The unfortunate struggle of TWICE: Analysing Jihyo’s “Killin’ Me Good” failure

In the ever-evolving landscape of the K-pop industry, the success of an artist’s solo endeavors can often serve as a litmus test for their ability to capture global audiences. However, not all attempts are met with triumph, as demonstrated by TWICE’s Jihyo and her solo track “Killin’ Me Good.” Despite the anticipation surrounding the release, the song fell short of expectations, failing to garner even 4 million views on YouTube within the first 24 hours of its release. The disappointment didn’t stop there, with the track only reaching the 12th spot on the iTunes worldwide charts and failing to enter the top 200 on both Spotify worldwide and Spotify US. Additionally, “Killin’ Me Good” only managed to secure a spot in the top 50 of iTunes US, effectively barring it from even the Bubbling Under Hot 100, let alone the opportunity of entering Billboard chart at top 150.

This underwhelming performance starkly contrasts with the strategies of HYBE, which have yielded great success for its artists. Notably, TXT, a HYBE act, achieved a remarkable milestone in 2023 by becoming the first and only K-pop act to obtain RIAA certification for 500,000 total units in the US. Another HYBE success story is Seventeen, who boasts the best-selling K-pop album of all time.

The missteps in JYP Entertainment’s approach to penetrating international markets were further highlighted by the recent Lollapalooza headline by Stray Kids in Paris, a debacle that unfolded in July 2023. The event only cemented the perception that JYPe’s endeavors to conquer foreign markets have become a genuine disaster.

Jihyo’s solo setback is indicative of TWICE’s downward trajectory since 2020. While the group once stood as a beacon of third-generation K-pop, it seems to have lost its stride. In stark contrast, BLACKPINK remains a formidable contender. However, even they face challenges, as emerging figures like NewJeans have managed to surpass them in popularity in the United States, with Le Sserafim also poised to make a significant impact. Notably, a key distinction between BLACKPINK and TWICE lies in the realm of inspiration. While many idols cite BTS and BLACKPINK as major sources of influence, TWICE seems to have a lesser hold on the aspiring artists, with few claiming to have entered the industry inspired by them.

The landscape of successful soloists in the K-pop industry paints a telling picture. Topping the charts are statistically proven performers: Jimin, Jungkook, Taehyung, Min Yoongi, Jisoo, Namjoon, J-hope, Lisa, and Jin. Remarkably, 7 out of the top 9 positions are occupied by members of the world’s biggest active group, BTS, while the remaining 2 are held by BLACKPINK, the group that briefly held the title of the world’s premier girl group before NewJeans entered the scene.

In conclusion, Jihyo’s “Killin’ Me Good” marks a disappointing chapter in TWICE’s journey, highlighting a larger issue within JYP Entertainment’s approach to the global market. As K-pop continues to evolve, the success of solo ventures becomes a critical indicator of an artist’s standing. Meanwhile, BTS and BLACKPINK maintain their positions of influence, with the former still reigning supreme and the latter facing challenges from rising stars. The shifting dynamics within the K-pop industry continue to shape its landscape, with only time revealing what lies ahead for these prominent groups.