Blackpink began forming when YG Entertainment held tryouts worldwide for preteen or teenage recruits to create a new girl group after launching its first major girl group, 2NE1, in 2009. According to the members, joining the label as trainees was similar to enrolling in a full-time pop-star academy, with Jennie describing the experience as "more strict than school" and Rosé comparing it to The X Factor with dorm rooms. For members who had left their lives outside of South Korea, the pace of training alongside the culture shock was especially difficult. Preparations for Blackpink's debut began as early as 2011, when YG Entertainment revealed on November 14 that their new girl group would debut in the early half of 2012 and feature at least seven members. Since then, numerous news and rumors surfaced surrounding the new girl group's debut being delayed, although there had been no official information. It was only until May 18, 2016, that YG Entertainment confirmed the girl group would debut that July, stating that the members were selected through years of stiff competition. The label later confirmed that Jang Hanna and Moon Sua, who were introduced to the public as potential members of the new girl group, were not included in the lineup.
Jennie was the first group member revealed, on June 1. She joined YG Entertainment as a trainee in 2010 after moving back to South Korea from New Zealand. She had been introduced to the public for the first time in 2012 in a photo titled "Who's that girl?" on YG Entertainment's website on April 10. Jennie continued to be promoted as a member of the new girl group through multiple collaborations: she starred in G-Dragon's 2012 music video for "That XX" from his One of a Kind EP and featured in the song "Black" from his 2013 album Coup d'etat (2013) and Lee Hi's song "Special" from her album First Love (2013). Lisa was revealed as the new girl group's second member on June 8, 2016. She was the only individual among 4,000 applicants to pass the 2010 YG Entertainment audition in her native Thailand and became the label's first foreign trainee in 2011. She was first introduced in 2012 in a video that was posted on YG Entertainment's YouTube channel, titled "Who's That Girl???". Lisa also appeared in the music video for Taeyang's "Ringa Linga" in 2013. She became a spokesperson for street-wear brand Nona9on in 2015 and cosmetics brand Moonshot in 2016.
On June 15, Jisoo was revealed to be the new group's third member. She joined YG Entertainment as a trainee in July 2011 and appeared in several advertisements and music videos in her pre-debut years, including "Spoiler + Happy Ending" (2014) from Epik High's studio album Shoebox and Hi Suhyun's music video "I'm Different" (2014). She also made a cameo appearance in 2015 drama The Producers. Rosé was the final member to be revealed, on June 22, 2016. She ranked first among 700 applicants in the 2012 YG Entertainment audition in Australia, after which she signed a trainee contract with the label and moved to Seoul to begin training. She featured in G-Dragon's track "Without You" (2012) from One of a Kind, credited as "? from YG New Girl Group" until her official public introduction.
On June 15, 2018, the group released their first Korean-language EP, titled Square Up. The lead single, "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du", debuted at number 17 on the Official Trending Chart in the United Kingdom, making them the first female K-pop group to enter the chart since its launch in 2016. The single also debuted at number 55 on the Billboard Hot 100, with 12.4 million U.S. streams and 7,000 downloads in the tracking week ending June 21, 2018, making Blackpink the highest-charting Korean girl group on the chart. The single also debuted at number 39 on the U.S. Streaming Songs chart, making Blackpink became the first K-pop girl group to enter the chart. Square Up also brought the group their first entry and the highest-charting album by an all-female K-pop group at the time of its release on the Billboard 200, debuting at number 40 with 14,000 equivalent units. The EP also topped the Billboard World Albums chart. In South Korea, Square Up debuted at number one on Gaon Albums Chart. "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du" peaked at number one on the digital, download, streaming, and mobile charts on Gaon in its second week, while "Forever Young" peaked at number two. YouTube's official tally saw the music video for "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du" garner a total of 36.2 million views within 24 hours after its release, making it the most-viewed online video in the first 24 hours by a Korean act and the second most-watched music video of all time in first 24 hours of release at that time.
The group's first documentary film, Blackpink: Light Up the Sky, premiered on Netflix on October 14, 2020, and covered the four years since the group's debut in 2016. The documentary included footage from their training days, looks at their home lives, behind-the-scenes stories and interviews with the members, as well as glimpses into the making of The Album. The commercial success of The Album, combined with the group's Netflix documentary, resulted in Blackpink topping Bloomberg's Pop Star Power Ranking for the month of October; they are the first Korean artist to top the ranking since its inception in April of that year.
Blackpink (Korean: 블랙핑크; commonly stylized as BLACKPINK or BLΛƆKPIИK) is a South Korean girl group formed by YG Entertainment, consisting of members Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa. The group debuted in August 2016 with their single album Square One, which featured "Whistle" and "Boombayah", their first number-one entries on South Korea's Gaon Digital Chart and the Billboard World Digital Song Sales chart, respectively.
Promotions for their debut began in the first week of August 2016 with the release of teaser images, videos, and advertisements. The first girl group to debut under YG Entertainment in seven years, Blackpink released their debut single album, Square One, on August 8, 2016, consisting of tracks "Boombayah" and "Whistle". They charted at number one and two on the Billboard World Digital Song Sales chart, making Blackpink the fastest act to achieve such a feat and the third Korean artist to hold the top two positions simultaneously, after label mates Psy and Big Bang. "Whistle" quickly topped the Gaon digital, download, streaming, and mobile charts. The group also reached number one on the weekly, popularity, music video, and K-pop music video charts of China's biggest music-streaming service, QQ Music. Blackpink's first music show performance aired on August 14, 2016, on SBS's Inkigayo. They won first place on Inkigayo thirteen days after their debut, breaking the record for the shortest time for a girl group to win on a music program after debut. They wrapped up promotions for Square One on September 11, 2016, with another win on Inkigayo.
On June 29, YG Entertainment confirmed that the new girl group would have four members instead of the originally planned nine and revealed its official name as Blackpink. According to a label representative, the group's name meant "pretty isn't everything" and symbolized that "they are a team that encompasses not only beauty, but also great talent." Jisoo later disclosed in a press conference that other group names under consideration included Pink Punk, Baby Monster, and Magnum. Blackpink released their first dance practice video on July 6, which garnered much public attention. On July 29, YG Entertainment confirmed that Blackpink's debut would be on August 8, 2016.
Blackpink released their second single album, Square Two, consisting of tracks "Playing with Fire" and "Stay", on November 1, 2016. The group began their promotions on Inkigayo on November 6 and on Mnet's M Countdown on November 10. "Playing with Fire" was Blackpink's second single to reach number one on the Billboard World Digital Song Sales chart and the first K-pop girl group song to chart on the Canadian Hot 100. In South Korea, "Playing with Fire" peaked at number three while "Stay" placed in the top ten. Blackpink's commercial success in their first five months earned them several rookie awards at major Korean year-end music award shows, including the Asia Artist Awards, Melon Music Awards, Golden Disc Awards, Seoul Music Awards, and Gaon Chart Music Awards. Additionally, Billboard named them one of the best new K-pop groups of 2016.
On January 17, 2017, Blackpink revealed the name of their fan club—"Blink", a portmanteau of "black" and "pink". On June 22, the group released their first standalone digital single, "As If It's Your Last". It was described as a "mixed genre of music" and a change of sound from their previous releases. The song debuted at number one on Billboard's World Digital Song Sales chart one day after release, making it their third number-one hit on the chart. The music video for the song later went on to break the record for the most-liked music video by a Korean girl group on YouTube as well as the most-viewed K-pop group music video in the first 24 hours of release. On July 20, 2017, Blackpink held a showcase at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, which was attended by more than 14,000 people, with as many as 200,000 people attempting to purchase tickets. The group made their Japanese debut on August 30, 2017, with the release of a self-titled Japanese extended play that included Japanese versions of their previous singles. The EP debuted and peaked at the top of the Oricon Albums Chart. Blackpink ranked among YouTube's Global Top 25 Songs of the Summer for 2017 with "As If It's Your Last".
In South Korea, Blackpink have been brand ambassadors or spoke-models of sportswear brand Adidas, luxury hotel and resort Paradise City, contact lens brand Olens, and hair-care brand Mise-En-Scène. In July 2018 and August 2020, the group ranked first among all artists in brand reputation based on analyses by The Korea Reputation Research Institute, making them the only female act to do so. In May 2017, Blackpink became honorary ambassadors for customs service company Incheon Main Customs; banners and videos featuring their images would greet foreign travelers at Incheon International Airport. In April 2018, Blackpink began advertising Sprite Korea. In January 2019, the group became the face of Woori Bank. The group also endorsed and collaborated with other high-end brands, such as sportswear brands Puma and Reebok, luxury fashion houses Louis Vuitton and Dior Cosmetics, cosmetics brand Moonshot, handbag brand St. Scott London, and department store Shibuya 109. Blackpink also released merchandise in collaboration with Tokyo Girls Collection x Cecil McBee in Japan.
On January 6, 2018, Blackpink released the first episode of their first reality show Blackpink House, which comprised 12 episodes released throughout 2018 following the four members spending 100 days of vacation as they moved into their new dorm, via their official V Live and Youtube channels. On March 28, Blackpink re-released their debut Japanese EP under the name Re:Blackpink. The digital version included the same songs as the original release, while the physical version included a DVD containing all music videos and six songs in the Korean language.
In October 2018, the group signed with Interscope Records in a global partnership with YG Entertainment; they were to be represented by Interscope and Universal Music Group outside of Asia. In November 2018, Blackpink announced additional tour dates for their In Your Area World Tour, which covered thirteen dates across Asia from January to March 2019. Jennie made her solo debut with her single "Solo" at Blackpink's Seoul concert on November 11; both the song and its official music video were released the following day. Their first Japanese studio album, Blackpink in Your Area, was made available digitally on November 23 and physically on December 5. The album included Japanese versions of all of their previous releases and debuted at number nine on the Oricon Albums Chart, selling an estimated 13,000 copies in its first week.
In Asia, Blackpink endorsed Samsung, working with the company on multiple campaigns to promote its electronics products, such as the #danceAwesome challenge to promote Galaxy A. In August 2019, Samsung launched a Blackpink Special Edition set in Southeast Asia, comprising its Galaxy A80, Galaxy Watch Active, and Galaxy Buds. The group featured Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy Buds in their "Kill This Love" music video. In November 2018, Blackpink became the first-ever regional brand ambassadors for Singaporean e-commerce platform, Shopee, as part of its partnership with YG Group in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. Thai bank KBank began its partnership with Blackpink in November 2019. In September 2020, Blackpink became spokesperson for Pepsi in the Asia-Pacific region, including Greater China, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Philippine telecommunications company Globe Telecom began its partnership with Blackpink in December 2020 as its brand ambassadors.
In December 2018, Blackpink donated their prize money from the Elle Style Awards 2018, worth ₩20 million (around US$16,630), to low-income and single-parent households in South Korea. In April 2019, Blackpink made a donation of ₩40 million (around US$33,300) to the Hope Bridge Association of the National Disaster Relief for the victims of the Goseong wildfire in South Korea. In April 2020, Blackpink released face masks via UMG-affiliated merchandising company Bravado; all proceeds benefited the Recording Academy's MusiCares initiative, which launched a relief fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the music industry. In December 2020, the group called for action on climate change and promoted the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), hoping their fans will "join us on this journey" to "learn about what's happening, what needs to happen and how we can play our part." On February 25, 2021, Blackpink were formally appointed official advocates for COP26 in Seoul, where they received a personal appreciation letter written by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, for their work in the spread of climate change awareness. On October 23, 2021, the group was apart of the lineup for the Youtube Originals special entitled “Dear Earth”, which focused on encouraging viewers to become more environmentally conscious.
Blackpink has broken numerous online records throughout their career. Their music videos for "Kill This Love" (2019) and "How You Like That" (2020) each set records for the most-viewed music video within the first 24 hours of release, with the latter breaking three and setting two Guinness World Records. They are the first music group and Korean act to have four music videos accumulate one billion views each on YouTube; the most-subscribed music act on the platform; and the most-followed girl group on Spotify, with over 20 million followers as of March 2021. Their other accolades include the New Artist of the Year Award at the 31st Golden Disc Awards and the 26th Seoul Music Awards, the Mnet Asian Music Award for Best Female Group in 2020, the first MTV Music Video Award won by a Korean girl group, and recognition as the first female Korean group on Forbes' 30 Under 30 Asia. They have been recognized by Forbes Korea as one of the most powerful celebrities in South Korea, placing first in 2019, third in 2020, and second in 2021. In January 2021, Blackpink was credited by South Korea's President Moon Jae-in for spreading K-pop content across the globe and acknowledged them as a global K-pop phenomenon.
Since their debut, Blackpink have emerged as a prominent act in K-pop and have been described as the "biggest girl group in the world", "biggest K-pop girl band on the planet", and "K-pop Queens". In South Korea, they have ranked first on Forbes Korea Power Celebrity 40 list in 2019, third in 2020, and second in 2021. Multiple international media outlets, such as Forbes, Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, have recognized the group's popularity and their contribution in spreading the Korean Wave around the world. Blackpink were cited by Rolling Stone as an exception to the stereotype that most successful K-pop acts in the United States are boy groups. The group were also credited as one of the two acts leading the Korean music industry growth by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Blackpink have appeared in multiple power listings and were the first girl group to be included in Forbes' 30 Under 30 Asia. They were also included in the 2019 Time 100 Next list of rising stars who are shaping the future of various fields worldwide, credited with "heralding a new era of Korean acts stepping past language barriers to play global stages" when they became the first K-pop girl group to perform at Coachella. Blackpink was named the biggest music act in the world in the month of October 2020 according to Bloomberg's Pop Star Power Ranking, a first for a Korean act.
Their music video for "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du" became the most-watched music video by a South Korean group in January 2019 and became the first K-pop group music video to surpass one billion views in November 2019. Following the release of "How You Like That" and its music video on June 26, 2020, Blackpink broke five Guinness World Records, including those for the most-viewed YouTube video in the first 24 hours of release (with 86.3 million views) and the most viewers for a video premiere on YouTube (reaching 1.66 million peak concurrent viewers for the live premiere). In 2021, Blackpink was awarded their sixth Guinness World Record for being the most-subscribed band on YouTube, with over 60 million subscribers.
Blackpink made their American debut at the Universal Music Group's 2019 Grammy Artist Showcase, an invite-only event at the ROW in Downtown Los Angeles on February 9, 2019. The group subsequently appeared on several American television shows, including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Good Morning America. That March, they became the first-ever K-pop girl group to cover Billboard magazine.
Blackpink's third extended play, Kill This Love, was released on April 5, 2019, alongside a single of the same name. Kill This Love debuted at number 24 on the Billboard 200, while the lead single reached number 41 on the Hot 100, becoming the highest-charting releases by a female Korean act on the two major Billboard charts. "Kill This Love" ranked at number 66 on Billboard's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2019. The song "Forever Young", released as a B-side from the EP Square Up (2018), surpassed 2.5 million downloads in December 2019, making it the group's fifth song overall and their second to achieve a platinum certification for downloads from the Korea Music Content Association, after "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du". Blackpink performed at the 2019 Coachella Festival on April 12 and 19, 2019, making them the first female K-pop group to do so. The group's Coachella set was well received by both critics and fans alike, with Gab Ginsberg of Billboard calling the show "electrifying" and "unforgettable".
Blackpink have amassed a large following on social media and streaming platforms. They became the most-subscribed music group on YouTube in September 2019, the most-subscribed female artist on YouTube in July 2020, and, as of September 10, 2021, they are the most-subscribed music act, with over 66 million subscribers. Blackpink's members are also the most-followed individuals in South Korea on Instagram, with the first, second, third and fourth most-followed being Lisa, Jennie, Rosé and Jisoo, respectively. Blackpink became the most-followed girl group on Spotify in November 2019; as of March 2021, they have accumulated over 20 million followers.
On October 16, 2019, a Japanese version of Kill This Love was released to the Japanese market, peaking at number 17 on the Oricon Albums Chart. The group embarked to Japan for a variety of promotional activities, including appearances on Japanese music television programs TV Asahi's Music Station and Fuji TV's Love Music. Blackpink were voted PAPER magazine's K-pop Sensation of the Year for the 2019 edition of their annual Break the Internet Awards™ list.
Blackpink were recognized as one of the ten "2020 Visionary" figures, selected by CJ E&M, who inspired the global public with their pioneering work in Korean pop culture in 2020.
On April 22, it was confirmed the group would be working with Lady Gaga on her sixth studio album, Chromatica. Their collaboration, "Sour Candy", was released as a promotional single on May 28, 2020. On the Billboard Hot 100, the song debuted at number 33, giving Blackpink their first top 40 hit and becoming the group's highest-charting song in the United States at the time, as well as the highest-charting song by a K-pop girl group. In Australia, the song debuted at number eight, becoming Blackpink's highest-charting hit in the country. It was also their first top-twenty single in the UK, debuting at number 17.
Blackpink have acquired numerous endorsement deals in various industries throughout their career. Globally, Blackpink were ambassadors for Kia Motors, which also served as title sponsor for the group's In Your Area World Tour. In North America, Blackpink partnered with toy company Jazwares to create a collection of dolls styled in outfits from their music videos, as well as other collectible toy lines. In June 2020, Blackpink collaborated with ZEPETO, a South Korean 3D avatar service operated by Naver Z, to offer fans characters that correspond to each member that allow fans to see the characters sing and dance, as well as take pictures together on the app. Blackpink's virtual fan-sign event on the app was popular among international fans, with the service surpassing 30 million participants as of September 11, 2020, and the number of new users increasing by 300,000 following the release of the "Ice Cream" dance performance video. Additionally, the group also teamed up with the popular battle royale game PUBG Mobile to release collaborative content and events within the game.
Blackpink released their first Korean studio album, The Album, on October 2, 2020, with "Lovesick Girls" as its third and main single. Leading up to the exclusive video premiere of their music video for "Lovesick Girls", Blackpink appeared on Youtube's new original music show Released as its first featured artist, which included "unfiltered access" moments of the group. The Album peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 and the UK Album Chart, making Blackpink the highest-charting Korean female act on each chart. The album also set a first-week album sales record for a Korean girl group, with 590,000 copies sold in just one day after the physical album's release. Blackpink became the first-ever million-selling K-pop girl group with The Album, selling approximately 1.2 million copies in less than one month after release. Blackpink performed "Lovesick Girls" on Good Morning America and Jimmy Kimmel Live! in the United States on October 21.
On December 2, Blackpink announced their collaboration with YouTube Music for their first livestream concert. The live event, dubbed "The Show", was initially set to take place on December 27, 2020, but was rescheduled to January 31, 2021, due to new COVID-19 pandemic regulations introduced in South Korea. The concert featured the first-ever live performances of several songs from The Album, as well as of Rosé's song "Gone" from her first solo single album R. More than 280,000 people purchased memberships to access the show.
Blackpink released a Japanese version of The Album on August 3, 2021. The release included Japanese versions for four out of the eight tracks—"How You Like That", "Pretty Savage", "Lovesick Girls", and "You Never Know"—and came in 12 different physical editions.