• http://twitter.com/kmi_chan Camille カミーユ

    I would say it depends on how you promote your groups. For example with Gang Kiz I still wonder why they produce them since they are so T-ara alike in terms of concept and even songs.

    I don’t think promoting many groups is a bad idea, when JJ project debuted it was fresh and we didn’t have the feeling to see another 2PM. I think JYP is the one who managed to have many groups but still managed to make them unique : no one could say that wonder girls and Miss A are the same.

    But not every company managed to take care of many groups, SM is the perfect example. They put everything in SNSD and lately they are all into their rookies groups EXO. But what’s happening with F(x) ? A comeback after an entire year whereas SNSD promote a new song almost every 4 months, Exo got 2 or 3 songs for their debut with a giant showcase.
    We haven’t seen TVXQ for a while (I know they are promoting in Japan), SHINee did a so-so comeback with Sherlock (it’s just my opinion of course), Suju got the 3rd version of Sorry Sorry with Mr Simple (the 2nd was Bonamana) basically they haven’t got great materials since Sorry Sorry’s album (I still have hopes for their next album that it’d be different if all their money didn’t get into EXO’s debut), and CJSH the grace’s comeback was just boring and unimpressive.

    I hope one day SM will be able to handle its groups equally and give good materials to everyone not just SNSD and SHINee.

    • ckooki

      I feel like SNSD and EXO are favorite spoiled children of SM while Super junior have basically to take care of themselves building up their careers and fandom,thank goodness for such faithful fans who stick through thick and thin because they CERTAINLY never weren’t treated the same way as SNSD.I understand ELFs and their bitterness,I never liked SNSD that much but I grew to dislike them because I’m all for underdogs and they are treated as golden girls not that I am saying they are golden -_-. I’m sorry for f(x),they’re so underrated,they could be the cool group of SM with some edge,but now they’re more like an orphan next SNSD,this comeback (after 100 years of waiting) could have been huge…even sub-unit of SNSD was treated better than whole comeback of f(x).Now I fear for Suju,I truly hope for good singles AND better MVs,I get that SM must be run of cash after teasers of EXO and MVs for SNSD but PLEASE,do not use the same box AGAIN (and AGAIN).But I believe Suju will do fine anyway,they get around even after worst shit.I’ll stick with Suju,SHINee (I don’t think they get the best material whatsoever,they do good remakes…but can’t they have their own songs?) and f(x),SM marketing strategy fails me,I can not make myself grew warmer to either of dotted up acts,sorry.
      JYP…well,they seem doing kinda fine,I never muddled up Wonder girls with miss A,they have distinct colors.I liked the JJ debut because it certainly wasn’t something similar to any of their acts.YG is my first love and second home at KPop,I like the fact that they are debuting new groups,they should because the pressure on Big Bang and 2NE1 is rather big and risky.They’re also preparing a debut only after three years of last debut of 2NE1,they became an established group,found their audience and stance.I may be a bit worried about new group IF they have or they have not a similar sound to 2NE1 but in the end I doubt it.YG boasts that their acts are different,unique,have their own taste and spice so I think he’ll manage the girls better than the replicas of mighty seniors.Yeah,I believe less is more,quality over quantity wins any day.

      • http://twitter.com/JM7228JW J-May 제메이©

        agree with EVERYTHING u said! :)

      • http://twitter.com/kmi_chan Camille カミーユ

        I truly like SNSD but I totally understand what ELFs are stating, I even wish they would let the girls rest a bit because I don’t know how they can handle such ectic schedules : imagine they promoted the Boys in Korea, then in the US,  they did the sub unit thing (a good surprise), and now they are starting to promote in Japan.

        Suju can truly do better, but they have to stop giving them the box to shoot their MV. Hopefully they’ve got one of the biggest fanbase, so they don’t have to worry. Anyway the group is probably gonna split up or do a break in 1 or 2 years because of all the enlistments.

        F(x) is such a waste, the girls debuted in the golden period for idols just before the rush of all those rookies and they had all the assets to become as famous as SHINee. I truly don’t know what SM is doing with them.

        SHINee had better materials 2 years ago (Lucifer was a complete hit ^^ but after that…), I hope it won’t turned out like Suju.

        About YG the pressure will be strong, but I’m almost certain this new group will be a hit because this new girls band from YG is very expected and I don’t think YG is as bad as SM in terms of marketing, they won’t do the huge mistake to make a 2NE1 copy cat.
        For example even a group like EXO, with a very weird promotion (again bad marketing), they had a big success because they are from one of the big 3.

        Then from what I read about the girls, they will be probably focus on their voices than their charisma like 2NE1 (I’m not saying 2NE1 can’t sing !!).

    • Io No

      WHAT CJSH the grace had a comeback!? As a whole group? When and whats there title song?

      • Haibara Christie

        No, CSJH the Grace: Dana and Sunday had a Comeback, and it was quite lackluster for the vocal prowess that the group has.  

      • http://twitter.com/kmi_chan Camille カミーユ

        When I said CSJH it meant Dana and Sunday just like TVXQ means Changmin and Yunho. I think it was during 2011, the title was One more chance.
        I didn’t really know them, but from I heard about their vocals they totally picked the wrong song, I liked it but compared to TVXQ comeback it was a big disappointment. I can’t imagine how fans must have felt.

  • http://twitter.com/lily_of_west CLover/Infiknight

    I agree to some extent with the point the author tired to make in this article. It’s all a double edged sword in a way. Less acts under a company, less money, more acts, the inability to distinguish each and give each act a fair treatment. 

    Yes YG seems to be an exception to the rule less acts, less money, but there’s only a limited amount of time YG can rely on only 2 acts. And I’m not ignoring Psy, Tablo, Se7en and Gummy in any way, but it’s a well known fact that the biggest chunk of income is from Big Bang and 2ne1 respectively. That’s why I completely understand YG’s idea of debuting more groups. Like the author said; SuPearls won’t have a hard time setting themselves apart from Big Bang and 2ne1 (especially 2ne1 since both groups are female groups) because they already have a distinctive sound, look and concept. Maybe YG will put a little spin on it but ultimately SuPearls will remain SuPearls.

    Now I feel the other girl group will have a very difficult way ahead. If they go to the fierce, strong image with hip hop as their base, they will endlessly be compared to 2ne1 by many. And if they choose the cute/sexy concept they will be compared to every other kpop girl group out there, SNSD especially since YG said they will have a little bit of that SNSD feel. They will have a rough time and unless YG comes up with something completely different or unless he gives them really good and I mean kick ass songs, they will be scrutinized.

    There are pros and cons to both approaches, but it all comes down to good marketing strategies and to the quality. If YG didn’t have a good marketing strategy and if he didn’t supply Big Bang and 2ne1 with good quality songs, these two groups would have never made it. That’s a fact. If not just take a look at F(x), 2am, 4minute etc.These groups belong to some of the biggest entertainment companies in kpop, but aren’t as successful as their company siblings. All of these groups  could have been so much more if the marketing was done the right way, if they had gotten more attention and a fair treatment by the company itself and in F(x)’s and 4minute’s case quality songs, they could have been up there with the biggest names of kpop.

    • ian

      I agree about the second girl group that YG is planning to debut. Seeing the names they have dropped, they might be going for the fierce/strong image as well, but with the girl-next-door image thrown in. How they’ll achieve that musically is what I want to see (er, hear). I think this is why YG scouted a lot of new producers in the last 2 years, because it wouldn’t do for Teddy to produce songs for them. It might have that 2NE1-feel and the fans won’t like that.

      As for Big Bang, YG technically didn’t supply them with good quality songs. At first, when it was him and the other YG producers giving songs to Big Bang, BB wasn’t really doing well (this was in their first year). It was eventually, as we know, GD who brought out the “Big Bang sound” and gave Big Bang their own distinct brand of music and style, which YG capitalized on and marketed them as such.

      Which is why I think it will be hard for the new girl group YG’s planning to debut. Because 2NE1 doesn’t write their own songs, the new girl group might be given a similar style of songs. Hopefully, the new producers would be working with them and not Teddy. I’m a little less nervous with the upcoming boy group that YG has in the works, actually. Since BB makes their own music, the new group would probably sound different. Unless GD decides to produce songs for them as well.

      • http://twitter.com/lily_of_west CLover/Infiknight

        I agree that Ji gave Big Bang that distinctive sound yes, but YG did give Big Bang good quality songs, they were really good but they were more r’n'b/hip hop than pop/hip hop, Korean audience wasn’t really much into r’n'b-ish songs, with groups like TVXQ and SUJU doing a more pop-ish sound, they wanted pop so Ji combined their hip hop background/roots with pop but with a Big Bang twist and the rest as they say is history.

        From the male trainees I know about, if the sources were right, I think the male group will be similar to Big Bang in the sense that they will write and produce their own music with the help of the in-house producers of course. The girl group, they all seem very young so they will defo not do that, they will have designated producers for sure. I think we will see 2ne1 doing some of their own stuff soon, at least CL and Minzy, knowing they’re both learning on how to write and produce. Like someone said when commenting on YGE, they’re teaching them how to fish so they can feed them for a lifetime.

        One thing is sure both male and female groups will have a rocky start seen the size of the shoes they need to fill and expectations they need to meet, but I’m not that worried, YG knows which people to pick and debut, at least I have confidence in that.

        • ian

          Haha, even up to know, RnB still isn’t considered as one of the more popular genres in Korea. Poor Taeyang even had to apologize to YG for pursuing that path and not bringing as much income as GD.

          Anyways, I think I might have phrased my thoughts incorrectly. What I wanted to say was that YG didn’t technically supply Big Bang the good quality songs that they needed to get their name known by the public. They had a more 1TYM-ish sound back then but their voices just weren’t mature enough and strong enough to carry that out. And I see where their earlier detractors are coming from, they weren’t quite ‘hip-hop’, not quite ‘RnB’, not even quite ‘Kpop’. So I can totally see the whole “they’re gonna disband in a year” thing, which, as we all know now, didn’t happen.

          I’m not really knowledgeable like a lot of YG stans are regarding the upcoming male groups The only thing I know is that one of the Kwon Twins is a trainee and might be a part of that group. Other than that, idk anything else, which is why I’m pleasantly surprised and quite relieved of this information that they’ll be writing their own songs. Thanks for the info! 

          Though it also makes me worried, in a sense. Because writing songs is something that people can learn. But writing good quality songs is harder. And writing hit songs will be much more. Let’s hope all the producers help them. Wishing choice37′s working with them, actually, since some of my most favorite recent tracks from YG were collabs with him. And is Perry back in Korea again? Cause I’d love them to work with him as well. But really, I hope the genre – or, as this is Kpop we’re talking about, rather than genre, it’s more like style – that they’ll be putting out will take them apart from Big Bang because I can’t imagine the pressure they’re already feeling right now, being the second boy group coming out of YG after Big Bang.

          I’ve always heard of CL and Minzy dabbling in composing but I’ve never seen any results so far. So we’ll see when they do come out with something.

          I’m still worried, idk. Cause I’m already thinking of all the drama this is gonna cause. Maybe I’m just a worry-rat? But yeah, I do trust YG’s decisions. The mere fact that they were accepted as trainees, it already means something. And if they’re already planned for debut, then that’s even bigger. 

          This reminds me of something YG himself has said before. That he sees no reason to add extra members to a group – quality over quantity. If he puts you there, it means you’re needed there.

          • http://twitter.com/lily_of_west CLover/Infiknight

            I agree with everything.

            As far as the new male trainees I’ve seen some info but like I said I took it with a grain of salt, because for now it’s all rumors. But if it’s true then I see a lot of potential in those trainees. I don’t think they’ll get hands free automatically in the beginning, tho. They will defo have a producer(s) but they might be included in the process of song writing and producing. That’s what I meant.

            Yeah CL actually writes a lot and she’s constantly with Ji and Teddy in the studio, every waking second, so I think Teddy is teaching her the ropes, and plus she was also in a way trained by Perry and Perry is a genius when it comes to layin’ beats down and writing. Minzy dabbles with making beats don’t know if she actually writes but she loves the whole music making process. And like I said, YG doesn’t just feed his people, he teaches them how to fish and I know both of those girls have it in them to be song writers and producers in the future.

            And for the rest of it well I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Nothing else to do.

  • Black_Plague

    “some ELFs are still bitter about how little attention Super Junior gets in comparison to SNSD who SM exploits and publicizes to no end.”

    Well, SNSD has a large fanbase of both genders, that’s one thing. Of all peeps I’ve known, none of the guys were fans of Suju (they were more like the opposite of fans actually) - which seems to be more targeted towards pre-teen and teenage girls only. Then there were accusations of ELFs claiming that SM was replacing SuJu with EXO since the latter is just as large in member line-up.

    Hence why I generally don’t take whatever ELFs say too seriously (actually, I’d say that for practically any SM group fandom in general as well but ELFs are particularly in my radar).

    Plus SuJu’s days as a group are approaching its twilight days, if not already - the remaining members will have to go to the military eventually and are likely to venture to solo careers. They would maybe follow Shinhwa’s path of having coming back with an album as a whole group again when several years pass by.

    SNSD, are also still considerably younger than SuJu in terms of member age – Taeyeon is only 23 despite being the oldest member whereas Lee Teuk is 30 next year. They’d still have another 3-5 years at least in promoting actively as a group before they too will be focusing more on solo activities like SuJu as they age.

    Simply put, SM seems to notice that SuJu as a group has its days is not far from ending and hence, is more focused on pushing them to solo activities than group-related ones.

    • ckooki

      Why can’t Suju be treated like Big Bang for example? They’re earning money for SM for quite a long time,YG manages to cherish both acts properly even if one earns certainly more,Big Bang and 2NE1 NEVER suffer from lack of attention and efforts.But you are trying to express why SM treats Suju as less or why SM should treat Suju as less than SNSD? Just admit it,the treatment is shitty and unfair.
      I don’t know what ELFs you meet but I know some older than preteens or teens and they aren’t delusional when they’re questioning the management of Suju,I heartily agree with them.

      • Black_Plague

        Long time - you mean only 2 years more than SNSD has. But even then, SM was having it big with DBSK at the time.

        Managing a group as large as a dozen members is never an easy thing to deal with and I’ve already given out the reasons as to why SM’s treating SuJu ‘lesser’ than SNSD and I don’t see why I should explain it again.

        And you do realize that YG has only two idol groups to rely on, don’t you? SM on the other hand, has a considerably larger roster than YG has in idol groups so I frankly don’t see the fair comparison there. Additionally, both of Big Bang and 2NE1′s promoted songs were highly popular with both genders from debut (for BB, 07 and onwards, just a year after debut) that resulted in a boom of popularity - definitely not the case when it comes to Super Junior.

        Besides, how do you expect SuJu to gain equal attention as SNSD when the latter has catered to BOTH genders successfully while the former, despite exploding in popularity from 09 hasn’t? Most guys I know hardly give a flying fuck about Super Junior (or simply don’t like them) and the only time they ever did was because how catchy Sorry Sorry was but it was an entirely different case with SNSD.

        Bottom line – SuJu’s age and their target audience alone are the reason as to why SM has been giving it the second-rate attention since SNSD’s popularity explosion and I believe SNSD itself would go down the same route once they age too, as already said above.  

        I myself question SM’s management a lot at times too but they clearly know what road SuJu is headed down to. Yes, I’m very well aware that there’s always a few level-headed fans in every fandom but then again – they’re a very small minority amongst the lot – and even then, they are Super Junior fans after all. Of course they would take SuJu’s side when it comes down to management.

        At least SM does a better job than say, CCM. Now that’s a company that needs a major overhaul more than any other well-known agency out there.

        • http://twitter.com/JM7228JW J-May 제메이©

          “Most guys I know hardly give a flying fuck about Super Junior (or simply don’t like them)….”

          urmmm…”most guys” u know can’t be generalised as the whole demographic…can it?

          no matter how much u explained above… the FACT is..SME does play favouritism here… and your elaborations just proved the point!

          seems like u are only targeting SUJU on this… fans know SUJU days in kpop are getting lesser but what fans want from SME is to at least treat the boys as equally as possible, which SUJU didn’t get since Day 1 of their debut…  the treatments they get are like they had earned nuts for SME! now make me wonder where all the money goes? the money from sell-out asian/world tour concerts, more than 1million album sales (from 1st album to 5th albums combined), TV shows, etc?

          • Black_Plague

            “urmmm…”most guys” u know can’t be generalised as the whole demographic…can it?”

            Coming from a Korean who lived in Korea from mid 07 to the end of 09, I can generalize it to a degree. You won’t run into many (if any at all) guys who are into SuJu – the group itself was never popular with the male demographic in the first place, aside from the Sorry Sorry era. It’s as simple as that.

            My point is that SM plays favoritism over reasons that are reasonable and logical, not because of whatever reason that would make shittier companies like CCM look like geniuses and saints - who use favoritism even far more blatantly in a more ridiculous way.

            SuJu obviously is not as successful as SNSD so how can they be treated equally as the latter by SM? I could say the same for f(x) and ShiNee as well.

            And I ask you to define ‘equally’ more specifically – income distribution? Music quality? Line distribution? More active promotions?

            SM isn’t humanitarian nor does it have a good work ethic for its idols - of course they’re bound to be more biased to those who earn more.

            ” the treatments they get are like they had earned nuts for SME! now make me wonder where all the money goes? the money from sell-out asian/world tour concerts, more than 1million album sales (from 1st album to 5th albums combined), TV shows, etc?”

            I suggest you read the article here that talks about the money distribution amongst idols then. They clearly earn quite an amount ffrom their solo activities, much like anyone under SM.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/YQ53WK5K4DPXQ5DIBKDELB6WPE Camille

            Super Junior as a group earns a lot of money from their tours, endorsements, etc. Individually, a few members are seriously raking in from their gigs, and each one of them has something going on for himself. Just because none of them are buying fancy houses or flashy cars on their own does not mean the ~precious oppas~ are destitute. Hell, Yesung, who is not really known for having a lot of solo gigs, was able to move his whole family to Seoul and set up a business for his parents.

            So what if someone is favored over Super Junior? The boys have done well for their careers, especially for a group no one (even themselves) thought would last this long. Many of the boys have found or are finding their own little niches in the entertainment industry, building up a potential solo career after the inevitable winding down of group activities.

          • Black_Plague

            I second this.

          • Haibara Christie

            I’m with you two.  Why else does Suju continue to exist? If they really were getting the short end of the stick, they could have dissolved the same way that DBSK collapsed–but they didn’t, even with Hangeng leaving.  I think that Suju is the one of the few groups that is fiercely loyal to SM, and in Suju, they have the idol backing to pursue whatever they so desire.  The more I think about it Suju was a genius idea to get their label members into all fields of entertainment.

          • idontknoe

            Thank You. I don’t know where all this victim mentality with ELFs come from I think SM gives SJ plenty of attention. They might not to advertisement darlings like SNSD in Japan, but are hugely popular all over Asia. The only people who think they’re breaking up the group or treating them poorly are ELFs and haters. I think when it comes to their album releases not being amazing is not due to SM not caring about SJ, but YYJ being sorta old and outdated in his composition (he always writes and produces most their stuff). I think SJ runs into the case that JYP has with using his songs, it’s just JYP still comes out with current music and YYJ is just a little old and needs a break so he can come back fresh. SM knows they make money and therefore are going to use the, as a group and individually. When you think about it SM is the only company to successfully find solo gigs for all their idols.

          • Haibara Christie

            ELFs are rightfully angry about some horrible music that Suju has released in the recent years, and the only entity that they can direct their anger to is SM–however, saying that GG gets better music is a lie because GG’s album was just as horrendous.  There is no excuse for YYJ to rehash songs and SM to release awful music, therefore, ELFs should protest against it.  The problem is that they’re attacking other groups and blaming things like “prejudice” and “bias” when it is really a simple fact that SM just needs to step it up.  ELFs are actually making it worse by continuing to buy terrible music and giving SM all the more reason to get lazy with how they write music in general.  What I am surprised about is why this trend started so late.  ELFs are just as large as Cassiopeia, and they didn’t get mediocre albums until KYHD. 

          • idontknoe

            The thing is I think SM was thinking they were making good music, because it sold sooo well and beat previous records. It wasn’t until the low digital sales of Mr. Simple before they realized shit, it wasn’t like we thought. That’s why I think they let One Ways Chance work on the title song of the upcoming album. YYJ is brilliant for the stuff he’s done in the past, but he’s been churning out music for SM since HOT and I think he needs to stop making pop and start returning to his RnB roots. I think that’s where his compositions really shine. I actually enjoyed the majority of songs on Mr. simple, but was really let down by the title track. I think that they took the if it’s not broken, don’t fix it concept too seriously.

          • Haibara Christie

            I will always respect YYJ’s RnB works, but even that gets repetitive (see “Before you go” and “What is Love”) 
            though they are gems in their own right.  Regardless, I think that SM need to stop trying to create a winning formula to their music for each group and instead focus their energies on finding a good song that fits the group-it doesn’t have to be exactly what made the group popular.  Honestly, SM is just too afraid to experiment outside of Kpop norm…

  • kk

    Idol groups, once at their peak, will stay at the top for 3 years, and by the 5th year will fade into irrelevancy. Other than JYP fucking up the Wonder Girls and Big Bang’s resurrection thanks to last year’s overload of the worst/best press in K-pop history, idol groups tend to run in 5 year cycles. So you need 2nd generation groups for when the company’s main boy group leaves for the army or the main girl group is deemed too old to masturbate to (applies less for groups with mainly female fan base). For example, just based on timing, Exo will be SM’s next boy group to push – Suju replacements, while Shinee will forever be secondary.

    So I think SM is doing a good enough job given the roster they have. Once YG expands, their operating costs will increase so the high profit margin they have right now will be much lower. 

    I don’t think we’ll see a lot of unison within YG group though. 2NE1, SuPearls, and the new girl group seem to be completely different styles: performance vs. vocal vs. choreography. As for YG’s new boy group, multiple trainees apparently play either guitar/bass/drum, which would make sense with the already confirmed Kang Seung Yoon. But then there’s also rumored B.I. (1996, training since 2009) and Jaycee (1996, training since 2010), both are typical YG style: rappers+song writers+producers, the latter also sings and play guitar, so this could be some hybrid.

  • http://www.michelle-chin.com/ Michelle Chin

    Personally, I prefer quality over quantity if I had to choose one but if I can have both, why not? 

    I am not too fussed about how many groups or singers are under a single label, as long as they don’t sound the same. However, I do not quite fancy the idea of large sized groups. I mean, large size groups are there so that people can find a “niche” member that they can relate to. There’s the cute boy, the sexy boy, the responsible leader… it’s like a buffet spread really, but I think companies should realize the trade offs, i.e:

    1. It is so hard to remember the name of each members. For someone who listens to Kpop since 2001, I only know Leeteuk, Ryeowook, Kyuhyun, Siwon and lately, Hangeng (due to the controversy). I seriously admire people who can remember all of the members from SuJu. I have the same problems with SNSD, even though I have around 6 of their songs on my playlist. I know, it’s sad but for me, mo’ members, mo’ problems. Also, it makes it quite difficult to relate with the members if there are just so many of them! That’s why having sub-units really really helps. 

    2. Some members appear to stand out more just because they have more media coverage. Others felt like fillers or as my sister would put it, background singers/ dancers. :( 

    3. I cannot quite grasp the idea of a member in a group having 10 second worth of lines in a song or 1 second worth of screen time. I just cannot. That’s why when T-ara decided to expand the size of their group, I just got so confused. I do not see the point of adding members if they are not going to get that much of exposure in terms of song (mp3) and visual (MV). Won’t it be costly for the company to maintain the member if he/she is going to have that much of exposure? Why leave fans pining for their favorite stars if they are going to be barely featured? 

    4. I feel that tension between members are bound to more prominent in a large group because of the bias in exposure and salary differences. I wonder how companies deal with this. It seems like they have some secret technique to keep members in a state of harmony? 

  • http://profiles.google.com/krstydlght kirsty delight

    I’d like to put out other ideas out there regarding SM’s large roster of idols and how some are set aside over company favorites. I think it also depends on the objectives SM has set to their groups (what they should bring to the company) initially and afterwards, their concepts and dynamics. They over-hype SNSD because they’re the company’s moneymaker. SM is ‘playing favorites’ with EXO because they are setting them to be their next moneymaker/breadwinner and that’s a business decision, not necessarily favoritism. The initial concept for SuJu was not supposed to be a group with permanent members, right? SuJu was a gateway for the members to enter other fields of the entertainment industry (e.g. drama for Siwon and Heechul). Even though some things changed, the core concept remains. This is why SuJu members are all over the K-entertainment industry in a way to play each of the members strengths and not necessarily to promote the group through an individual unlike most idol groups. I think this plays a role in why and how SM promotes SuJu. DBSK is the company’s talented and charismatic stage performers. They were once SM’s breadwinner but now they are seniors in the company like BoA and are at the time of their career where they don’t have to prove much and vie for their company’s attention (though HoMin is relatively new). Pretty soon they’ll be like Kangta who pretty much does anything that interests him or helps the company over talent development (I see Yunho there). Then there’s SHINee with their good music and f(x) whom SM experiments musically with judging from that interview with Yoo Young Jin I read somewhere (and probably why it’s either you enjoy f(x) or don’t get them).

    Also, I think currently SM is addressing this overlap-in-fandom business. You didn’t think that those SMTOWN concerts were just to bring your respective favorite groups near you, did you? It was to showcase all their acts in one event with all the different fandoms under one venue and to appreciate, not GG, SuJu, HoMin, SHINee, f(x), etc, but SMTOWN.

    With YG, they’ve done right with the ‘less is more’ thing. But I also think that the fact that YG’s roots are in hip-hop and they are comparatively new to the idol-manufacturing business is extremely significant. Hip-hop and idols? Not the most natural combination. YG did say that when Big Bang first debuted he had trouble with people’s remarks that BB is not an idol group (or was it the other way around? I forget.) The point is they’re perfecting their idol making machinery by keeping their roster small, which is changing pretty soon by debuting 2 female albeit different groups conceptually. By next year, they’ll have 3 girl groups and 1 boy group. Soon after that, they’ll debut another boy group. Because what else are they going to do with their thirty-something trainees?

  • http://twitter.com/ericyumyum Chic As Hell

    I agree with many of the points you’ve made. SME have too many acts under their label and it’s really hard for me to keep up with some of them. I like YG Entertainment because you can tell how well they know the business works and how to sell a kpop group. They like to build up anticipation and it works for them. I hope YG debuts a new boy group, girl group, a unisex (boy girls) teen group, and create more subunits! 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NEXNMNV2KIA76DBJBWP6S4UTX4 Widney

    Wow this article express everything I have been screaming at the top of my lungs for so long. Less is more people. Till today I’m still trying to understand the 13 members of SUJU. They don’t even all sing! Plus I don’t see why we need f(x) when we have SNSD. I’m not saying one is better than the other. but it so obvious that there are just copycat of each other but with less members. I’m still waiting for Miss A and wonder Girls to make lasting impressions on me so I can differentiate them in my head, At least i know Wonder girls was here first and they had “Nobody”. And Dalmations finally managed to distinguished themselves from the Teen Top, BTop, Mblaq, 7942 (who is this group anyway?), Infinity, ZE:A (how does that stand for children of Empire I still can’t wrap my mind around it) ragu that kpop has become. Don’t get me started on the girl groups. I only managed to catch up with 5 dolls recently before they disbanded. So I’m still in late 2009, early 2010 state of mind. Whn my friends start commenting about people like 9 muses or “something” girls, I’m like huh? who are they? i hope they are not 12 years old wearing make up like that fake group that these people tried to create not too long ago.

  • cancertwin2

    Basically what the author is getting at with some of these points is something we in marketing/business like to call “cannibalization” which is exactly what is going on in SME whenever they debut a new group and sort of have them compete against other groups in their roster (ie Shinee and EXO).  This also happens when companies debut groups with similar concepts/music. You are in essence forcing the audience to choose which one they like better. And usually it’s the one that’s most popular or favored.

  • goldengluvsk2

    I prefer quality over quantity if you ask me… this reminded me of an article i read that stated the big 3′s profits during 2011 and what caught my attention was that even when YG relays mostly in 9 people (BB, 2ne1) to have profit, the difference with SM who relays on more than 30 people wasnt that alarming… SM profit was around $85 million while YG’s around $52 million…! if you looked at the number of people that actively promoted under Sm in 2011 u’d think there would be a huge gap in profit… even when I like some Sm’s acts, due to their obvious biasement I find myself wanting to flip my table… aside from always looking like they spend all their money in clothes and NOT in quality music, theres always this thing they do to hold back some of their artists that its not cool at all…

    • severely

       YG also has a lot of non-idols, while SM mostly has idols. If you take into account all of YG’s other musical acts (e.g. Tablo, Psy, Se7en), the difference in the number of all artists they count on isn’t that large.

      It is also a bit alarming, though, how much of their profit heavily rests on Big Bang in particular. If anything severe were to happen (such as any member being blacklisted from appearances), that would be a HUGE blow to YG, whereas SM could weather a similar issue more easily due to the number of other popular groups they have. There’s something to be said for putting too many eggs in one basket.

      • Medusaspeaks

        I’d read an article (can’t remember where) which stated that almost 50% of YG’s revenue is wrapped up in Big Bang.  Any financial planner worth their salt would tell you to spread risk over the long run.  YG’s reliance on Big Bang financially is bad business.  They’re talented kids, but they won’t be together forever.

  • Chantal Testman

    I find this all a little funny. After reading an article in yahoo about AKB48 and how this group is like a revolving door but will built for franchise. I think people seldomly forget kpop is for native koreans. So SM. To invest in large groups makes sense. Girls Generation consist of 9 attractive younf ladies and Super Junior 13 attractive young men. If the focus of kpop is superfcial than fan girls and/or boys have no problem in differating each member. But if you are a casual listner than this is a hot mass best resolved in the use of name tags. On the music end these groups aren’t meant to be artistic but well organized and marketed commodities.

    EXO-M &K is SM attempt to market is large group but into different music industries. This isn’t the same with a group promoting a translated album. Jumping from on nation to the next but a double hit. Its SM branding this group to the fullist to establish a quicker stability. Unfortunate SM was sloppy and exhausted fans with to many teasers. They learn a lesson but EXO resently sold 100,000 units in korea. Which is consider well there but very poor outside asian music industry. We need to as international fans remind ourselves despite kpop global popularity it is still korean to the core. We are just extra trophies on the wall of idol influence.

    My agrument with companies like JYP and YG is that nom-idols become sacrificial lambs for those idol groups to floruish. YG by the time of Big Bang had invested some much on their glittery boy band ment the total dismantle of YG undergound and dorment for 1tym and Jinusean? If YG hadn’t invest so much into this idol BB would had suffer. Once again we have 2ne1 but their fate remains unclear. They failed in Japan regardless of how you measure success. The west is the last chance.

    JYP has done excellent to maintain their idols status but struggle to develope successful soloist. Wonder and 2pm are actaully under this label. Miss a and 2am under a sister label but really a different management.

    I don’t mind large groups in kpop or for a record label to have a large amount. SM large amount of idols is the companies ambition to remain successful and continue their dominace. I notice SM isn’t striving for global admiration but to expand with the asian nations surrounding them. So it wise for them to have different idol groups with different appeals.

    YG greats strength is their most dealist of weakness. Big Bang is one of kind. YG will NEVER have a group to replace them. Regardless of how many YouTube to world wide regconition they may receive. Supearls question if this company can hit gold twice

    • cancertwin2

      “I notice SM isn’t striving for global admiration but to expand with the asian nations surrounding them.”

      Then why are they holding SM Town concerts around the world? Why did SNSD release and promote The Boys abroad? Why did Boa debut in America?

      Out of all the top 3 companies, SME is the one that gets the majority of their music from Western songwriters.

      Sorry but I don’t really buy that.

      • http://profiles.google.com/krstydlght kirsty delight

        SM is indeed focusing on Asia. LSM said it himself in that interview months before EXO’s debut where he explained the new group’s concept. He said that instead of breaking into the west, SM sees greater potential in Asia and will pursue the untapped Asian market and develop it into something that could rival the west (or sth like that. I forgot the exact words). Debuting a group solely for China is a clear indication. They do western promotions and events because there is a demand for their acts there (Hallyu and all that) but that’s not to say it’s their priority. IMO, BoA was sort of like an experiment like test the waters and it probably either contributed or reinforced their plans to go for Asia.

        Yes, SM buys a lot of their songs from western songwriters but they make a lot of effort to make the songs sound Korean (YYJ’s words). Between YG and SM, the former still sounds the most western.

        • cancertwin2

          Please read my reply to idontknoe.

          The reason that they have decided to start letting their idol groups have more international activities is because they finally see the potential to gain more money by exploring the global fandom that they have long ignored. And that was prompted by observations of other Korean companies/groups and their endeavors. Sorry to say but there really was no demand for Boa’s US debut. Nor was there any for SNSD’s venture into the west (most Sones that I know thought it was ill advised and improperly carried out). That was something that came out of nowhere and was not based on demand. The purpose of it was hallyu wave promotions but also to farther SME’s advancement into the west. There is no doubt in my mind it’s something that they want.

          PS, I did read what Soo Man Lee said. However he is just the spokesperson of SME. As of 2010, he has had no actual hand in the activities or direction the company has gone thus far. That would be Kim Young Min. In my experience, much of what LSM says is rhetoric.  Just as he adamantly said that there were no plans to have DBSK do solo activities in 2008 and then by 2009 SME announced that they would soon be doing solo activities. So I take it with a grain of salt.

      • idontknoe

        There’s demand and it makes money. If no one wanted to see SMtown in the US, they wouldn’t even think to go there. When’s there’s demand and a gurantee of money to be made, smart choice is to go.

        • cancertwin2

          But that’s not the point. If SME was not interested in being global then they would not be focusing any of their time exploring those areas. I’m not sure how long you’ve been a fan of an SM group/groups but for the longest time a running gag between us has been the world map according to SME is “Los Angeles, Korea and Japan” and that’s it. Until recently they were not trying to expand internationally. No matter how many petitions we sent them or how many times their idols have said they’d like to do world tours (ie DBSK) SME still ignored the international fandom. However SME has showed recently that they are more interested in expanding globally not only with the things that I pointed out above but also the fact that they are including international fans in their exhibit and also their movie “I AM” being shown abroad.

          Also, not to be mean but there really was little to no international demand for Boa’s debut in America. At that time, more people were vying for her to go back to Korea. That endeavor was something SME decided to do for their own purposes.

    • ian

      I don’t think these non-idols have become “sacrificial lambs”. What YG invested in Big Bang was practically the same thing he did for the others. YG needed a group to generate him income while he has Se7en shipped off to another country and his other acts are all on hiatus whether they’re in the army or in the US. And Big Bang was it. Big Bang wasn’t a big hit at first, and there wasn’t any sacrificing involved. However, when he gave the musical reigns to GD, that was when the money started rolling in. And that was when he started to invest more on Big Bang, not the other way around.

      The ones who left YG left because of “musical difference” or because of neglect, yeah. However, there are a great number who stayed because they love what they were doing and not for anything else. The direction that YG was taking because of BB’s success was different from the YG Underground’s direction and yeah, I agree and am sad to see what happened to YG’s underground artists like Masta Wu and 45RPM. But look at Perry, he’s still with YG as a producer. As for their reggae/hiphop group, Kush is still producing for YG and YG himself married EunJoo. And look at Psy and Tablo, they joined even with all of that. It means they’re in there for the music and the freedom they have to produce what they want.

      And yeah, I agree with your last statement. YG himself acknowledged that he’ll never be able to produce a group as talented as Big Bang again. And that’s gonna be hard for him as the group ages. BB cannot maintain the same hold they have right now. Eventually, they’ll have to go to the army and they’ll heavily pursue other things, though most of them would most definitely stay in YG and still do music.

    • http://twitter.com/lily_of_west CLover/Infiknight

      YG didn’t sacrifice anyone in order for Big Bang to succeed. Until “Lies” Big Bang wasn’t the biggest earner in YG, it was Go Hye Sun, Se7en and Kang Hye Jung. DM and Lexy were the only ones who left for “musical differences”. And it wasn’t YG’s fault that the general public wanted idol groups more than underground stuff. When YG was all about underground stuff no one payed attention when YG debuted Big Bang and created what they created, everyone is on their case about not being “real”, not being “underground” etc. still up until this day YGE gets called out on being fake and commercial mainstream when they were one of the few people who in a way introduced hip hop as a culture to the wider Korean audience. You can’t please people. Big Bang was the turning point for YG as a company, with Big Bang they hit gold. And it was that gold that was distributed throughout the company afterwards, meaning all who stayed with YG got a piece from Big Bang’s gold mine. So I don’t see how the rest of the acts under YG fell through because of YG giving more attention to Big Bang.

      1tym stopped working because Jinhwan had to go to the army, Teddy wanted to focus more on producing Big Bang (later 2ne1) than being on stage again. Baek got really involved in the restaurant chain and Danny started working as a scout for new talents. They’re all still with YG, helping YG run the company and the business on the side. Jinu is very much involved with running the company and making contacts. Sean does the With project and they are all involved with the training process of the new trainees. Masta Wu and Perry are still with YG both. If any of the acts under YG, who are inactive right now, wanted to return to the stage do you really think YG wouldn’t let them. I want 1tym Perry Masta Wu and Jinusean to come back but I know it’s up to them. They just have to say the word, and seeing how there’s almost no chance of that happening sadly, I know it’s their own choice.

      • ian

        Exactly my point. I totally agree with everything.

        A good chunk of people are still with YG. Still working within the company even if they’re the ones behind the camera now and not on stage. And that doesn’t technically mean that they’re any less important than the ones in the spotlight. It’s all part of the whole process (or as some would say – family).. 

  • severely

    I think TS Entertainment is another great example, perhaps even more than YG. 2NE1 and Big Bang are male and female counterparts. BAP and Secret, on the other hand, both avoid many comparisons with other idol groups in general, and with each other, because their styles are just near polar opposites. BAP didn’t ever risk having to be called the male version of Secret, because such a statement would be laughable. When 2NE1 debuted, they were regularly called the female version of BB. Even now, fans of both groups usually say things like, “If you like 2NE1, you’ll like BB” and vice versa.

    I also completely understand the sentiment regarding the new YG girl group. Now they have to both be different from 2NE1 and SuPearls. SuPearls, while also rookies, at least has its own fans already because of the members’ TV show appearance (I forget the name of that show). This other girl group is a virtual unknown, and the teasers so far are a little too close to 2NE1 for my tastes. I like 2NE1; 2NE1 is still around and successful. I don’t need 2NE1 version 2.

    Hopefully YG is paying attention to other companies debuts this year, because many groups have had to suffer from too many comparisons to their seniors. Let’s hope YG doesn’t make the same mistakes.

  • cobyness11

    For me less would mean that I will be able to distinguish each member! Until now I have not perfectly distinguish the members of SNSD, SUJU, T-ara (they added a new one) and that maybe because I am not doing my assignment.

    Though I may not really a fan, but to person that just got into digging kpop, it would be a breather that I would know who is who.

  • destined2bebossy

    I really love JYP.
    Whenever I think of Miss A i just think of them. Same with 2pm and even 2am. I never associate Miss A with WonderGirls which is something i hate with other companies. As a really big f(x) fan i hate the comparisons they get with snsd. And how the companies so closely associate and use the groups for other groups that each groups individuality gets smeared.

  • ashygreen

    wow..am i at seoulbeats or YGBEATS?

    • http://twitter.com/cjiang0220 Chloe

      Since when was there bias in this article? The author has a valid point and I’m saying this from a non-bias perspective

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/36AXZ4OH33WQL3AV5OM2VL7SRY Angel

    I don’t really care as long I like the songs