Virtual idols may be the future of K-pop groups
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It’s been suspected and predicted time and time again, but now it may be safe to say that it's actually true: Virtual idols are a thing, and they're becoming quite big, too.

Virtual boy band Plave won MBC’s weekly music show “Show! Music Core” on March 9 with its latest track “Way 4 Luv,” becoming the first ever virtual K-pop "idol," as the profession is referred to in Korea, to take the No. 1 place on one of Korea’s regular television music programs.

It might not be the Grammys or the Billboard Music Awards, but the fact that a nonhuman idol bested its real-life competitors Le Sserafim and Bibi may open the latest chapter in K-pop — in which the words “digital” and “virtual” truly come to life.

Five-member virtual boy band Plave [VLAST]

Who, or what, is Plave?

Plave is a five-member virtual boy band — with real people behind the virtual facade — created by Vlast, a local tech startup that began as a special project from television broadcaster MBC in 2021. The company was founded in February 2022 and rolled out Plave on March 12, 2023.

Its five members — Yejun, Eunho, Hamin, Bamby and Noah — debuted with a fictional storyline, just as many real K-pop acts do, as residents of the virtual world Caelum who end up in a special in-between world, Asterum, where they can communicate with the people of Terra, the Earth, by using technology.

The journey of the five members is depicted in the band’s music videos, such as “Wait For You” (2023) and “Way 4 Luv,” and the members often refer to each other as aliens and talk about their home planet during live sessions with fans, staying true to their concept.

Plave [VLAST]

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