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Since 2014, Spotify listeners have streamed more than 180 billion minutes of K-pop. Discussing the rise of K-pop worldwide, Stray Kids appeared on a new episode of the Spotify: For the Record podcast series called “From Seoul to São Paulo: The Global Rise of K-Pop.”

The episode was released on Sept. 11 and also featured Kossy Ng, Spotify’s Head of Artist Label Partnerships in Southeast Asia, Kpapo founders Babi Dewet and Érica Imenes, and Korean actor Wonho Chung.

Stray Kids | Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

K-pop by the numbers on Spotify

Based on Spotify’s listening data, K-pop has had momentous growth over the past few years. With over 180 billion minutes listened to on the streaming platform since 2014, there has been a 2000% increase in users listening to K-pop over the past six years. Spotify: For the Record also revealed that K-pop songs have been added to over 120 million user playlists.

“It’s super unique… To me I think what it really is, it’s just great, addictive music,” said Ng. “Beyond the music, you know, it’s well-produced, it’s colorful, it’s edgy. And then you get the fashion, which is amazing. And then you get the dance.”

She also attributed K-pop’s global success to the special relationship between K-pop idols and fans.

“I think the last part that makes it so unique is the fandom. Seeing how the artists and the fans interact. The fans are pretty much a part of the artist’s journey as well. Like from the beginning, watching them train and debut, how the members are chosen, and I think it’s a very emotional type of connection that you end up building with K-Pop artists,” she said.

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Stray Kids on their creative process

Stray Kids is a K-pop group consisting of eight members: Bang Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N. The Korean band debuted in 2017 with JYP Entertainment.

Seungmin, Changbin, Felix, and Bang Chan appeared on Spotify: For the Record to talk about their new album In Life, a repackage of their first Korean-language studio album, Go Live.

When asked about writing and producing their own songs, Bang Chan replied:

“Well, ever since the start of our whole journey, we thought it’d be really, really special to really make our music, create our own music and really write our own lyrics to be a bit more truthful and to really put our hearts into our music, for our fans to take it in more well. So we thought that was really important because we are the ones who are performing on stage. We are the ones who are singing the song. So we thought it’d be really, really important for us to make the music as well. And I guess, I think that’s the reason why our Stays can really relate to us. They understand us, through, you know, their music as well.”


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The members of Stray Kids were asked about their fans

Echoing Ng’s statement that K-pop artists and fans have an emotional connection, Bang Chan went into detail about how Stray Kids and Stay support one another.

“…with Stray Kids and Stays, we have something a bit more deeper…,” he said. “It feels like we’re just one big whole family. So if there’s like a fan sign event where they come and just talk to us, sometimes they tell us, you know, what their struggles are, what they’re going through, and, you know, all their hardships. I guess we try to really understand them and just try to make them feel better. And for that, that’s one of our really important things that we have to do.”