The Bias List’s Most-Played K-Pop & J-Pop Artists

Music reviews have their place, but when it really comes down to it, the most important aspect of a song is how many times you actually play it.

Well, I’m a total nerd when it comes to statistics, and I keep a detailed eye on my iTunes play counts. Apart from music videos and live performances, I listen to everything via my iPhone or iTunes. I am not a streamer.

This habit has led to a detailed list of stats that I enjoy pouring over every once and awhile. For a while now, I’ve wanted to document them in a more meaningful way, and that’s where this feature comes in.

You may or may not be interested in actually seeing this, and this may become the most self-indulgent series of posts in Bias List history, but I’m going to do it anyway. And, I challenge you to do the same!

For play count information, I use the “Play Time” app, though I only started using iTunes properly in May of 2015. Any play counts from prior to that month exist somewhere in the ether, never to be retrieved. That gives a serious disadvantage to second-gen groups – some of which I love dearly but barely made it onto the list (or didn’t make it at all).

Below, you’ll find four tables – two for K-pop, and two for J-pop. The first is simply a ranking of my top-played artists – Top 25 for K-pop, Top 10 for J-pop. The second attempts to account for the disparity in discography size. Obviously, an artist with 300 songs is going to have more play counts than one with 50. So, for this second round of tables, I used the following formula to come up with a weighted score:

Total plays ÷ Number of songs from that artist in my collection

I plan to add follow-up posts to this feature every once and awhile, updating to see who rises and falls. This may end up being for my gratification only, but hopefully it can give more context to the “bias” behind my reviews.

Go straight to: K-Pop (Play Count Rank) // K-Pop (Weighted Rank) // J-Pop (Play Count Rank) // J-Pop (Weighted Rank)


 1. Infinite 1,161
 2. TVXQ 900
 3. EXO 891
 4. Seventeen 756
 5. SHINee 709
 6. Super Junior 609
 7. BTS 583
 8. Astro 580
 9. GFriend 571
 10. Golden Child 555
 11. B1A4 545
 12. Lovelyz 475
 13. NCT 127 468
 14. Red Velvet 459
 15. GOT7 431
 16. Twice 416
 17. Snuper 411
 18. Pentagon 383
 19. DAY6 376
 20. Stray Kids 365
 21. Monsta X 364
 22. UP10TION 350
 23. Cosmic Girls 346
 24. ATEEZ 341
 25. VIXX 339


 1. Golden Child 13.54
 2. Infinite 8.80
 3. Astro 8.79
 4. Seventeen 8.69
 5. Snuper 7.60
 6. ATEEZ 7.58
 7. EXO 7.30
 8. NCT 127 6.88
 9. Stray Kids 6.64
 10. Lovelyz 6.60
 11. GFriend 6.21
 12. Cosmic Girls 6.07
 13. Red Velvet 5.00
 14. Pentagon 4.91
 15. UP10TION 4.61
 16. Twice 4.38
 17. DAY6 4.37
 18. B1A4 4.36
 19. SHINee 3.87
 20. VIXX 3.65
 21. Monsta X 3.53
 22. BTS 3.47
 23. Super Junior 3.44
 24. TVXQ 3.28
 25. GOT7 2.76


 1. Kis-My-Ft2 905
 2. KAT-TUN 743
 3. News 741
 4. Hey! Say! JUMP 710
 5. Arashi 410
 6. AAA 354
 7. Bullet Train 332
 8. Sexy Zone 327
 9. T.M.Revolution 263
 10. V6 234


 1. Bullet Train 3.49
 2. Kis-My-Ft2 3.44
 3. KAT-TUN 2.97
 4. News 2.96
 5. Hey! Say! JUMP 2.80
 6. AAA 2.01
 7. T.M.Revolution 1.96
 8. Sexy Zone 1.78
 9. Arashi 1.59
 10. V6 1.31


28 thoughts on “The Bias List’s Most-Played K-Pop & J-Pop Artists

    • With a lot of these J-pop acts, you have to actually buy the physical albums. I usually buy second-hand (because new ones are so over-priced), using a proxy shopping service because places like Amazon Japan don’t ship most items to the States.

      Other than that… I have my ways. But yes, bilibili is a good resource for J-pop mvs that you can’t find on youtube. They’re all fan uploaded, though, so the quality ranges quite a bit. If you want the real thing, you’ve gotta fork over the cash for the dvds/blu-rays that come with albums. It’s a real rabbit hole, let me tell you!


  1. I’m a longtime Spotify user, so I like to play around with the slew of third-party statistic websites built for it. Apparently my top 5 songs of all time are:

    1. My Childhood Story — Sandeul
    2. Very Nice — Seventeen
    3. Stay As You Are — Sandeul
    4. Mansae — Seventeen
    5. Without You — NCT U

    I haven’t listened to the Seventeen songs regularly or the Sandeul songs really… at all since late 2017, so I must have just streamed the life out of them at some point! BTS is still listed as my top artist, too, even though I stopped listening to all but a handful of their songs maybe six months after discovering them. All of my “all time” lists are nearly exclusively things I haven’t listenEd to much in at least a couple years but, if nothing else, it’s a nice trip down memory lane!


    • Wow the taste here. I really loved Sandeul’s debut album and My Childhood Story was my fave track on it next to the Wheein duet.

      2016 Seventeen is also top tier Seventeen for me and stays in heavy rotation tbh.


      • Haha, thanks! Sandeul’s album is part of what sold me on Korean music in general, honestly — it showed me that there was more to the scene than the more aggressive(?) tracks Spotify had given me at that point (Block B’s Very Good, NCT 127’s Fire Truck, all that jazz), and My Childhood Story remains my favorite off the album by a huge margin (not to mention how incredibly talented a vocalist Sandeul is!). I should bring it back into my rotation.

        Seventeen was the second group I ever properly followed, after Astro, so I think the two tracks I mentioned may have fallen out of favor a bit because they were severely over-listened to in my heyday as a fan. I don’t think I had made full sense of the K-Pop industry until a few months after I found them, so I really didn’t have much else to listen to. Those two are still among my favorites in general, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My top 5 goes like this:
    1. Super Junior
    2. TVXQ
    3. BTS
    4. EXO
    5. Infinite

    And just pointing out casually but Nick this method is not fair for artists with a lot of songs.
    Although I get why you used the weighted score idea but in a given time we usually want to change up artist’s song rather than listening to a single group’s songs.

    Eg. I have one hour, I play a list… Although I many like the second song of the artist that comes, I just click skip because time is limited and I want to listen to all the artists I have in mind.

    But in weighted score the score get less simply bcoz the number of songs of that artist is more.
    So 1 song from 2 groups everyday, meaning u love both songs equally, but the weighted score becomes more for an artist with 10 songs and disadvantageous for the group with 100 songs… because we’re less likely going to listen to 100 songs of 1 group each & every day(probably the top 10)..that would take the whole listening time.

    Well I don’t think I was able to explain it in this way.
    But then again there is no need to be this serious and you do you Nick.
    God bless.


    • Yes, neither of these metrics are a perfect representation, which is why I included both. For example, if you were to look at my first table, you’d think I play TVXQ all day, every day. And… I do play a lot of TVXQ! But, I’ve got 274 of their songs in my iTunes, so even if I only play each one twice, they’re making it high on my list. On the weighted chart, they’re much lower, because there are a lot of TVXQ songs that I just don’t play that often. But, I’m a completest — so I like to have them all at the ready just in case.

      Whereas, Golden Child only have 41 tracks in my iTunes, but I’ve played all of them many, many times. With these two contrasting metrics, it’s hard to draw a clear conclusion. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, I suspect.


  3. Hey , this seems like one of the best features for your site , can I borrow it for mine? I’m just asking If I can borrow it and If you have a problem with it then it’s fine 🙂.
    Btw mine is more like this:
    1. Golden Child
    2. Seventeen
    3. Infinite
    4. Shinee
    5. Snuper
    6. B1A4
    7. EXO
    8. Ateez
    9. Gfriend
    10. Astro
    All of them are my Personal Favorites
    Most listened K-pop Songs:
    1. Golden Child – Lately
    2. SHINee – One Minute Back
    3. Infinite – Wind
    4. SHINee – Lucifer
    5. Taeyang – Eyes , Nose and Lips
    6. Astro – Hide and Seek
    7. Golden Child – Lady
    8. Snuper – Star Of The Stars
    9. Ateez – Utopia
    10. Infinite – The Chaser

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m surprised to find Gfriend is in your most played list, considering your reviews about them in past years. Also surprised on how you manage those Jpop lists, I became a Jpop casual listener since 2011 and the only obstacle to like more boy groups is their music (especially Johnnys) is very hard to find.

    Oh Nick, and do you have any plan to write about streaming Jpop? I find it interesting to know your take on this hot topic (at least on Twitter lol) due to the world’s increasing demand on streaming service


    • You underestimate just how much I played GFriend’s 2015-2017 stuff (and a lot of their more recent b-sides)!

      No plans to write about J-pop streaming at the moment, though I’m of two minds. On one hand, I’m very anti-streaming (especially given what it’s done to the industry), but I’d also like some J-pop to be more accessible.

      Yet… accessibility often brings watering down, and I certainly don’t want that either. Wow, I guess I’ve got more to say about this issue than I thought. Maybe I *should* make a post! Haha (but would anyone actually want to read it?)


      • Yess, I found myself skipping their A-sides (because I repeat them too much) but always listen their full album/EP. Hey, you should update their Top Ten list next month lol, they going to have a comeback.

        I am sure you will have many points to talk since I am not seeing much anti-streaming opinion online, and by discussing both its dis/advantages, I think it will help us to know more how we can support an artist in a best possible way.

        Haha take your time, Nick. Personally I love to read more of your opinion in music industry.


  5. Mine is all girl groups, as expected:

    1. IZ*ONE
    2. GFriend
    3. WJSN
    4. LOONA
    5. TWICE
    6. Red Velvet
    7. Nogizaka46 (Jpop)
    8. Fromis_9
    9. Oh My Girl
    10. Dreamcatcher
    11. SNSD
    12. Lovelyz
    13. Taeyeon
    14. EXO (yay first boy group)
    15. The Boyz


  6. Mine goes like this (+most listened song of each group):
    1. SHINee (Lucifer)
    2. EXO (Mama)
    3. KARA (Step)
    4. 9muses (Figaro)
    5. SNSD (Genie)
    6. Infinite (Paradise)
    7. Sistar (Loving U)
    8. Orange Caramel (Lipstick)
    9. Red Velvet (Dumb Dumb)
    10. SEVENTEEN (Very Nice)
    11. After School (Shampoo)
    12. AOA (Like A Cat)
    13. Stray Kids (Miroh)
    14. TWICE (Fancy)
    15. NCT _all units_ (Superhuman)

    That’s only counting Kpop groups ofc. If I were to include western “artists” it’d be:
    1. The Beatles
    2. David Bowie
    3. Pink Floyd
    4. Franz Liszt
    5. Queen
    6. everyone else


  7. I don’t know how to preserve counts on itunes from computer to computer, so all my counts reset last October with new computer.

    If I had to guess, the highest plays per song normalization would be for Big Bang, only because darling daughter would borrow my ipod and listen to Fantastic Baby and such on repeat.


  8. I’ll bite:

    1. LOONA (this is exclusively related to them being my gateway to the genre – I’ve since fallen off, hard)
    2. Red Velvet
    3. Infinite (and I only started with them in January!)
    4. NCT 127
    5. TWICE
    6. WJSN
    7. ATEEZ
    8. TXT
    9. LOONA/Odd Eye Circle
    10. SHINee

    1. Yves – new
    2. Odd Eye Circle – Girl Front
    3. TXT – Crown
    4. Kim Lip – Eclipse
    5. Red Velvet – Power Up
    6. Odd Eye Circle – Sweet Crazy Love
    7. Sunmi – Siren
    8. Infinite – The Chaser
    9. Hyolyn – See Sea
    10. Choerry – Love Cherry Motion

    Gosh, LOONA used to be good. Also, this is Kpop only, natch – full list goes Kylie, Madonna, Charli, Gaga, and… Panic! At the Disco. Heh.


    • It’s funny you should mention this, because over the past month or so I’ve been down a wormhole of Hello Project and Sakamichi Series groups. There’s some wonderful stuff in both discographies, though I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface.

      I’m slowly getting there, so expect more J-pop girl group reviews in the future!


  9. I’m also someone who loves looking at stats. I actually have my Itunes filtered to show me the last time I’ve played a song, the amount of times skipped and the amount played. I just really enjoy seeing the information. I think it would be cool to include your top 25 most played songs. I can kind of guess what yours would be due to following this blog for for three years but I think it would be cool to see which songs you listen to the most.
    1. BTS
    2. GOT7
    3. Monsta X
    4. EXO
    5. Seventeen
    6. VIXX
    7. BAP
    8. Block B
    9. SF9
    10. Pentagon
    11. NCT 127
    12. Boyfriend
    13. Shinee
    14. IKON
    15. Beast
    16. Highlight
    17. Winner
    18. BTOB
    19. Ateez
    20. Up10tion
    21. Stray Kids
    22. Super Junior
    23. Oneus
    24. Topp Dogg
    25. Infinite


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