Welcome back to Seoulbeats’ guide to creating your very own idol group! It’s been a while since part one in which we discussed how to choose members for your group but, as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Well, unless you’re a rookie idol group, in which case fondness is only fostered for exactly three months and eleven days, as demonstrated by B.A.P in 2012.
But we can worry about promotions later. Right now it’s time to focus on deciding the name and concept for your group. The name of a K-pop group is important as it tries to show what a group is all about.
There are many different ways to go about naming a group. Acronyms are always in style and the more English you use, the better. The best part — the words used to make up the acronym don’t need to make sense. Think TRAX, H.O.T, and TEEN TOP.
And, unless you’re JYP, you should avoid putting numbers in your group’s name. Actually, even if you are JYP, you should avoid putting numbers in your group’s name. Overall, the rules for naming your idol group are pretty non-existent because K-pop fans have shown that a pretty face is more valuable than a good name.
Of more importance, however, is the concept of your group. While many groups, most notably girl groups, have had to switch up their concepts in order to gain popularity, it’s still vital to have a beginning plan for your group. Will your group be centered on music genre, dance, or vocal talent? Figuring out the answer to this will better assist you in choosing your concept.
In part one, I stressed the different criteria for girl groups versus boy groups, and this week is no different. Concepts are also divided along gender lines with the two most popular concepts right now being sexy and hip-hop for girls and boys, respectively.
There are only three choices for girl groups — sexy, cute, and other, with other usually meaning a hip-hop or “fierce” image. I’ve taken the liberty to include a rather scientific venn diagram to further aide your understanding.
Sexy concepts always involve two things: skin and provocative dance moves. It’s a good concept to use when nothing else seems to work. But for a debut, it should be avoided. Cute usually involves innocence and aegyo and is always a safe choice for debuts.
The most popular “other” choice is a hip-hop-like girl group — think GI and Wassup — although concepts like Crayon Pop’s can fit into this category as well. Another other concept is vocal talent but the K-pop industry has shown time and time again that skin trumps talent.
While these are the main concepts girl groups choose to pursue, the more interesting and attention-grabbing concepts lie in the in-between regions. These intersects should be approached with caution, however, as few girl groups have managed to pull them off.
SNSD somehow blended hip-hop and cute with “I Got a Boy” while also having forayed into sexy with “Run Devil Run.” They’re the only girl group who I predict will one day reach the tri-fecta of girl group concepts.
Wassup has tried to occupy the intersect between hip-hop and sexy but their failed attempt doesn’t bode well for other groups looking to go down this path. Bottom line — keep the intersects in mind but stick to the well-traveled path. After all, you’re a K-pop manager, not Robert Frost.
Concepts for boy groups are much easier — just be yourself. If you really feel you need a concept, hip-hop is a popular choice although some groups — Block B, BTS — approach it better than others — C-Clown.
Boy groups can also take a masculine approach like 2PM or a flower boy/cutesy approach like Boyfriend. Supernatural and/or alien themes can provide a breath of fresh air to the idol market but the execution of the concept must be done carefully so as to avoid comparisons to the current supernatural kings, Vixx.
But at the end of the day, if you have good-looking boys with mediocre talent, no concept is necessary. K-pop fans’ hormones will get you the sales you need; a concept is just a boost.
To sum up what we learned today, boy groups and girl groups differ in concepts in that girls need defined concepts while boys just need a vague definition. The debut concept isn’t terribly important because concepts can always be switched, but careful consideration should be made in order to maximize debut popularity.
The name of a group should also be given some thought but is, arguably, less important than the concept. After all, people get used to strange names but won’t fail to bring up that embarrassing debut video of your group.
What would you name your future idol group? What concept would they have?
(Images via JYP Entertainment, SM Entertainment, Cube Entertainment)