South Korea Physical Album Sales Hit a Record 115 Million in 2023, Data Shows — With 16 Million Units Moved by Seventeen Alone

south korea album sales
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south korea album sales
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Seventeen (pictured) didn’t quite sell 17 million albums last year. But the K-pop group did come decidedly close to doing so, moving an astonishing 16 million units as calculated by Circle Chart. Photo Credit: Jeon Han

Amid continued growth throughout the K-pop space, physical sales for the top 400 albums in South Korea cracked 115 million last year, according to chart data.

The sizable South Korean album-sales total, fueled by the popularity of CDs as well as vinyl, just recently came to light in a comprehensive Circle Chart breakdown for 2023.

Per Google’s translation of this Korean-language yearend recap, a whopping 26 artists moved at least one million physical albums apiece last year, up from 21 in 2022. Meanwhile, the report shows that Seventeen alone sold a staggering 16.08 million albums on the year, referring specifically to the first through the 50th week thereof.

Of course, we covered the ultra-successful releases of several South Korean artists during 2023, when the likes of Hybe, SM Entertainment, and others posted correspondingly positive financials.

Back to the core Circle Chart stats, South Korea album sales in 2023 reached 115.17 million units, the data indicates. That represents a close to 50 percent spike from 2022 and its 77.12 million albums sold, besides more than doubling the 2021 figure and topping the 2013 total by nearly 14 times.

By artist, the aforementioned Seventeen, with north of 16 million albums sold during 2023, rather predictably topped the sales list. Stray Kids secured the second position with 10.87 million units, Tomorrow X Together followed with 6.44 million, NCT Dream ranked fourth with 5.04 million, and NewJeans rounded out the top five with 4.40 million, the analysis shows.

Notably, given the commercial prominence of BTS as well as solo projects from the seven-piece act’s members, Jungkook (2.70 million) and V (2.25 million) occupied the 12th and 13th spots on the album-sales list at hand, respectively.

That Jungkook reportedly moved 2.15 million copies of his debut album on release – and saw “Seven” join Spotify’s “Billion Club” faster than any other song to date – makes the number of (and figures behind) higher-ranked acts even more noteworthy.

Building upon this point and K-pop’s upward trajectory for the current year, despite having only arrived on the scene in May of 2022, Hybe’s Le Sserafim sold 2.03 million albums in 2023, per Circle Chart. Other new faces are, needless to say, forthcoming. SM is developing a “British boy group,” Attrakt is teeing up a new act of its own, and “K-pop powerhouse” Titan Content is holding auditions for a different group yet, to name a few examples.