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Twice riding high without a hitch

In the volatile world of K-pop, hundreds of acts rise and fade into obscurity each year. For every successful TVXQ and Girls’ Generation, there have been other groups like The Grace and M.I.L.K.

Since entering the music scene two years ago, JYP Entertainment’s newest heavyweight Twice has stood tall and broken records with hits. The nine-piece group on Saturday once again topped the brand reputation chart based on monthly research by the Korea Reputation Center. Based on big data related to certain keywords -- in this case girl groups -- the center analyzes which K-pop acts are most valuable.

Twice (JYP Entertainment)
Twice (JYP Entertainment)

“About 73.99 percent of the links related to Twice were positive, with keywords like “Momo (a Twice member), No. 1, Likey (Twice’s song) popping up most frequently,” the KRC said, noting that the girl-group-related data circulating from Oct. 9 to Nov. 10 had surged by 24.5 percent compared to the earlier month.

In terms of YouTube views among K-pop girl groups, Twice is in a league of its own.

On Thursday, it became the fastest K-pop girl group to top 40 million views on the video-sharing site. It did so in a little under 10 days with the music video for “Likey” -- the lead track of its first full-length studio album “Twicetagram.”

The previous record was held by another one of its songs, “Knock Knock,” which passed the mark in 19 days.

It remains the only K-pop girl group to have three videos with 200 million views or more, with all five songs that it has promoted -- “Like Ooh-Aah,” “Cheer Up,” “TT,” “Knock Knock” and “Signal” -- all surpassing 100 million views.

According Forbes, 1.6 million copies of its records have been sold as of Saturday and JYP’s stock price has hit a five-year high since releasing “Likey.”

Winning combination

The nine members of the group came together via a competition survival show, “Sixteen,” in early 2015, with Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, and Chaeyoung originally being selected. But JYP’s producer and founder Park Jin-young abruptly announced that he would expand the group to nine members by adding the “audience’s pick,” Tzuyu, and his hand-picked member Momo.

The decision sparked controversy among fans and sparked concerns that the fairness of the selection process would be tainted. The members’ varying nationalities -- five Koreans, one Taiwanese, and three Japanese -- also appeared to be a factor.

But the nine members say that their differences are hardly an issue. If anything, they said they owe a large part of their success to their chemistry.

“Language is important, but I don’t think it is a big issue. Nine people who love dance and music have gathered to encourage each other and perform,” Taiwan-born Tzuyu said in an interview with Nikkei Style. “The different nationalities can be a positive factor, but I don’t think it hinders us.”

The group’s success in Japan after its official debut in July is a testament to Twice’s international fame.

Twice became the fastest selling K-pop girl group of all time last month by surpassing 19,000 copies in just two days after its new release.

As the group reaches superstar status in the country, Twice members said they wish to someday hold a tour across the dome stadiums in Japan.

By Yoon Min-sik