Beginning from January 20, 2012, YG Entertainment began releasing teasers for Big Bang's 5th mini-album Alive, which was released in both digital and physical formats
on February 29.
Pre-orders for Alive amounted to 260,000 copies in two weeks.Its lead single, Blue, was released a week prior to the album's release and has reached the number one position on all major domestic charts.
The mini-album was a commercial success, selling in excess of 200,000 copies in its first month of release. Internationally, Big Bang obtained 5 spots out of the Top 10 on Billboard K-pop's Hot 100 and charted at 150 on Billboard 200, making them the first Korean artist with a Korean album to do so. Their popularity also boosted them onto the Billboard Social 50, entering at #24. Since the release of Alive, Big Bang has received recognition from notable sites such as Rolling Stone, Ebony Magazine, Time Magazine, and a photo was featured on the Grammy Awards homepage.
The album release coincided with their annual concert, Big Show 2012, held at Seoul Olympic Park Stadium from March 2–4 to a sold-out crowd of 40,000 fans. This marks the official kick off of their first world tour Big Bang Alive Galaxy Tour in partnership with Live Nation. It is directed by renowned choreographer Laurieann Gibson and will be stopping on 5 continents, 16 countries, and 25 cities. Concert footage from Big Show was broadcasted in 160 countries through MTV World Stage, which pushed the promotion for their world tour.
The Japanese version of Alive was released on March 28 both digitally and physically, with 2 additional Japanese tracks. Included with the physical copy of their album was a bonus Japanese version of their hit song, "Haru Haru".
It sold over 23,000 copies on its first day of release and peaked at #2 on the Oricon charts. It eventually sold over 66,000 copies in its first month and has since been certified gold by the RIAJ. Japanese promotions began with a performance at 2012's Springroove Festival alongside top American and Japanese hip hop artists. Big Bang was the first Korean act to be invited along with label-mates 2NE1.
Following the success of their comeback, Big Bang released a repackaged edition of their mini-album Alive, titled Still Alive, on June 3. It featured Korean remakes of the two additional tracks in the Japanese version of Alive, as well as two new tracks. Their repackaged mini-album also performed commercially well, selling over 100,000 copies in its first month of release. A special edition of their Japanese Alive album was also released following its Korean counter-part, titled Alive -Monster Edition-. The lead single of both repackaged albums was entitled Monster.
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