Experts usually say that K-pop genealogy can be traced back to the mid-1990s. And although a line cannot be clearly drawn, the representative groups for each generation changed every five to ten years.
The mid to late 1990s saw the arrival of K-pop's first generation of stars.
SM Entertainment's H.O.T. and S.E.S, along with DSP Media's Fin.K.L and SECHSKIES paved the way for artists to come up with Korea's own dance and hip-hop music.
"We could say this was a so-called K-pop test period without a proper management system or agencies. The reigning aesthetic during this generation was dubbed African-American style hip-hop music, on top of which other experimental music could be added."
The mid 2000s to the early 2010s could be considered the time when numerous pioneering acts helped shape today’s global K-pop industry.
Among them were TVXQ, SUPER JUNIOR, Girls' Generation, SHINee, 2NE1, Wonder Girls and so on.
Addictive, captivating melodies and choreography perfectly in sync, all of them fully supported by big entertainment production agencies.
"Since the second generation they found the possibility their music becoming globally successful, so because of the Hallyu history the success of other Hallyu product such as Korean TV series or Korean film, the second generation idol and their entertainment agency thought more seriously that they could be the international stars."
Still however, the popularity of these groups remained within Asian borders.
BTS, BLACKPINK and TWICE finally sprang on the scene and brought worldwide attention to the K-pop industry and pushed K-pop beyond Asian countries.
The messages shared in their songs started to change: telling their fans how important it is to love themselves, and encouraging listeners to be courageous.
In the early 2020s new idol groups such as ITZY, IVE, G-IDLE and aespa were unveiled.
Thanks to BTS, fourth generation idols now consider themselves as global artists with the international audience in mind with everything they do.
Now with solid fandom and a concrete music base, idols are expanding musical diversity even more.
Acts are also exploring totally new concepts like aespa, whose group identity is connected to avatars in the digital space so that each member can appear virtually in music videos and performances.
"From the first generation to the fourth. With the passage of time, the representative idol groups that swept the charts and enjoyed popularity have changed. Yet, K-pop idols a major part of an overhaul in Korea's arts and entertainment sector have consistently expanded their influence from the beginning. Now that K-pop is receiving worldwide attention from global fans, it won't come as a surprise to see more global superstars like BTS continuing that success. Kim Bo-kyoung, Arirang news."