The Best-Selling Albums in South Korean History - Part 7: 30-21

The Best-Selling Albums in South Korean History - Part 7: 30-21

Continuing on from yesterday’s article, we step straight into part seven of our series of the best-selling albums in South Korean history.


Our list of the ninety-seven albums which have sold more than one million copies in South Korea - making them the best-selling albums in South Korean history - continues with the next ten entries: numbers thirty through twenty-one.

The figures showcased in this series of articles were sourced from Wikipedia, and all album figures were correct at the time of writing.

30: Various artists - Sonata (1,815,296 copies sold)

A collection of musical pieces by various South Korean artists, “Sonata” has sold more than 1.8 million copies over the last twenty years.

29: Kim Gun-mo - Excuses (1,830,000 copies sold)

Following on from his previous appearance just two entries ago, it’s Busan-born pop and ballad singer Kim Gun-mo.


His second studio album, “Excuses”, was released in 1993, and was almost twice as popular in terms of album sales as his debut album - 1992’s “Sleepless Rainy Night” - had been.

“Excuses” has sold some 1.83 million copies over the past three decades, beating out “Exchange” by some 20,000 copies.

28: NCT - Universe (1,837,313 copies sold)

Once again a piece featuring all of the NCT sub-units working together on a studio album, the NCT 2021 project makes an appearance at number twenty-eight on this list.

The NCT 2021 Universe project studio album “Universe” featured twenty-one of the super-group’s twenty-three members, with member Winwin unable to participate due to being in China at the time, and member Lucas placed on an ongoing hiatus by SM Entertainment.


The thirteen-track album features songs from NCT U, WayV, NCT Dream, and NCT 127, and placed at number five on the South Korean Gaon end-of-year chart.

“Universe” has sold almost 1.84 million copies since it was originally released late last year.

27: G.o.d - Chapter 3 (1,849,381 copies sold)

First generation SM Entertainment K-pop idol group g.o.d makes their second appearance on this list of the best-selling albums in South Korean history with their third studio album.


Featuring the song “Lies” as the album’s title track, “Chapter 3” showcases elements of K-pop, R&B, and dance pop amongst its thirteen tracks. The album also features one of g.o.d’s most well-known songs - “One Candle” - whose lyrics were inspired by a quote that Park Jin-young saw in graffiti while visiting New York City:

“Better to light a candle than curse the darkness”

Much like their previous entry on this list, “Chapter 3” saw the entire album being produced by JYP Entertainment’s Park Jin-young. The album also features HYBE Labels CEO Bang Si-hyuk as a composer and co-lyricist alongside Park Jin-young on the song “Why”.

“Chapter 3” sold almost 1.85 million copies over the last two decades.

26: DJ DOC - DJ2DOC (1,950,000 copies sold)

Hip-hop trio DJ DOC makes their second appearance after previously being showcased in ninety-sixth place with “4th Album”.


The trio’s 1996 album “DJ2DOC” was their third studio album, and was released under the Shinchon Music label. The album was also their best selling ever.

Over the last quarter of a century, “DJ2DOC” has sold 1.95 million copies around South Korea.

25: Byun Jin-sub - Back To You (2,000,000 copies sold)

Pop singer Byun Jin-sub makes his third appearance on the list with his second studio album.


Originally released in the October of 1989, “Back to You” was released under the Ssangyong label, and was Byun Jin-sub’s best-selling album of all time.

Back to You” has sold 2,000,000 copies across South Korea in the last thirty years, although some claims have been made that it may have sold up to 3,000,000 copies.

24: Yoo Jae-ha - Because I Love You (2,000,000 copies sold)

Yoo Jae-ha had a great musical legacy, with his debut album exerting a great influence over Korean popular music at the time.


The 1987 album “Because I Love You” was released through Seoul Records, but the artist, unfortunately, passed away in a car accident a few months after the album’s release, making it the artist’s only album to ever be released.

“Because I Love You” has also achieved sales of some 2,000,000 copies across South Korea.

23: Jo Sung-mo - For Your Soul (2,047,152 copies sold)

Returning to a list for the second time following their previous entry with the 2000 album “Classic”, it’s Korean pop ballad singer Jo Sung-mo.


Jo Sung-mo’s second studio album, 1999’s “For Your Soul”, was a commercial success in South Korea, almost tripling the sales figures for his previously released debut album, 1998’s “To Heaven”.

“For Your Soul” has sold almost 2.05 million copies, making it one of the best-selling albums in South Korean history.

22: Jo Sung-mo - Let Me Love (2,072,029 copies sold)

And Jo Sung-mo is already straight back immediately following his previous entry.


This time, the pop ballad singer’s fourth studio album - “Let Me Love” (first released in 2000) - makes its entry onto the list. The album was the second to last album Jo Sung-mo released under record label GM before making the move to Warner Music Korea, and had the distinction of peaking at number one on South Korea’s album charts.

Jo Sung-mo’s “Let Me Love” has sold almost 2.1 million copies since it was first released more than twenty years ago.

21: NCT Dream - Glitch Mode (2,108,183 copies sold)

Featuring members Mark, Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung, SM Entertainment’s supergroup NCT subunit NCT Dream is up next.

Previously showcased in this list in the form of its repackaged version “Beatbox”, NCT Dream’s recent release “Glitch Mode” just misses out on the top twenty albums by total sales figures.


“Glitch Mode” beats out its repackaged version in “Beatbox” by some 600,000 copies, achieving a total of more than 2.1 million copies sold in the less than six months since it was released.

*Please note: As a popular recent release, figures for this album may drastically change, and the above figures were correct at the time of writing.

Have you listened to any of the albums listed above, or do you own any of them? Which of these ten albums are your favourite? Let us know by commenting on our socials @KpopWise. And make sure to tune in tomorrow as we showcase the albums from number twenty to eleven on our list of the best-selling albums in South Korean history.

Ford Carter

Ford Carter is an online blogger studying journalism who's hundreds of articles across half a dozen fansites from the music and television industries have now been read more than 300,000 times. An avid fan of EXO since 2014, and a more in-depth multi-stan since 2019, Ford is a lover of international music and media from across Eurasia. Trot music holds a special place in his heart, as its sound is a perfect blend of kpop and Eastern European funk, two of his favourite genres. From his home in regional Australia, you'll often find him binging kdramas or rewatching old editions of the Eurovision Song Contest.

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