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International Playlist #1: Music of Asia

With the current global situation, it’s more important than ever for people to find common ground. Music, a language that transcends cultural and geographical boundaries, can help create stronger bonds between us all. One region that continues to see tremendous success and a growing reach in the global music industry is Asia.

To help everyone expand their musical horizons on a global scale, here’s a brief look into the music of Asia:

South Korea

Popular Music Genres:

  • K-pop (a.k.a. Korean pop music), Hip Hop & Rap, R&B and Soul, Rock

Artist Spotlight – BTS

Quick Facts:

  • Also known as Bangtan Boys or Beyond The Scene
  • 7-member South Korean boy band that debuted in 2013
  • Members often co-write and produce a lot of the group’s music
  • Loyal fans of the group are known as A.R.M.Y.s

Global Achievements:

  • Broke 3 Guinness World Records with their “Boy With Luv” YouTube music video
  • Won the Billboard Music Award for Top Social Artist (2017-2019)
  • Won the Billboard Music Award for Top Duo/Group (2019)
  • Was the first Korean artist to perform at the American Music Awards (2017)
  • Won the award for Favorite Social Artist at the American Music Awards (2018-2019)
  • Won the award for Tour of the Year at the American Music Awards (2019)
  • Performed on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest (2019)
  • Sold out Wembley Stadium (90,000 seats) in London in just 90 minutes (2019)
  • Reached 1 billion views on YouTube for their “DNA” music video (2020)
  • Collaborated with many Western artists including Halsey and The Chainsmokers
  • BTS spoke at the United Nations as part of a UNICEF collaboration with their Love Yourself campaign (2018)
  • BTS is the first group since the Beatles to have 3 No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 within a year
  • BTS broke the online viewership record with their live-streamed concert “Bang Bang Con: The Live” (2020)

> Had $18.1 million in ticket sales

> Reached 756,000 concurrent viewers in 107 countries and territories

Artist Spotlight – NCT 127

Quick Facts:

  • 9-member male K-pop group that debuted in 2016
  • The group’s name stands for Neo Culture Technology with 127 referring to the longitude of Seoul, South Korea where the group is based
  • Members come from countries all around the world (Canada, South Korea, Japan, & the U.S.)
  • Fans of the group are known as NCTzens

Global Achievements:

  • Performed in 11 different countries during their first tour NEO CITY – The Origin (2019)
  • Was the first K-pop group to perform at the MTV Europe Music Awards and the first to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (2019)
  • Was the first K-pop act to ever perform at Rodeo Houston (2020)
  • Had 9 albums rank within various places (three #1 spots) in the top 15 on Billboard’s World Albums chart
  • Peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Artist 100 chart
  • NCT 127’s albums We Are Superhuman and Neo Zone both reached #1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart

Song Recommendations:

  1. Wave” by Ateez
  2. Answer” by Ateez
  3. The Truth Untold” by BTS featuring Steve Aoki
  4. DNA” by BTS
  5. Love Me Now” by NCT 127
  6. Superhuman” by NCT 127
  7. Lucky One” by EXO
  8. UN Village” by Baekhyun
  9. BOOM” by NCT Dream


Popular Music Genres:

  • C-pop (a.k.a. Chinese pop music), Cantopop (a.k.a. Cantonese pop music), Mandopop (a.k.a. Mandarin pop music), Hip Hop, Rock, R&B

Artist Spotlight – WayV

Quick Facts:

  • The 7-member Chinese boy band that debuted in 2019
  • Adopted 2 cats (Louis & Leon) and 1 puppy (Bella)
  • Fans of the group are known as WayZenNis

Global Achievements:

  • First EP, Take Off, peaked at #7 on Billboard’s World Albums chart
  • Second EP, Take Over The Moon, reached #1 on the iTunes Worldwide Album chart and peaked at #12 on Billboard’s World Albums chart
  • First full-length album, Awaken The World, peaked at #9 on Billboard’s World Albums chart
  • WayV peaked at #12 on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart
  • Had 6 of their songs peak at various places (spots #3, 6, 7, 12, 23, & 25) within the top 25 on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart

Artist Spotlight – Kris Wu

Quick Facts:

  • He is Chinese-Canadian
  • Singer, actor, and model
  • Has songs in both Mandarin and English
  • A former member of K-pop band EXO

Global Achievements:

  • Peaked at #5 on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart
  • Collaborated with Travis Scott to create the song “Deserve” which peaked at #12 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales chart
  • Performed at the 2018 Super Bowl LIVE concert in Minneapolis and acted as a Super Bowl LII Ambassador for NFL China

> Was the first Chinese artist to ever perform at a Super Bowl event

  • Won the Fan Fave New Artist award at the 2018 iHeartRadio MMVAs in Canada
  • His album Antares peaked at #31 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart

Song Recommendations:

  1. Electric Hearts” by WayV
  2. Slow Motion” by Lu Han
  3. Come Back” by WayV
  4. Tian Di (天地)” by Kris Wu
  5. After Midnight” by WayV
  6. Freedom (終於了解自由)” by Eric Chou


Popular Music Genres:

  • J-pop (a.k.a. Japanese pop music), Rock, Hip Hop, Jazz

Artist Spotlight – ARASHI

Quick Facts:

  • Debuted in 1999
  • Japanese boy band with 5 members

Global Achievements:

  • Beat Taylor Swift, BTS, Billie Eilish, and Lady Gaga to win The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s (IFPI) Global Album of 2019 award

Artist Spotlight – ONE OK ROCK

Quick Facts:

  • Debuted in 2007
  • Japanese rock band with 4 male members
  • Create music in both Japanese and English

  Global Achievements:

  • Participated in the Vans Warped Tour in 2014 and 2019
  • Performed at the Soundwave music festival in Australia (2015)
  • Toured with All Time Low and 5 Seconds Of Summer (2015, 2016)
  • Won Best Japanese Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards (2016)
  • Was a special guest for the Asia leg of Ed Sheeran’s “Divide Tour” (2019)

Song Recommendations:

  1. Traffic Jam” by SPiCYSOL
  2. 君じゃなきゃダメみたい (It Looks Like It Has To Be You)” by Masayoshi Oishi
  3. I Love…” by Official HIGE DANdism
  4. Giants” by ONE OK ROCK
  5. Hikari” by ARASHI
  6. ツキアカリ (Tsukiakari)” by Sakurako Ohara

Spotify International Playlist #1 – Music of Asia

Samantha Tolley

Hi, I’m Samantha! I am a senior at the University of Alabama majoring in Advertising and this is my first summer being a GirlSpring intern. I’m so excited to be a part of this empowering community and can’t wait for y’all to read my articles! A little bit about me, I love photography, movie marathons, Disney, dogs (I have an English Cream puppy), and everything music (my favorite bands are NCT 127, P!ATD, AC/DC, and Queen).

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  • Ariel Zhou

    This is great! I will definitely check these out 🙂

    July 1, 2020 at 5:21 pm
    • Samantha Tolley

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy them!

      July 15, 2020 at 3:42 pm

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