Blackpink attracts over 60,000 people to Hanoi concerts

By Ha Thu, Tan Cao   August 3, 2023 | 04:00 pm PT
Blackpink attracted over 60,000 people to their Hanoi concerts last weekend thanks in large part to the K-pop tradition from which they sprang, according to music industry insiders and statistics.
Blackpink concerts were the most popular topic in Vietnam July 2023. Photo from Blackpinks Facebook

Blackpink concerts were the most popular topic in Vietnam July 2023. Photo from Blackpink's Facebook

According to social media analytics company YouNet Media, the Blackpink concerts were the most popular online topic in Vietnam last month.

Interests in the group started rising in late-June when the group announced their first-ever shows in Vietnam on July 29 and 30. Interest in the group climbed higher and higher as the dates approached, said YouNet.

With an estimated attendance of over 60,000, musician Huy Tuan said the two-night show was Vietnam’s "largest music event ever."

The shows demonstrated the international cultural impact that Blackpink and the K-pop music industry are making.

"Idol groups" began emerging on the Korean pop scene in 1996 with pioneers like H.O.T, Shinhwa, and S.E.S. This collection of artists is generally referred to as K-pop’s "Generation 1," or "Gen 1."

However, it was not until the birth of Gen 2 – which included performers such as BoA, SNSD, Super Junior, Big Bang, 2NE1 and DBSK – that the K-pop wave began washing over foreign markets like Vietnam.

According to the non-profit organization Korea Foundation, there were 4.12 million K-pop fans in Vietnam in 2012. The figure then rose to 13.3 million by 2022, an increase of 223% in only 10 years, making Vietnam the country with the third-highest number of K-pop fans worldwide, following China and Thailand.

With the development of technology, Vietnam youth can access K-pop materials more easily with the help of, but not limited to, social media platforms and music streaming services.

Debuting during K-Pop’s Asian prime in 2016, and under the management of industry superpower South Korea YG Entertainment, Blackpink were immediately popular and soon dubbed "the new 2NE1" and "Big Bang’s younger sisters."

There are three official fan clubs for the group in Vietnam, each of which includes thousands of members. They all post frequent updates of the artists’ schedules, and hold charity events on behalf of the artists.

Having such a strong fanbase, the group’s shows in Vietnam were inevitably highly anticipated.

Independent observer Touring Data reported that Blackpink generated a revenue of $163.8 million with over 900,000 tickets sold to their 40-show "Born Pink" world tour. That means the group earned more than $4 million in personal profits and attracted an average of around 22,600 concertgoers to each show. However, these numbers may be disputed as revenues were not reported for nearly 30 of the shows.

But either way, the global sensation girl group is now known for having broken the iconic Spice Girls girl-group touring record of generating $78.2 million via around 700,000 attendees on their 2019 Spice World Tour.

Blackpink were not the first K-pop super stars to visit Vietnam. Famous names like SNSD, T-ara and 2NE1 have all played Vietnam, but local interest was much less then.

It is popularly believed that Blackpink was created by YG to target international markets because each member of the group is from a different country.

Born and raised in Thailand, Lisa helped open the door to the Southeast Asian region.

Meanwhile, Rosé was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. Jennie was born in South Korea and raised in New Zealand. Jisoo is the only born-and-raised South Korean, and she is also the only member not completely fluent in English.

Command of the global language has helped the group communicate in interviews, and has broadened the appeal of their songs as they can sing and rap in both English and Korean.

Blackpink’s music also often follows the formulas of traditional Western pop songs. Portal Kocca newspaper once said that one of the factors contributing to Blackpink songs’ success are the English catchphrases occasionally woven into their lyrics.

Carefully-structured choreography is another appealing aspect to Blackpink.

Additionally, the group’s professional entourage played a key role in their concerts’ success as well.

Some 80% of the sound and lighting equipment used in their Vietnam shows were imported, aiming to bring attendees the most state-of-the-art experience available.

The star V-pop (Vietnamese pop) combo DTAP stated the show they attended was "very satisfying." They said they learnt a lot from the show: "The mixed versions of the 20 songs played throughout the show have elements of updated musical trends, which makes fans satisfied."

The well-planned entry process to the stadium left no space for messy check-ins. Security was also guaranteed.

The group’s concerts filled a gap in which Hanoi residents were not being offered large-scale entertainment events.

Meanwhile, China was not a destination on the "Born Pink" route, so droves of Chinese fans flocked to neighboring Vietnam for the concerts.

Rumors that the group may be ending their contract soon also motivated fans to prioritize seeing the girls before they split up.

Vietnam’s purchasing power has also increased over the last decade and living conditions and standards have risen. As such, the local population has generally become more willing to spend more on entertainment.

This was not the case when K-pop first started becoming popular in Vietnam.

When asked about plans for an "idol group" DBSK Vietnam concert in 2012, the group’s agency spokesperson said: "We initially had Vietnam as one of the stops on the tour. But based on the market conditions, we think it will be hard for us to hold another event with DBSK in Vietnam."

In 2013, an event featuring South Korean actor Lee Min Ho in Hanoi was canceled due to underselling. Various events featuring singer PSY and idol group T-ara faced similar situations.

This is part of why Vietnamese musicians Huy Tuan and Duong Khac Linh thing the Blackpink Hanoi shows are a positive sign for the potential of the Vietnam market in South Korean artists’ eyes.

They are not the only ones encouraged by this trend.

"While manufacturing has long been a bridge between Vietnam and South Korea, the cultural wave, or ‘hallyu’ in Korean, now is seen as a business opportunity, too," wrote Nikkei Asia optimistically.

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