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 incorporates genres like pop, hip-hop, and R&B, alongside electronic dance music genres like 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 each year from 2014 to 2018, and have been named “the biggest boy band in the world” and the “kings of K-pop” by the media.
The band debuted with 12 members separated into two sub-groups: Exo-K (Suho, Baekhyun, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai, and Sehun) and Exo-M (Xiumin, Lay, Chen, and former members Kris, Luhan, and Tao). Exo-K and Exo-M performed music in Korean and Mandarin, respectively, until 2014. Exo has been 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 released music and performed as a sub-unit named Exo-CBX. All of Exo’s members also maintain solo careers in fields including 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 12 years. Subsequent albums and EPs had strong sales, with the second album Exodus (2015) and third album Ex’Act (2016) each selling more than one million copies. 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, of Album of the Year at the Mnet Asian Music Awards and of 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 Melon Music Awards, as well as a record fifth consecutive Album of the Year award at the 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, the band has performed over 100 concerts across four tours and has participated in multiple joint tours. Exo is also known for its work beyond 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, and in which Exo continues to participate.