Despite physical concerts and promotional events being cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, 26 new K-pop groups made their debut just within the first half of 2020. 

Here are some of the top rookie bands to keep an eye out for this year. 

TREASURE 

TREASURE is YG Entertainment’s newest 12-member boy band that came together after the 2018 survival show YG Treasure Box. Originally, YG Entertainment had planned to promote the group as Treasure13 with the final 13 contestants, but the group was renamed Treasure after a member dropped out in 2019. 

TREASURE officially debuted on Aug 7 2020 with their single album The First Step: Chapter One. Within the first week of their debut, TREASURE set new records for rookie groups by selling over 160,000 albums. The album’s lead song “BOY” topped the Apple iTunes’ Top Song Chart in 19 countries. The “BOY” music video also reached 10 million views in just 26 hours.

TREASURE tops our 2020 rookies list on account of their 3 mini albums that have consistently performed well along with achievements such as winning the Best New Male Artist and Worldwide Fans’ Choice awards at the 2020 Mnet Asian Music Awards as well as the Best Rookie Artist award at the 35th Golden Disc Awards. Furthermore, TREASURE will also be debuting in Japan with their first original Japanese song “Beautiful”. Following TREASURE’s excellent performance in 2020, they will be starting 2021 with their newly released studio album The First Step: Treasure Effect.

Weeekly 

Weeekly is the first girl group to debut under PlayM Entertainment in a decade after Apink. Despite undergoing numerous group name and member changes, the 7-member girl group was finally able to debut last year after the merging of FAVE and Plan A Entertainment.

They officially debuted on Jun 30 2020, with their mini-album We Are and title song “Tag Me (@Me)”. More than 10,000 copies of We Are were sold in the first week of their debut and their title song currently has over 15 million views on YouTube. Moreover, Weekly has made over 47,900 album sales as of Dec 14 2020, making them the girl group with the highest sales in 2020.

The official fandom name for this group is “Dailee”. In Oct 2020, Weeekly started their community on Weverse, a global community platform for international fans. The group uses Weverse to engage with fans from all over the world. They even conducted a hashtag posting event that awarded winners with polaroids of the band’s music show promotions. 

Weeekly also won the Best New Female Artist Award at the 2020 Mnet Asian Music Awards and is ranked 20th on the Top 50 Idol Group Popularity and Brand Reputation Ranking as of Dec 2020. They have undoubtedly established their place as one of the best girl groups of 2020 with their rankings.

Cravity

Cravity is a nine-member boyband under Starship Entertainment. The group started their social media channels in Mar 2020 after announcing their debut. The group’s name Cravity was formed by combining the words creativity and gravity. Their fandom was officially named “Luvity” in May 2020.

They debuted with their mini-album Hideout: Remember Who We Are – Season 1 on Apr 14 2020 and peaked at the Gaon’s Album Chart on Apr 18 2020. They also ranked 12th on the Billboard Social 50 Chart and became the first rookie band to enter the social chart at the time of their debut. Their title track “Break All The Rules” currently has over 13 million views.

Additionally, Cravity also attempted to engage with their fans across 126 regions through an exclusive virtual fan meet on Naver V Live called CRAVITY COLLECTION: C EXPRESS.

This boy band also made waves in the K-pop community by winning the New Artist Award at the 2020 Soribada Awards and the Best of Next Award at the 2020 Mnet Asian Music Awards. It is sure to be yet another exciting year for Cravity starting with their second comeback albumHideout: Be Our Voice – Season 3.

ENHYPEN

ENHYPEN was formed through the competitive reality show I-LAND under entertainment company Belift Lab. It was announced in Sep 2020 that the seven winners of I-LAND would become members of ENHYPEN. 

They debuted two months later on Nov 30 2020 with their mini-album BORDER: DAY ONE. Their title track “Given-Taken” currently has over 26 million views. Despite their late start, ENHYPEN kickstarted their debut on a high note by breaking the record and surpassing TREASURE for the highest first-week sales among rookie bands. They sold a whopping 230,000 copies on their debut date and also ranked top five on iTunes’ “Top Album” Chart in 34 countries.

ENHYPEN’s popularity is attributable to the success of their survival show I-LAND. As the show was popular among fans, the band’s debut was highly anticipated. They even set the record for the fastest group to reach one million followers on Twitter. 

 Additionally, ENHYPEN won the Rookie of the Year – Physical Albums award at the 10th Gaon Chart Music Awards and the Next Leader Award at the 2020 Fact Music Awards. ENHYPEN’s popularity and their new record of most albums sold is setting fan’s expectations for their comeback this year to be just as mind-blowing as their debut.

Edited by: Anmi Chou Shigeta
Proofread by: Winny Wint Htae