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Monday, April 15, 2024

TWICE dominates Billboard 10 years after debut: JYP’s triumph following Wonder Girls’ setback

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TWICE hit a career-high with their 13th mini-album “With YOU-th,” released on February 23, which sold more than 1 million copies in the first week of its release. It sold 400,000 more copies than its previous album, marking the group’s first million-selling album sold in a week since its debut.

The album also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (Albums Chart) on March 9, defeating country music singer Morgan Wallen and others. It’s also the first time TWICE has ever debuted at No. 1 on the chart. It’s a significant achievement for JYP Entertainment (TWICE’s management company), which had a bitter taste of entering the U.S. 14 years ago with Wonder Girls.

It is monumental for a girl group with a smaller fanbase and shorter career than a boy group to break records on the world stage in its 10th year since debut. In particular, TWICE swept the Korean music awards in the second year of their debut, and have continued to grow steadily since then, showcasing their strength in the global market.

The members said through their agency, “It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It’s a dream come true, and we’re so happy that it actually happened. It’s our 10th year, and the reason we can achieve new achievements is thanks to our fans (Once).”

The secret to TWICE’s power is teamwork. Compared to other girl groups, TWICE has far fewer individual activities, as member Nayeon went solo for the first time in her eighth year of debut. The members have refrained from solo and unit activities, saying, “We want to do team activities for a long time.”

All of the members have renewed their contracts with their agency in 2022, which is rare for a girl group. Their songs also reflect their trust and support for each other. A typical example is “Feel Special,” released in 2019, in which the members talk about how they helped each other during difficult times.

TWICE’s 13th mini-album “With YOU-th,” their first to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200, highlights the members’ shared joy in moments made brighter by their unity. [Photo by JYP Entertainment]

Their first new song in a year, “With YOU-th,” and the title track, “ONE SPARK,” also express moments when they shined together. Throughout the content, TWICE’s strong bond shines through. Member Jeongyeon said, “The nine of us communicated more than ever before. We took the time to look back on the past from the beginning of our debut to now, and we all worked with great motivation.” Nayeon added, “Looking at the finished product reminds us of our past and makes us feel nostalgic.”

The global personalization strategy also worked. TWICE has been releasing songs with a pop format since the release of their first English single “The Feels” in 2021. On this new album, they released six English versions of their single “I Got You,” including a collaboration with American singer-songwriter Lauv and a speeded-up “Sped Up” version. The title track, “ONE SPARK,” also featured six remixes, including an English version, on an album of the same name. This approach follows pop stars such as Beyoncé and Ariana Grande.

The stadium tour “Ready to be,” which began in April 2023, helped expand TWICE’s global fan base. Their Los Angeles show at SoFi Stadium was sold out in advance, and their New York show at MetLife Stadium was also sold out. The tour will continue in Japan in July. This is the first time a K-pop girl group has ever performed stadium shows in the U.S. and Japan. The tour is scheduled for 42 concerts in 25 cities around the world, with an expected cumulative audience of 1 million people.

“For a group to be active for 10 years without changing members is a remarkable feat in itself,” said Kim Do-hoon, a pop music critic. “As they have established themselves as stadium performers in the U.S., we expect them to continue their strategy of targeting the North American market.”

BY JEEYOUNG HWANG, JUNHAN PARK    [hwang.jeeyoung@joongang.co.kr]