Big Bang is a South Korean boy band formed by YG Entertainment. Consisting of members G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, Daesung, and Seungri, the group officially debuted on August 19, 2006. Predominantly a hip hop group, their debut was a moderate success, with their first self-titled Korean album selling 48,000 copies. Their breakthrough came with the release of their first extended play, Always (2007), which included the number one song "Lies". The song went on to top major Korean music charts for a record-breaking seven consecutive weeks, and won the group the Song of the Year award at the 9th Mnet Korean Music Festival.
Big Bang’s followed-up releases furthered their success and popularity: Hot Issue (2007) spawned the chart-topping song "Last Farewell," while Stand Up (2008) produced "Day By Day". After receiving the Artist of the Year award from the 2008 Mnet Korean Music Festival, the group expanded their endeavors to Japan, releasing both their second Korean studio-album Remember and their first Japanese album, Number 1, in the same year, and consequently winning three awards at the 9th MTV Video Music Awards Japan. They would go on to release three more Japanese studio albums: Big Bang (2009), Big Bang 2 (2011), and the Japanese studio album Alive (2012). Amidst their Japanese promotions, the members branched out to do solo activities: Taeyang and G-Dragon released solo albums, G-Dragon and T.O.P formed a sub-unit, Seungri and Daesung acted in musicals and hosted variety shows, and T.O.P went on to star in various films and television shows.
After a two-year hiatus in South Korea, Big Bang reunited in 2011 with their EP Tonight (2011). Promotions were cut short when multiple members encountered legal issues. By the end of the year, Big Bang emerged as the inaugural Best Worldwide Act winner at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards. Three months after their win in Europe, Big Bang released their most successful physical album, the Korean EP Alive (2012), which won them their second Artist of the Year Award at the 14th Mnet Asian Music Award. Alive became the first Korean album to chart on Billboard 200, with the group embarking on their first ever world tour that concluded in early 2013. In 2015, after a three-year hiatus, Big Bang made their highly anticipated comeback to their native country with the release of four singles, "M," "A," "D," and "E," to precede their third Korean studio album Made. Their singles were met with critical and commercial success, netting in sales of over 425,000 copies in South Korea and winning the group their third Artist of the Year Award at the 17th Mnet Asian Music Awards.
Labeled as the "Kings of K-pop" and "Nation's Boy Band," the members’ involvement in composing and producing their own music, most notably G-Dragon, has earned the group respect and praises from the music industry. Since the release of the Gaon Chart, Big Bang, including their solo releases, has sold over 75 million records. With the previous releases including sales from Music Industry Association of Korea (MIAK) and The Korea Music Content Industry Association (KMCIA), they have sold over 93 million records, with over 77 million digital singles, selling an averaged 4.3 million downloads per title track and 1.5 million downloads per non-title track, and over 5 million albums in Korea, Japan, and the rest of Asian continent. They have won numerous awards and set several records, including the all-time best-selling artist in Cyworld and most Artist of the Year Award wins at the Mnet Asian Music Awards. Citing their global popularity and contribution to K-pop, the Hollywood Reporter have described them as "the biggest boy band in the world."
Prior to the group's debut, a few of the members were already exposed to the entertainment industry. G-Dragon and Taeyang were the first ones to receive training under YG Entertainment at the age of eleven. T.O.P was an underground rapper under the stage name "Tempo." One of his most popular track was "Buckwild" with NBK Gray. After G-Dragon was approached by YG-Entertainment for possible candidates to start a boy group, G-Dragon contacted T.O.P, with whom he was a childhood friend with, leading to the latter to audition in. Seungri first appeared on the reality television series Let's Cokeplay: Mnet Battle Shinhwa, a show in which idol group Shinhwa search for members to make up the "second-generation Shinhwa." The original lineup consisted of 6 members: the aforementioned ones along with Daesung and So-1, who were both auditioned in. Their formation was documented on television; prior to their official debut, So-1 was dropped.
Big Bang held their official debut on August 19, 2006 at the Gymnastics Arena in Seoul Olympic Park during the YG Family 10th Year Concert. On September 23, 2006, the group had their debut performance on television broadcast. Following the performance, the group's first single, "Bigbang," was released. It contained the songs "We Belong Together," featuring label mate Park Bom; "A Fool's Only Tears"; and "This Love", an adaptation of the American rock band Maroon 5 song, rewritten and performed by G-Dragon. The single went on to sell nearly 40,000 copies. The second single, "BigBang Is V.I.P," was released in September, eventually topping 32,000 copies sold. Their last single, "Bigbang 03," followed, with final sales nearing 40,000 copies. At the end of December 2006, Big Bang held their very first concert, The Real. The following month, their debut album, BigBang Vol. 1 – Since 2007, was released, selling 48,000 copies by the end of February 2007.
On February 8, 2007, Big Bang released their live concert album, The First / Real Live Concert, which sold 30,000 copies by the end of the year. The group also began their Want You tour, visiting five cities: Incheon, Daegu, Changwon, Jeonju and Busan. Their first extended play, Always (2007) marked several changes for the group. Though the members had previously involved themselves with writing and composing, the group took more creative control over their music. G-Dragon composed and wrote most of the tracks included in their first EP, including "Lies". The EP also saw the introduction of electronic music for Big Bang. Receptions were fairly positive, most notably in regards to the song "Lies," which critics described as "through the roof." Released as the lead single, it became their first number one hit. The album itself sold 87,000 copies.
Their second EP, Hot Issue, released that same year, followed its predecessor's success: the lead-single, "Last Farewell," topped various charts, including the Juke-On's chart for eight consecutive weeks. It also garnered the Song of the Month (Digital Music) Award from Cyworld. Tickets for their Big Bang Is Great concert were also reportedly sold out in 10 minutes.
At the end of 2007, it was reported that members of the band were hospitalized from over-performing and exhaustion, halting their promotional activities. Reports were later released that Big Bang's albums and singles were in high demands, causing the record company to reprint and repackage them for re-release. Riding on the success of their EPs, the group collected numerous awards, including Best Male Group and Song of The Year from the 2007 Mnet Asian Music Awards. They later received the Artist of the Year Award from the 17th Seoul Music Awards. The group earned a total of ₩12 billion ($11.5 million) by year's end.
As 2007 came to a close, Big Bang ventured overseas to Japan. Their first Japanese EP, For the World (2008), charted at number 10 on the Oricon chart, despite little promotion. The group also held a concert at the JCB Hall in Tokyo Dome City. Big Bang returned to South Korea after their promotions in Japan ended. Although group activities were delayed due to solo projects, their third Korean EP, Stand Up, was released. Featuring Daishi Dance and the Korean rock-band No Brain, Stand Up exceeded the 100,000 mark in sales. "Day By Day", the lead single, topped several online charts and held the number one position for six consecutive weeks. Following the lead single's success, other songs also charted within the Top Twenty, with "Heaven" reaching the second spot, "Oh My Friend" hitting the ninth spot, "A Good Man" at number twelve, and "Lady" peaking at number sixteen – a total of five songs in the Top Twenty for the group.
During the release of their Korean materials, Big Bang released the Japanese song, "Number 1," from their album of the same name, performing the song on Japanese radio programs and TV shows; the album peaked at number three on the Japan's Oricon daily album chart. Their second Korean studio album, Remember (2008) yielded the number one single, "Sunset Glow". "Strong Baby," performed solely by Seungri, was released as the second single. The album went on to sell over 200,000 copies. Big Bang received their second Artist of the Year Award from the 2008 Mnet Asian Music Awards. At the end of 2008, it was reported that Big Bang earned a total of ₩36 billion ($34.5 million).
While the group was on a break in early 2009, the members pursued solo activities. They reunited to collaborate with 2NE1, their label's new girl group who had been dubbed as "The Female Big Bang" at the time, for "Lollipop," a song used to promote a cellphone by LG Cyon. A music video was also filmed for promotion. Big Bang also released their third endorsement digital single "So Fresh, So Cool" to promote the beer brand "Hite," although Seungri was not in the commercial due to the fact he was not of drinking age. Their first self-titled full-length Japanese album was released under Universal Music in August 2009 and was promoted with two singles: "My Heaven" and "Gara Gara Go!! "My Heaven," a Japanese translation of their Korean single, "Heaven" from Stand Up, was composed by Japanese composer Daishi Dance and debuted at number three on the Oricon Music Chart. "Gara Gara Go!" charted at the fifth spot and the album itself peaked at number three.
After their return to Korea, the members went back to their solo activities. On August 18, G-Dragon released his debut album, Heartbreaker, promoting it with the album's title track. The album went on to win the Album of the Year at the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards, selling over 210,000 units. Taeyang released two digital singles, "Where U At?" and "Wedding Dress" to promote his second album released in 2010. T.O.P joined the cast of the Korean thriller drama Iris, playing the assassin Vick. Daesung and Seungri both pursued various individual activities in acting and hosting. They later reunited to record the song "Koe wo Kikasete" for the Japanese drama Ohitorisama. The song was later released as a single, peaking at #4.
For several days in January 2010, Big Bang performed their 2010 Big Bang Concert Big Show at the Seoul Olympic Stadium. The following month, they embarked on their Electric Love Tour in Japan. Although no official albums were recorded, 2010 saw the release of several singles for the group with promotional ties. The release of "Lollipop Part 2" in February, the follow-up to their single, "Lollipop"' with 2NE1, was used to coincide with promotions for LG Cyon's Lollipop phone. The single also reached number one on digital charts. Their next single, "Tell Me Goodbye," was recorded for the Japanese re-release of Korean drama Iris. The song proved to be popular and gained favorable reviews, winning Song of the Year at the 52nd Japan Record Awards. Additionally, tying in with the 2010 World Cup, the group released the song "Shout of the Reds" featuring the Korean rock band Transfixion and figure skater Kim Yuna.
For most of the year, the members individually promoted their own work, including the release of the GD & TOP unit with their collaboration album and the release of Seungri's first EP entitled VVIP. Big Bang also won several notable awards, including the Best 5 New Artists award from the 24th Japan Gold Disc Awards as well as the Best New Artist award. Near the end of May, the group received the awards for Best Pop Video and Best New Artist from the MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2010. They released their latest Japanese single "Beautiful Hangover" on August 25, 2010.
After nearly two-year hiatus as a full group, Big Bang returned to South Korea with their 2011 Big Show concert. They also showcased songs from their latest EP Tonight. The album had a pre-sale order of 10,000 copies in Cyworld, beating the record set by TVXQ's 6,500 copies back in 2008, and selling 100,000 copies in a week. Receptions for the album was positive, with Choi Jun of Asiae complimenting the group's new direction in their music, acknowledging that during the two years hiatus, the group's "style and musical sensibility [had] deepened." Seven days after the album's release, it was reported that Big Bang had already earned ₩7 billion (USD$6.6 million). Its lead-single of the same name became a chart-topper on the Gaon Chart. After promotions for Tonight was finished, Big Bang released a special edition album with two new tracks: "Love Song" and "Stupid Liar." "Love Song"'s music video on YouTube gained 2 million views within just two days. The group kicked off their Love & Hope Tour in May of the same year.
Big Bang won the 2011 MTV EMA's Best Worldwide Act award as representatives of the Asia-Pacific region with over 58 million votes. Their "Love Song" also won Best Music Video at the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards. Big Bang later celebrated YG Entertainment's 15th anniversary by participating in the 2011 YG Family Concert Tour. This was followed by a release their third Greatest Hits album The Best of Big Bang on December 14, which contained a Japanese version of their number one hit "Day by Day." The album topped the Oricon Daily chart on its first day of release and went on to sell over 14,000 copies in the first week. It was reported that Big Bang earned ₩88 billion (USD$84.5 million) in 2011 even though they had just promoted for half a year. The earnings included Big Bang's revenue concert for SBS's Big Bang Show, their 2011 Big Show Concert and their Love and Hope Tour in Japan.
Starting on January 20, 2012, YG Entertainment began releasing teasers for Big Bang's fifth Korean EP Alive, which was released in both digital and physical formats on February 29. Preorders for Alive amounted to 260,000 copies in two weeks. Its lead single, "Blue," was released a week prior to the album's release and reached the number one position on all major domestic charts. The EP was a commercial success, selling in excess of 200,000 copies in its first month of release. Internationally, Big Bang obtained five spots out of the Top Ten on Billboard K-pop's Hot 100 and charted at 150 on Billboard 200, making them the first Korean artist with a Korean album to do so. Their popularity also boosted them onto the Billboard Social 50, entering at number twenty-four. They later received recognition from notable sites such as Time magazine, and a photo was featured on the Grammy Awards homepage.
The album release coincided with their annual concert, Big Show 2012, held at Seoul Olympic Park Stadium from March 2–4 to a sold-out crowd of 40,000 fans. This marked the official kick off of their first world tour Big Bang Alive Galaxy Tour 2012, in partnership with Live Nation. It was directed by renowned choreographer Laurieann Gibson, with Big Bang performing at 21 cities over 13 countries. Concert footage from Big Show was broadcast in 160 countries through MTV World Stage, which pushed the promotion for their world tour. On March 6, 2012, the music video for "Fantastic Baby" was released on YouTube. This is currently the band's most popular song, having received more than one hundred and ninety million views on YouTube.
The Japanese version of Alive was released on March 28 both digitally and physically, with two additional Japanese tracks. Included with the physical copy of their album was a bonus Japanese version of their hit song, "Day by Day." It sold over 23,000 copies on its first day of release and peaked at number two on the Oricon charts, eventually selling over 200,000 copies total and certified gold by the RIAJ. Japanese promotions began with a performance at 2012's Springroove Festival alongside top American and Japanese hip hop artists. Big Bang was the first Korean act to be invited along with label-mates 2NE1. Following the success of their comeback, Big Bang released a special edition album titled Still Alive on June 3. It featured four new tracks including two new Korean tracks of which their lead single was titled "Monster," as well as Korean remakes of the two additional tracks in the Japanese version of Alive. The album sold over 100,000 copies in its first month of release. A special Monster edition of their Japanese Alive album was also released on June 20, following its Korean counterpart.
The success of their special edition album further boosted the group's global recognition, peaking at #11 on the Billboard Social 50. The group toured extensively throughout the rest of the year, spanning several countries: Japan (May to June), China (July to August), South East Asia (September to October), and the Americas (November). After touring the Americas, the group went back to Japan for their "Special Final in Dome Tour," stopping at some of the largest stadiums in Japan including Osaka Dome, Tokyo Dome and Fukuoka Dome. Big Bang also performed in Hong Kong and England in December 2012. One concert was scheduled in London, England but another date was added to their tour due to popular demand. The group concluded the tour with concerts in Osaka in mid-January along with a three night stint at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul later that month. On November 30, 2012, Big Bang received a total of three awards at the 14th Mnet Asian Music Awards, including Best Male Group and Artist of the Year. G-Dragon, also took home Best Male Solo award at the event. They also received the Best Fan category award at the Italian TRL Awards.
The following year, the members took a break from group activities to release and promote their own materials, including Daesung's first album D'scover, Seungri's second EP, Let's Talk About Love, and G-Dragon's second album, Coup D'Etat. T.O.P involved himself with the film, The Commitment, and also released the song "Doom Dada," while Taeyang returned as a solo artist with the release of his album, Rise.
In April 2015 YG Entertainment released a statement about the band's return with a new studio album, Made, which was originally scheduled to be released on September 1, 2015, but was delayed to allow the band to recharge after 4 months of promotions. Prior to that, special "project singles" was released from the album, on the first day of each month, starting with the single "M," followed up by "A," "D" and "E." The group also embarked on the critically acclaimed and commercially successful MADE World Tour in support of their singles. The Tour gathered 1.5 million fans around the world, making it the largest tour by any Korean act, also breaking multiple records, as being the largest K-pop arena tour in United States history, largest Chinese tour of any Korean act. and the largest audience drew by foreign act in Japan history.
The first single, "M" (May 2015), included the two songs "Loser" and "Bae Bae," with the former charting at number one and the latter at number two on Billboard's World Digital Songs chart, the second Korean act to do so after fellow Korean label-mate Psy for his songs "Gangnam Style" and "Gentleman." At the 13th Korean Music Awards, "Bae Bae" won Best Pop Song and Song of the Year. The following month saw the release of "A" (June 2015). Its two songs, "Bang Bang Bang" and "We Like 2 Party," also went on to occupy the number one and two positions on Billboard's World Digital Chart. On the music video charts of QQ Music, "Bang Bang Bang" and "We Like 2 Party" held the number one and number two while "Loser" and "Bae Bae" occupied the number three and six positions. On June 25, the special project exceeded 100 million views on YouTube. "Bang Bang Bang" later won International Song of The Summer on MTV IGGY. "D" (July 2015) contained "If You" and "Sober." On the music video charts of QQ Music, "Sober" took the number one position surpassing "Bang Bang Bang." "If You" and "Sober" landed on Billboard's World Digital Chart with "If You" at number two and "Sober" at number three. That same month, Big Bang broke 200 million views from "M," "A," and "D" music videos. The strings of singles concluded with "E" (August 2015), with the songs "Zutter" (featuring the subunit of GD&TOP) and "Let’s Not Fall In Love." The latter debuted at number one on the Gaon Singles Chart as well as peaked at number one on Billboard World Digital Songs chart.
On August 18, YG Entertainment announced the release date of the album would be postponed, stating that the group would use the additional weeks to add new songs to the album and recharge after 4 months of promotions. At the 17th Mnet Asian Music Awards, Big Bang emerged as one of the biggest winners of the night, winning four awards including their third Artist of the Year Award.
On February 5 2016, YG Entertainment announced Big Bang would tour China starting in March in the 2016 Big Bang MADE [V.I.P] Tour, they expected to meet 182,000 fans. They also announced a new tour in Japan Fantastic Babys 2016 starting in April. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut, BIGBANG announced that they will held a special concerts, the first concerts were announced in Japan at Yanmar Stadium Nagai in Osaka on July 30 and 31 and is expected to draw 110,000 fans.
During the early days of their career, Big Bang's music was predominately hip hop and hip pop, although they incorporated R&B songs into their albums as well. A writer for Yahoo! Japan once compared their early materials to that of American hip-hop artists such as The Black Eyed Peas, stating that their material included "catchy vocals, rap and characters." Always was noted for its change of musical styles from their previous efforts, with the group experimenting with electronic dance music and setting it as the new music trend in Korea. G-Dragon later stated that they hoped "to reach even more fans" with the new direction. In 2008, they recorded "Oh My Friend," a rock-based song, with the Korean rock-band No Brain. In an interview, the group also expressed interests in covering the music genre trot. Alive (2012) was noted for being more "experimental" than their previous materials, with "Bad Boy" described as "nostalgic." The album was also praised for showcasing the group's voice instead of their usual autotune, being described as having "a mature kind of intensity."
Members of the band have branched out to other styles for solo projects, thus the group has been described as "rich in variety" for their fans. Taeyang's EP, Hot, was mainly a collection of R&B songs, with the singer stating that the genre was his "main focus." Daesung's first digital single, "Look at Me, GwiSoon", was a trot song, which drew criticisms due to Big Bang's image as "hip-hop artists." For his debut album, Heartbreaker, G-Dragon incorporated a mix of dance, hip-hop, and R&B songs. Justin Mccurry from The Guardian said that "[e]ach of the five members [of Big Bang] has his own individual look, and their musical range is equally eclectic, covering R&B, hip-hop, house, electro and pop." Producer and rapper Cho PD expressed appreciation for the group, stating how "[i]dol singers like Big Bang possess the ability of being musicians." He was particularly fond of G-Dragon, describing how "in many ways Big Bang has evolved out of being an idol [group] with the abilities they possess as musicians," noting how "G-Dragon can be counted as the main representative for this." Their continued experimentation with a diverse range of music and their distinct personalities from one another have been highlighted as some of the main reasons for their popularity and longevity.
The group is known for maintaining tight control over their career, heavily involving themselves in the creation of their music and lyrics, as opposed to other Korean artists. Following the release of Always, G-Dragon began involving himself with the production of the group's materials, penning lyrics and composing songs, such as "Lies," "Last Farewell," and "Day by Day." The song "If You" was written during a time G-Dragon was in love while "Loser" was an attempt to "humanize the group." His contributions was praised by the Korea Times, who described him as a "genius singer-songwriter." G-Dragon himself describes Big Bang as "an idol group not born of talent but through effort." A writer for Yahoo! Japan complimented the group for their involvement in their work, stating that "perhaps by [each members] contributing to their own materials, not only do they become in sync with one another, but each person's personality stands out."
Big Bang are known for their lavish sets on stage, complete with choreography, costumes, and props. Big Bang is often choreographed by Shaun Evaristo. While they once relied heavily on street dancing for their moves, Big Bang have made a transition towards more choreography. Their dance moves have been widely copied and covered. One of the moves, which incorporates the group lifting their shirts to expose their abdomens, quickly gained popularity online and became one of the top searches on the internet. Another one, in which the group incorporates the idea of "jump roping" as a dance move, also gained attention from fans. The dance moves for "Bang Bang Bang," choreographed Parris Goebel, was one of the most popular dance for the 2015 year.
At the peak of Psy's "Gangnam Style," The New York Times journalist Jon Caramanica noted how Big Bang's concert in New Jersey was the "true wild heart of K-pop" as oppose to Psy, highlighting their brightly colored costumes, choreography, and stage performance. In 2012, they ranked number one in the Philippines's Top 3 Mall of Asia Arena concerts of 2012. When compared to Western artists such as Justin Bieber and One Direction, Big Bang's performance were noted for having their "edges crisper, the sound louder, the dancing sharper." They were ranked third on the New York's Time list of best concerts in 2012 for their Alive Tour in Prudential Center, Newark. Tickets for the tour sold out in only a few hours, thus additional dates were added. In March 2012, Krista Mahr, Time magazine's South Asia correspondent, wrote an article about her first K-Pop concert at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul, describing the group as "K-pop gods" for their stage presence. Their MADE World Tour in 2015 was a critical and commercial success, with the Los Angeles Times describing Big Bang as "[o]ne of the most inventive, aesthetically visionary acts in its genre" and called their Anaheim concert an "incredibly significant moment for K-Pop," praising the diversity of their songs and performances.
Korean fan clubs play an essential role in the K-pop industry; their structure and operation is different from Western fan clubs. Each club has its own name and color: Big Bang's fans dubbed themselves the V.I.P. (named after the single of the same name) and hold crown shaped yellow light sticks. Credit for the spread of the "fan-rice tower," Big Bang has encouraged their fans to buy bags of rice and bring it to their concerts, who, in turn, donate the rice to a charitable cause. For their first show in months, 12.7 tons of rice were donated from 50 fan clubs around the world. Despite their Korean heritage, the group are noted for having an international multicultural fan community.