The 2010s decade has been quite a struggle for girl groups. Unlike the vast variety of girl groups present in the late 1990’s to the early and mid 2000’s, the scope of female entourages took a steady decline as 2010 approached. By this time, there wasn’t any groups internationally making huge mainstream moves in multiple countries around the world.
Even in the 1960’s alone, over 750 girl groups were able to chart a song between 1960 and 1966 in territories like the US and the UK.
As of today, two girl groups hailing from the western and eastern hemisphere, remain in tact and are using their longevity to continually influence new up and coming acts around them such as BlackPink, Red Velvet, M.O, etc. These acts are Little Mix and Girls’ Generation.
The Korean Wave seeped its way into the western hemisphere in the mid to late 2000’s and brought into recognition k-pop girl groups such as the Wonder Girls and Girls Generation in 2007; the latter being one of the only other girl groups still active today after more than a decade year run. The group still continues to dominate charts in South Korea, Japan and other smaller Asian countries.
In 2011, Girls’ Generation charged their way into the Americas and around the world, being one of the few K-pop girl groups acts to finally debut and chart internationally. Their album, The Boys, charted in the Top 200 in France and Top 100 in Spain. Their debut song of the same name sold 21,000 copies in its first week of release in the United States, peaking at #15 on Billboard’s Hot Single Sales.
By 2012, the group’s record sales were at 30 million in addition to 4.4 million albums sold.
Although they haven’t managed to crack through the Billboard 200 or Hot 100 chart, their longevity as a group shows they continue to be in high demand in their country and partially abroad. With K-Pop becoming bigger and more visible in the states, there’s no giving up needed.
While it’s been reported that three of Girls’ Generation members recently ended their contract with their agency, S.M. Entertainment released a statement stating:
Girls’ Generation is a very precious and significant group to S.M. and its fans. We’re not thinking about dismantling the group. However, since there are members whose contracts have expired, we’ll decide carefully after consulting with all members regarding the future path of the team.
Last year, the group released their 9th overall album, in commemoration of their 10 year anniversary since their debut in 2007. In their native land of South Korea, the group are “credited as the lead female group that shifted the public’s focus back to female idols after the Korean music industry experienced an influx of male idol groups”.
Traveling to the west, girl group Little Mix have the U.K and Australia wrapped around their fingers. With four #1 hits and a long string of multi-platinum hits, it’s no surprise they’ve managed to sell 45 million records worldwide since 2011.
Interestingly enough, they’ve had some success in the Americas. Their debut album, DNA, was a commercial success debuting and peaking at #4 on the Billboard 200. ‘Wings’ became their international anthem that cracked into the Top 100 on the Billboard 100 chart, earning a Gold certification by the RIAA. Although their sophomore effort, Salute, was largely ignored, it was critically acclaimed for its impeccable harmonies and 90’s R&B throwback. ‘Black Magic’ eventually became the groups’ signature hit.
Despite their ability to internationally chart in an impressive amount of countries worldwide, America still doesn’t seem to be budging for them. In fact, it seems that in this decade, America isn’t budging for any girl group. But that by no means indicates that girl groups should give up. Currently, Little Mix are the only girl group standing in terms of mainstream power around the world. This is successfully proven by their recent tour, which grossed 42 million dollars. Along with Girls’ Generation, these two groups are extremely noted for their tour selling power. Now is the perfect time to savvy up the promotional wheel and end the 2010’s decade with a full blow of girl power. Their longevity as groups is truly admiring, given that girl groups are known to split rather quickly. Another reason for their survival is their genuine friendship, something that’s molded early into girl group careers and truly sets the tone for later years.
While reasons for girl group splits can come from individual satisfaction to pursue a solo career (Destiny’s Child, The Supremes, Fifth Harmony, etc) other splits can arise due to low support from record labels and a shifting focus to boybands and solo acts because of easier marketing tactics and spending/costs.
In an interview with the Breakfast Club, Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland noted that the reason there’s not many girl groups in the music industry right now, is because record labels don’t want to spend the money and the additional investment to nurture a girl group.
Alas, we can never forget the impending tenacity of girl groups like Neon Jungle, G.R.L, 2NE1, Fifth Harmony, Stooshe, The Saturdays, etc, who came into the 2010 decade to conquer and give out pop hits. We also can’t forget the girls who are still carrying that girl power flag, holding on to dear life, and hoping that their respective teams realize they’re worth it just as much as any other solo artist or boyband.
There’s power in numbers. With the right attention and direction, longevity and success is possible. Little Mix and Girls’ Generation have proved that point well this decade.