Exo (Korean: 엑소; stylized as EXO) is a South Korean–Chinese boy band based in Seoul with nine members: Suho, Baekhyun, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai, Sehun, Xiumin, Lay and Chen. The band was formed by SM Entertainment in 2011 and debuted in 2012. Their music utilizes genres including pop, hip hop and R&B, alongside electronic dance music genres including house, trap and synth-pop. Exo releases and performs music in Korean, Mandarin and Japanese. The band ranked as one of the top-five most influential celebrities on the Forbes Korea Power Celebrity list from 2014 to 2018 and have been named “the biggest boyband in the world” and the “Kings of K-pop” by the media.
The band initially debuted with twelve members separated into two subgroups; Exo-K (Suho, Baekhyun, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai, and Sehun) and Exo-M (Xiumin, Lay, Chen and former members Kris, Luhan and Tao), performing music in Korean and Mandarin respectively, which continued until 2014. Exo has been active as a single group since then, while continuing to release and perform music in multiple languages. After the departures of Kris, Luhan and Tao amid legal battles in 2014 and 2015, the band continued with the remaining nine members. Since 2016, Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin, have also been active as a sub-unit named Exo-CBX, incorporating the initials of each member’s stage name. All of the band’s members also maintain solo careers in music, film and television.
Exo’s first album XOXO (2013), which contains the breakthrough hit “Growl”, was a critical and commercial success. It sold over one million copies, making Exo the best-selling Korean artist in twelve years.Subsequent albums and EPs also had strong sales; its second album Exodus (2015) and third album Ex’Act (2016) both sold over one million copies each. From 2013 to 2017, these albums, along with Exo’s third EP Overdose (2014), won Exo multiple awards including four consecutive wins each of the Disc Daesang at the Golden Disc Awards, Album of the Year at the Mnet Asian Music Awards and the Daesang award at the Seoul Music Awards. Their fourth album The War (2017) became the band’s best-selling album to date, selling over 1.6 million copies in South Korea and winning Exo a second consecutive Artist of the Year award at the 9th Melon Music Awards and record fifth consecutive Album of the Year award at the 19th Mnet Asian Music Awards. The War also became their highest charting album on the US Billboard 200.
Since Exo’s first headlining tour in 2014, titled Exo from Exoplanet #1 – The Lost Planet, the band has performed over 100 concerts during four tours and has participated in multiple joint tours. Exo is also known for its work outside music, which includes endorsement deals with brands such as Nature Republic and Samsung, and philanthropic efforts such as “Smile for U”, a joint SM Entertainment and UNICEF project that began in 2015, which Exo continues to participate in.