Co-ed Groups
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Co-ed Groups

A co-ed group, also known as a coed group,[1]mixed-gender group[2] or mixed-sex group,[3] is a vocal group that includes both female and male singers,[4] usually in their teenage years or in their twenties.[5]

Historically, co-ed groups have not been as common in pop music as girl groups and boy bands.[1][2][6] Music industry pundits have pointed out that such groups are difficult to market to the typical target demographic of teen pop acts, namely pre-teen and teen girls. According to music writer Jake Austen, girl groups and boy bands appeal to young girls in distinct ways, with girl groups marketed as role models and boy bands marketed as objects of desire, and mixing the two is "unnecessarily confusing".[2]Slate's Dann Halem echoed this sentiment, adding that "it's hard to croon convincingly about the pop world's staple subject--teen-age yearning and heartache--if you're harmonizing with the object of your affection."[1]


In Asia, co-ed groups are not as popular as girl groups and boy bands, and as a result, there are comparatively few groups of this style.

In South Korea, there are comparatively few mixed-gender groups,[7] with entertainment companies tending to stay away from the co-ed concept.[8] Notable co-ed K-pop groups include Cool, Roo'ra, Coed School, and more recently, K.A.R.D.[7][9] In his analysis of the K-pop phenomenon, sociologist John Lie attributes this lack of co-ed groups to the "accentuation of gender archetypes" that has "solidified the practice of creating single-sex groups".[10] In "K-pop - The International Rise of the Korean Music Industry" (2015), author Roald Maliangkay concluded that: "The commercial appeal of [their visual] presentation with a specific, targetable male or female audience helps to explain why, even today, mixed-sex non-uniform K-pop groups are virtually non-existent."[11]

In Japan, AAA has been described as "a rare commodity in J-pop in that they are a mixed-sex group aimed at both female teenagers and male music fans."[12]

In Thailand there are some similar groups like 3.2.1, which debuted in 2010.[13]


While co-ed teen pop groups have not had much success in the United States, several mixed-gender groups have enjoyed success in Europe in the early 2000s, particularly in Scandinavia[14] and the UK.[1][2] Notable examples include Aqua,[14]Vengaboys,[14]S Club 7,[1]A-Teens,[1]Hear'Say,[2]Ace of Base, and Steps.[15] Music writer Jake Austen theorised that the success of these groups in the UK can be attributed to the British public's acceptance of the "disposability of pop acts".[2]

Latin America

Co-ed groups are known in Latin America as "bandas mixtas",[16][17] which literally means "mixed bands". From Mexico, the most famous groups of this kind were: Timbiriche, Kabah, OV7, RBD and Garibaldi.[17][18] From South America there were groups like: Erreway, Teen Angels[19] and Kudai.[20]

There is a new generation of co-ed groups in Latin America, with groups like LemonGrass and MIX5.

LemonGrass is the new Mexican musical group that already aims to become the successor of OV7. It is composed of seven small singers and dancers discovered in 2015 by Ari Borovoy, and they are already playing with their first single "Mi mundo gira contigo".[21] In 2016 they released their single 'Vértigo', a Spanish version of Korean song 'Bar Bar Bar' by girl group 'Crayon Pop'.[22]

MIX5 was the winning band of the reality show 'La Banda 2016'. This group is formed by two girls and three boys of different nationalities.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Halem, Dan (20 April 2001). "No Backstreet Girls Allowed". Slate. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Austen, Jake (1 July 2005). TV-a-Go-Go: Rock on TV from American Bandstand to American Idol. Chicago Review Press. pp. 224, 225. ISBN 978-1556525728.
  3. ^ Railton, Diane (October 2001). "The Gendered Carnival of Pop". Popular Music. Cambridge University Press. 20 (3): 321-331. ISSN 0261-1430. JSTOR 853624.
  4. ^ "'Popstars' goes co-ed next season". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 16 July 2001.
  5. ^ Olsen, Dale A. (30 Jun 2008). Popular Music of Vietnam: The Politics of Remembering, the Economics of Forgetting. Routledge. pp. 112, 113.
  6. ^ McCormick, Moira (25 March 2005). "A*Teens are drawing the tweens". Billboard. 112 (13): 61. ISSN 0006-2510.
  7. ^ a b Benjamin, Jeff (12 January 2017). Most Viewed K-Pop Videos in America, Around the World: December 2016. Billboard.
  8. ^ Herman, Tamar (12 July 2014). "Co-Ed K-Pop The Next Big Thing? SM Subsidiary BALJUNSO To Debut New Mixed Gender Group". Kpopstarz.
  9. ^ Alona (10 February 2013). "Co-Ed Groups in K-Pop".
  10. ^ Lie, John (24 November 2014). K-Pop: Popular Music, Cultural Amnesia, and Economic Innovation in South Korea. Univ of California Press. p. 106. ISBN 9780520283121.
  11. ^ Choi, JungBong and Roald Maliangkay (2015). K-pop - The International Rise of the Korean Music Industry. New York: Routledge. p. 30. ISBN 9781138775961.
  12. ^ AAA at AllMusic
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  14. ^ a b c Sivasubramanian, Shami (25 August 2016). "Why aren't there many mixed-gender K-pop groups?". SBS PopAsia.
  15. ^ May, Lauren (3 November 2011). "Tadworth creator of pop band Steps speaks of delight at their return". YourLocalGuardian. Newsquest Media Group.
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