacky, call it whatever you want, but K-pop videos hit a serious chord with viewers across the globe. What makes it so appealing? Some people believe a mix of factors such as the costumes and fashion, dance moves, and long years of professional training and preparation on the part of the Korean stars is what draws in audiences by the millions. And many of those factors, especially elements like the bright colors in K-pop set designs and costumes and the engaging choreography segments, lend themselves very well to the visual world of online video.

Now, K-pop videos may not have the same amount of views on YouTube as the insanely-popular Latino music genre, but those 4.3 billion views on K-pop content we mentioned earlier? They helped account for an overall 7% growth rate in views in quarter two of this year. So what channels were YouTube audiences obsessed with watching? Tubular’s Q3 2018 SOOV found five in particular from last quarter which had outstanding views, average 30-day view counts (V30), and higher-than-normal average 30-day engagement rates (ER30):


  • 577 million views from May-June 2018
  • 41.2 million average views per video
  • 23.3 million V30
  • 7x ER30
  • 632 million total views from May 2018 to present

1theK (원더케이)

  • 512 million views from May-June 2018
  • 587K average views per video
  • 376K V30
  • 5.7x ER30
  • 739 million total views from May 2018 to present


  • 460 million views from May-June 2018
  • 57.4 million average views per video
  • 38.2 million V30
  • 10x+ ER30
  • 700 million total views from May 2018 to present


  • 291 million views from May-June 2018
  • 1.7 million average views per video
  • 1.2 million V30
  • 9.4x ER30
  • 439 million total views from May 2018 to present


  • 229 million views from May-June 2018
  • 13.5 million average views per video
  • 7.5 million V30
  • 7x ER30
  • 402 million total views from May 2018 to present

BLΛƆKPIИK is the only eponymous YouTube channel in this list, while the remaining four are overarching music labels and entertainment companies which manage some of South Korea’s most popular bands and musicians. 1thek, SMTOWN, and jypentertainment all maintain a roster of talent, while ibighit is probably most well-known for its two famous clients: solo performer Lee Hyun and the idol-level group BTS.

BTS Has a High-Engagement Home on Twitter

Speaking of BTS, the seven-member male band is making waves on Twitter. Known by many different monikers (Bangtan Boys, Bulletproof Boy Scouts, Beyond the Scene… take your pick!), the band goes by BANGTANTV on Twitter, where it consistently pulls in some of the highest engagement rates of all accounts. For example, in the past 90 days alone across more than 31 million videos uploaded to Twitter, BTS has claimed 29 of the top 30 most-engaged clips on that platform. The clip that attracted the most attention has 2.4 interactions in terms of retweets and favorites!

Our insights on BTS don’t end there. When we ran a search in Tubular’s software for all of the band’s official social video channels, we, of course, found that it pulled in the most views on YouTube (as reflected by the ibighit channel above), but Twitter was still the platform where BTS fans were the most engaged. Based on three years of data, the band has pulled in 378 million total engagements on the tweeting site, which accounts for 45% of its overall engagements across all platforms. Interestingly enough, BANGTANGTV boasts just 652 videos, which is only 9.1% of the band’s total video uploads from the last three years! This goes to show that knowing where your fans prefer to interact is key in growing social verticals as well as creating content tailored for those different platforms.

Based on this information and the trends we discovered in our latest SOOV report, we can only assume K-pop videos will keep going strong on YouTube. People simply can’t get enough of those amazing dance moves, and the epic tunes just want to make you want to sing right along, even if you don’t know Korean.

Make sure you download our Q3 2018 SOOV report if you’re interested in learning about the other trends happening in online video over the next few months. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch “Gangnam Style” for the hundredth time in my life.

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