Blackpink is the hottest girl group on the planet right now. The group's premium livestream concert on YouTube this coming Sunday gives anybody who isn't yet a BLINK (the name of the group's fandom) the opportunity to check out the global phenomenon.
Blackpink's worldwide success is a sign of the times — almost a year into the pandemic, the world craves the upbeat confection of pop music. What's more, Korean groups are growing in popularity with American listeners. Not because the genre needs the US market to be successful, truth be told, the American music industry needs K-pop more than K-pop needs North America.
But it's not just popularity that's noteworthy about Blackpink; it's what the group represents that also matters. The group members' girl power personas demonstrate their dedication to self-love, femininity in both strength and vulnerability, and a kinship with their fans, the former being something that is increasingly important — and increasingly rare — in today's music industry.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Blackpink members Jennie, Jisoo, Rosé, and Lisa said fans should expect a few surprises during their first concert. At the time of the interview, the band was still fine-tuning their set. "It changes all the time," Lisa told the mag. Oh, and don't expect too many hints before showtime. "We want it to be a secret," Jennie said in December. What is known, however, is that Rosé will perform a sneak peek of a song from her solo career for the first time on The Show.
Jisoo told the magazine that the group began planning for the livestream the second they realized they'd have to delay the highly anticipated tour. The setlist will include 15 to 20 songs, and even though finalizations are currently underway, all eight songs from The Album will be included. When the mag asked what songs from their new release they are most eager to perform, Jennie said the group members all have different faves. "For me, I think I would say I am excited for 'Pretty Savage' because it was one of the songs I wanted to see as a big production," she said.
Video is the new black. YouTube has always been a platform that allows bands to quickly and easily reach their audiences. Today that extends to live streaming — a key cornerstone in the growth of artists of all ages. YouTube, for instance, is used to dealing with massive online traffic."We are confident in our capability to host millions of concurrent viewers at one time," Vivien Lewit, Global Head of Artist Relations at YouTube, told Rolling Stone during a separate interview.
Blackpink has a longstanding relationship with YouTube. Their popularity has led them to become mega-influencer of sorts — so much so that the streaming platform live-streamed their 2019 Coachella performance into Times Square. The Show will be Blackpink's first concert that is exclusively live-streamed online at home.
"Blackpink is super leaned in to YouTube," said Lewit. When the website introduced a live redirect feature, which allows an artist to go live on the platform, Blackpink were one of the first artists to use the new service.
Lewit added that YouTube and Blackpink started to work out what a "multi-pronged partnership" could feel like in the landscape of a global pandemic, beginning with YouTube presenting Blackpink in the first installment of its Released music feature in September. Because fans will unlock admission to The Show by becoming a paid member of the Blackpink YouTube channel, the concert is technically more than just a one-time event.
Membership lasts for two months after purchase, and in that period, YouTube claims the artist is in a position to upload whatever behind-the-scenes and extra content they want. While Lewit wouldn't get too specific with Rolling Stone regarding details, that timeframe implies there could, in theory, be an encore of sorts after The Show, as well bonus interviews and interactive content, like quizzes.
"The postponement allowed us to add a special stage that would have been difficult if it had been carried out as scheduled," Blackpink shared in an email a couple of weeks into the new year.
The bleak realities of COVID-19 have heightened Blackpink's sense of global togetherness, a mission they hope to share with fans watching The Show.
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