Blackpink have had a pretty incredible year. The four-piece K-pop sensation – Jennie, Jisoo, Rosé and Lisa – became the first Korean girl group to sell over a million album copies with their October release of “The Album”, which debuted at No 2 on America’s Billboard 200 album chart and topped iTunes album charts in 57 regions around the world. The controversy-stirring music video of How You Like That , a pre-release from “The Album”, chalked up over 100 million views on YouTube only 32 hours after its June 26 release, becoming the fastest YouTube video to reach that milestone – and was close to hitting the 700 million mark at the time of press. The clip also led Blackpink to clinch the Song of the Summer award at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards in August. It’s understandable, then, that fans of the quartet, as well as the pop culture media and world at large, expected Blackpink to be on the nominee list for the 63rd Grammy Awards taking place on January 31, 2021. But this didn’t happen. So what would it take for Blackpink to be honoured with a nomination like K-pop supergroup BTS ? We spoke to industry experts in Korea and the US to get some answers. Why Twice have the most fateful origins story in K-pop More artistry required? A greater display of artistry and creativity could be key, according to Billboard ’s K-pop columnist Jeff Benjamin. “To be noticed at the Grammys, I think the artists first need to show that they are credible musicians,” Benjamin said. “It would be extremely beneficial for Blackpink to open up more about itself as an artist and the way the members contribute to their music and overall work. “In the case of ‘The Album’, Jisoo and Jennie were part of writing the lead track Lovesick Girls . I wish they spoke more about this in interviews as it is a very impressive accomplishment. Without that credibility, it is challenging to be taken seriously, because the Grammys are believed to honour excellence in popular music.” Seoul-based critic Jung Min-jae, who writes for music magazine IZM , agrees. He said one of the challenges for Blackpink is to exhibit artistic integrity that could impress the Grammys’ organiser, the Recording Academy, an American association of music professionals. Covid-19 and K-pop: 7 idols who tested positive Releasing hit songs Jung also underscored the significance of having “ a more impactful hit song ”. “Blackpink’s summer song Ice Cream , which featured pop star Selena Gomez, debuted at No 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but slipped to No 49 in the second week. This implies that the track was not widely appreciated by the general public in the US for enough time,” Jung said. “I believe the quartet needs a more impactful song like BTS’s Dynamite . If Blackpink proves its lasting power on the top spots of the Hot 100 chart and sets a meaningful record, this would help the band take a leap forward in the US.” But the critic also noted that Blackpink has the chance of being nominated next year. “A number of foreign media outlets mentioned the band’s name as a potential nominee this year,” Jung said. “This means that Blackpink is standing out in the US, so I think it can set its sights on a Grammy nomination next year, possibly in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category.” BTS to bring star power to MAMA 2020, moved online due to Covid-19 The Grammys’ conservative system Even though Blackpink has sold more than a million copies of its first full-length player “The Album”, industry experts point out that understanding the Grammys’ system is crucial to getting a nomination – which could potentially pose a challenge to the group. “Since its inception in 2012, the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance has yet to include an American female pop group in its nominations, let alone an international one,” said Danny Lee, founder and chief agent of Asian Agent. The organisation promotes K-pop in the US and aims to bridge the gap between East and West through music, with Blackpink and girl group (G)I-dle are among his clients. “Conversely, the category has embraced male pop groups, with Backstreet Boys in 2019 and BTS in 2021.” Even Blackpink’s powerful international fandom cannot help “Unlike the Billboard Music Awards and American Music Awards – where fans can play a role in the nomination and voting process – the Grammys voting system is comprised [only] of professionally vetted musicians,” Lee said. “For the Grammys Pop category, academy members vote on the first-round ballots to determine the final nominees. Additionally, it is helpful to receive support from rank-and-file voting members to gain entry into the ‘Big Four’ categories – Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist.” K-pop king G-Dragon just dropped US$8 million on a penthouse – take a look Patty Ahn, a communications professor at the University of California, San Diego, who studies Korean pop culture, is another critic of the Grammys’ conservative system. “There is nothing more the band can do now,” Ahn said. “Looking back over the past 10 to 15 years, people would see the Grammys’ overwhelming bias toward white artists. According to a University of Southern California 2018 study, men have been dominating the ‘Big Four’ categories, where women made up only 9.3 per cent of the nominee pool between 2013 and 2018, with women of colour accounting for only 31 per cent of that figure.” [Blackpink] has already made an impressive showing in the American market and the quality of their records is consistently jaw-dropping – what needs to change is the Grammys’ system Patty Ahn, Korean pop culture academic Ahn said that Asian and Asian-American performers have had a particularly poor showing over the award's 62-year history. “The Grammy voters have really only recognised English-speaking female solo artists such as Yoko Ono and H.E.R.,” Ahn said. “The 2021 nominee list shows a meagre attempt at redressing these long-standing issues. Even for BTS, it took years to be nominated, although it shattered records on multiple major music charts. “In the case of Blackpink, it has already made an impressive showing in the American market and the quality of their records is consistently jaw-dropping – what needs to change is the Grammys' system.” Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter . This article originally appeared on Korea Times. For more great stories on Korean entertainment, artist profiles and the latest news, visit K-post, SCMP's K-pop hub .