FIFTY FIFTY, XG Score Wins for Asian Pop Groups at U.S. Radio
As Asian pop acts have established a greatly increased presence in U.S. popular music over the past five years, one sector of the industry has long proven the most difficult to impact on a consistent level: pop radio.
While BTS smashes like “Dynamite” and “Butter” stand as exceptions, top 40 stations have generally shied away from the latest offerings from Asian pop collectives, even as those groups rack up seven-figure streaming numbers and headline arenas in the States. BLACKPINK, for instance, has only notched one non-collaborative single on Billboard‘s Pop Airplay chart to date (“Pink Venom,” which peaked at No. 32 last year), while groups like TWICE, Loona and (G)I-dle have only been able to achieve fleeting appearances on the tally.
Yet a pair of English-language singles from the relatively new collectives FIFTY FIFTY and XG are not only turning into profile-boosting breakthroughs for each – they’re receiving real, growing radio play as well.
The K-pop quartet FIFTY FIFTY has seen its dreamy bubblegum track “Cupid” and its accompanying English-language version “Cupid – Twin Version” explode over the course of the spring. As “Cupid” rises two spots on this week’s Billboard Hot 100 chart to No. 17, the single also debuts at No. 36 on the latest Pop Airplay chart.
“Cupid” is gaining serious steam at radio, with the girl group’s track registering 1,700 total plays across U.S. terrestrial and satellite radio in the week ending May 11, according to Luminate. That number represents a 228% jump from the prior week, and “Cupid” has now earned 2,400 total plays.
Meanwhile, XG, the seven-member Japanese girl group that debuted under the XGALX label last January, has yet to hit the Hot 100 with its slinky, rhythmic electro-pop track “Left Right” — but as of now, the song is an even bigger radio hit than “Cupid” in the U.S. In its tenth week on the Pop Airplay chart, “Left Right” reaches a new peak, climbing two spots to No. 27.
The single – which XG’s Jurin told Billboard in January is “about our commitment to move forward, the only direction we know” – earned 3,000 radio plays in the week ending May 11, a 7% increase from the previous week. To date, “Left Right” has scored 20,000 total radio plays.
Both groups are capitalizing on the radio exposure: XG released a “Left Right” remix featuring Jackson Wang and Ciara earlier this month, and are slated to perform at the Head in the Clouds festival in New York this weekend. And FIFTY FIFTY announced a partnership with Warner Records last month — suggesting that, even as “Cupid” pushes up to No. 3 on the Global 200 chart, the four-piece will have an expanded focus in the United States in the coming months.
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