MONSTA X's Organic Growth in the Most Dominant Music Market in the World
Updated: Dec 10, 2019
MONSTA X is an exceptionally talented boy group from South Korea formed by Starship Entertainment on May 14, 2015. The group is made up of Shownu, Wonho Hyungwon, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Jooheon, and I.M.
MONSTA X have not only opened doors for other K-pop acts, but they’ve continually experienced an upwards growth ever since their debut. Their albums have appeared on several leading charts around the world, including Oricon, Billboard, Melon, and many more. MONSTA X have shown time and time again how great their abilities are to connect with their fans (also known as Monbebes) and provide music that not only draws them in, but keeps them wanting more for the future. The fact that MONSTA X can create, produce, and compose music and lyrics that vary from genre and theme whether they are full of energy, power, and bass or slow and sensual only further exemplifies their skillset.
Recently enough, MONSTA X ended up off their We Are Here World Tour which enabled them to travel across several continents from Europe to Asia to both South and North America. In fact, most of these shows were even sold out within minutes even though the vast majority of MONSTA X’s songs are sung and rapped entirely in Korean. Fans coming from all over the world to come and support such a gifted musical group regardless of if they can also speak Korean further justifies the belief by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that "music is the universal language of mankind" and MONSTA X do a phenomenal job at creating said unity amongst their fans. Nonetheless, their world tour ended on a successful note on August 10th, 2019 in Los Angeles, however, just because their tour ended doesn’t mean that their American promotions ended too.
MONSTA X have experienced an organic growth and rise in popularity within the most dominant music market in the world not only because of their exceptional talents, authentic and relatable personalities, and good looks, but also because of the way they’ve been hustling hard, making powerful connections, and marketing themselves. MONSTA X have been involved in a plethora of different music shows and festivals in America, but they’ve also taken part in many hilarious yet authentic interviews whilst also dominating pop radio. Them getting involved in music shows, having a lot of American interviews to increase their brand reputation and reach more fans, and generating organic radio power have all helped MONSTA X make waves within the American music market.
Even though many other K-pop idols have done well in the American music industry, something that tends to be missing is their ability to enter and STAY on the radio and music charts. People may not believe that radio power is important because we all tend to stream the music we want, when we want, but there's more to being a success in America than having streaming parties and personal playlists which is why MONSTA X landing on the radio organically is such a huge deal. MONSTA X made their debut on Billboard's Pop Songs airplay chart back in August of 2019 for the Godsent, jaw-dropping bop, "Who Do U Love?" featuring French Montana. It entered the charts at #39 and is currently at #23 which is an amazing feat seeing as how they're the second-ever Korean group to enter the charts. “Who Do U Love (featuring French Montana)” received 2,850 spins (+171), becoming just the third single from a Korean group to hit the Top 25 (Brian Cantor, Songs By Halsey, MONSTA X, Chris Brown, Camila Cabello Reach Top 25 At Pop Radio).
MONSTA X are doing incredibly well, especially since radio is a HUGE metric. Streaming is important, but radio play is still one of the most POWERFUL music tools to this day. Getting your music on the radio where the general public listens is a major accomplishment because it's not reliant on fandom streaming for success. People who aren't fans will have access to listen to it and the fact that 'Who Do U Love?' is doing well amongst its other competition (especially Native English speaking artists) on pop radio charts is phenomenal. What’s important about having radio power is that if you get an artist exposed on the radio, it helps people KNOW you for the LONGTERM. They don't just think you're a fad or a craze. But, they'll actually recognize you as an ARTIST. MONSTA X's American team (Epic Records and Eshy Gazit's management team) are helping them with exactly that.
Just to get a better understanding of the importance of radio play and organic growth, "Edison Research found that 70% of all US audio consumption (daily average = 4 hrs) happens in the car (versus home, work, etc.) Known for workaholic lifestyles, 77% of Americans drive to work alone, and are presumably looking for some companionship in their morning talk show hosts and singing partners in their favorite artists during their commute" (Jason Joven,
Radio in the Streaming Era: Chartmetric’s RadioWave Top 300 Data). This only further proves that MONSTA X are not only trying to reach their fandom, Monbebes, but they're already reaching the general public of music listeners too. They are getting the exposure and shoutout they need to ensure that their songs get played on HEAVY rotation. People won't JUST recognize MONSTA X for having a large fandom, but they'll actually pay attention to their music not because they feel pressured to, but because they can and want to.
Nonetheless, MONSTA X's radio promotions have been beautiful thus far and I'm excited to see more from them. More of them on major playlists, more of them with major interviewers/popular radio hosts, more organic radio play, and so on. They're going to be a major success. It won't be an easy journey at all because we know how fearful people are when it comes to listening to something that they aren't used to, but it will be worth it in the end. Their music isn't just entering the charts for a week and then completely dipping off the face of it. Their music is here to stay and the general public will soon come to know that.
MONSTA X have some of the best American promotions I’ve seen for a foreign group. From being the FIRST ever K-pop act to perform at the Jingle Ball tour at the end of 2018 to also being a part of the major iHeartRadio Music Festival, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL Festival in Las Vegas, Good Morning America, Teen Choice Awards, and B96 Pepsi Jingle Bash at the end of 2019. On top of that, they’ve appeared on Jimmy Kimmel and will be performing on Ellen’s show on September 25th, 2019 which are both major appearance opportunities for them. MONSTA X have been involved in a multitude of different activities and I’m sure they have no plans on stopping. What I love the most about MONSTA X’s promotions is that they aren’t just here for two weeks and then never partake in American promotions again. They do interviews and top of interviews and those roll out gradually as the weeks pass so there is more content for both the monbebes and general public to enjoy. They make the most out of their stay in North America and it’s such a treat to watch.
Here are some examples of what MONSTA X have been up to:
MONSTA X Gives Guillermo a Makeover (Jimmy Kimmel)
Check out MONSTA X at the iHeartFestival 2019 on September 20th, 2019 in Las Vegas!
MONSTA X performed at the Life Is Beautiful music and arts festival in downtown Las Vegas on September 21st, 2019 and were the FIRST K-pop act to do so.
They also performed at the #iHeartDayStage for IHeartRadio on September 21st!
Another interesting thing that MONSTA X have done is create music in English despite it not being their first language. Their first English song was ‘Shoot Out (English version)', however that was just an English remix of the originally Korean song. But, ever since then, they have created ‘Who Do U Love?’ featuring French Montana and the ‘Who Do U Love?’ remix with both French Montana and Will.I.Am, Play It Cool (featuring Steve Aoki), and their latest English single, Love U.
You can check out these songs down below:
WHO DO U LOVE?
"Who Do U Love?' is an alternative r&b song that has been taking over the charts over the past few weeks (as it should). This song is not only incredibly addicting, but it’s sultry, groovy, and very easy to listen to too.
PLAY IT COOL ft. Steve Aoki
Play It Cool was on their ‘Take.2 – We Are Here’ album, however they released a music video for the English version of it featuring Steve Aoki. This house-inspired song is smooth from start to finish and includes a rhythmic and groovy chorus that will leave you repeating this song so often that you dance to it in your sleep.
Their latest English track was released on September 20th, 2019. This is yet another mellifluous song with very cheeky undertones to it, but it's also very cute and fun too.
WHO DO U LOVE? (will.i.am REMIX ft. French Montana)
All I can say is will.i.am did EXACTLY what he had to do with this track. He really did not need to EAT this beat up the way he did, but he did. He turned a sultry track into a twerk anthem and we are loving every second of it.
There are honestly no words to describe how enjoyable it is to just sit back and watch MONSTA X get interviewed. Not only do they always remain true to themselves, but they’re funny while doing it too. Their American interviews are usually spearheaded by I.M as he is the most fluent English speaker, however, he always makes sure to translate the questions for the rest of his members and all of the remaining MONSTA X members are given a chance to speak (either in English or Korean), so the burden is not just placed on I.M to navigate their interviews, which is very admirable and makes it easy to become more knowledgeable about each member's personality.
Here are some of my favourite interviews by MONSTA X in America, and this list will OF COURSE include a 'crack edit' because that is the pinnacle of fandom culture.
MONSTA X in America pt. 2
"MONSTA X" has our Sam Shaking (Literally)
MONSTA X Reveal Their Secrets In The Tower Of Truth | PopBuzz Meets
K-Pop Sensations MONSTA X Try Marmite and Scotch Eggs for the First Time | Good Morning Britain
(This was in the UK, but it’s still one of the funniest interviews I’ve ever seen)
MONSTA X Talks Jealousy, Monbebe & Justin Bieber
MONSTA X Describe Their Fans As Gods And Inspiration | Exclusive Interview
Nonetheless, I’m so excited to see what the future holds for MONSTA X. They already have incredibly successful promotions in both Korea and Japan and so I’m excited to see how they will continue to grow upwards and open more doors of opportunities, not only for themselves, but for other Korean acts in the West. They have the potential, talent, and skills to be one of the biggest boybands in musical history and if (and I know they will) continue working hard, making timeless bops, and promoting as they are through radio power, getting involved in music shows/festivals, and partaking in fun interviews and other fan content, I know they can achieve that title. MONSTA X are proving that there is room for more than ONE Korean act in the Western market and they will continue to capitalize on their ever-growing success not only because they work hard for it, but because they deserve it too.