This in fact is a myth, and the question itself is worded wrong.
I have decided to clear up this misbelief (once again). Due to a lot of Carats leaving AKP after the revamp, the resurgence of new users brought back this misconception in much larger force compared to before. Usually I wouldn’t respond much to people about this in other threads, because I did not have the time or interest to, but seeing how big this idea of them being “nugu” on western platforms is sort of frustrating to see.
A lot of people love to assume or push the agenda that Seventeen is unpopular or underrated which is not the case, but in reality, they are just under appreciated.
In 2020, as a matter of fact, they were the 2nd best selling Kpop group. Their most recent albums, Heng:Garae (7th mini album) and Semicolon (special album) have both sold over 1M+ copies. In fact they are the second to Bts to have sold 1M+ on 3 albums back to back (— triple million seller in the house). This just punctures the misconception pertaining their “underrated-ness” and their “unpopularity”. An underrated or unpopular group as people would like to say would not be able to easily sell over 1M+/ comeback.
People like to bring up their digitals as an argument, and I understand why they would, but what everyone needs to understand is that there is more then one road to success. We also have to note that they are more fanbase-oriented group rather than a general public based group. They said it themselves numerous times, they do not make music to satisfy the public nor cater towards the public. Another thing to note is that though they may not be at the top or be the best, or one of the best when it comes to digital performance, but it still does not take away from the fact they are above average when it comes to boy groups, and do pretty decently as compared to others.
Despite them not having much general public support, that does NOT mean they are unknown to them. In fact they are coined by the term “EBS” created by the general public themselves. EBS stands for Exo, Bts, and Seventeen, the top boy groups of this time, so the myth once again is shattered. As surprising as it is, the general public watches Seventeen’s variety show to the point that every time it airs, it goes to trending immediately on numerous social media platforms— at one point it even crashed Naver. An even bigger driving force is that just last year, during 2020, Seventeen received Prime Minister’s Commendation by the South Korean government. This is an extremely huge honour to receive, as it’s given to those that are greatly helping in spreading the Korean cultures, and hallyu waves across the world. To receive this by the government is saying something.
It’s undeniable when it comes to their popularity and huge fanbase in South Korea, China, and Japan especially with the records they have broke, set, or joined despite them being “unpopular” and “underrated” in the West. When considering the West, yes, there are groups more well-known to the Kpop sphere in the US or Canada compared to Seventeen, and despite that being the case, they are indeed the 2nd longest charting Kpop act after Bts on the Billboard Social 50 Chart. Even without promotions they are able to sell out arena and venues with ease in America (based off their last stats), and are easily able to challenge groups that actually do promote in the US.
I have a hunch that majority of the time people base their rankings, or what-not off of the Brand Reputation Rankings. This in fact is the most un-credible way to measure popularity or success. That chart that people usually refer to is not even about popularity or success. Even the most unknown of an act could chart on there, TBRR is a chart that is easily manipulated. Another way that’s not the most credible would be YouTube views. This is actually not the most credible way to gauge or measure someone’s popularity and I feel like many would agree on this, but it also depends on which artists we have in the talks.
Regardless of their fanbase being lazy when it comes to streaming on YouTube, Seventeen still managed to be the 3rd most streamed boy group on Spotify (1.3B streams) even after people mocking them for having bad streams. They still manage to sell millions easily (them having the 2nd most sales last year proves this), having hundred-thousands’ of people attending their concerts (their dome tour selling out in minutes is a proof of that), having other artists and people acknowledge and respect them, and them charting decently is a proof of their popularity and success. The main idea here is that there is more then one way when it comes to success and popularity.
As stated before, the question of this thread itself is worded incorrectly. This thread (again) is an emphasis and a response to all the misconception and ignorance. Not to bring down anyone, but a lot of the underrated groups (by factual definition) would love to be in the top 3, in Seventeen’s place. People just need to be more mindful when it comes to using words, because a lot of the times these ideas spread, and sooner or later it turns into a spiral of webs. Seventeen is not underrated or unpopular they are just under-appreciated in the West, again, the key-word here is the West.
Thanks for coming to my Ted-talk.