Every year there are more than 30 rookie groups debuting in Korea but only one third of them are lucky enough to survive. In those about 10 surviving groups, some of them are able to continue working but the rest of them face different problems, which lead to the disbandment.
On 15th January 2016, female group KARA disbanded after working hard in this industry for 9 years. Their disbandment reminded me of 3 girl groups that all debuted in 2007 – Wonder Girls, KARA and Girl’s Generation. They are the first new generation of recent girl groups. However, Wonder Girls seldom show up since 2013; KARA changed members for three times and still they disbanded earlier this year; One main vocal quitted from Girl’s Generation in 2014.
Groups that are more than 8 years old still have problems, needless to say rookie groups. There are so many factors that can influence a group’s future.
First of all, the cooperation and the aim among members. This rule is suitable for any teamwork. If a group has different targets, how can they work hard together? Members are like chopsticks. It is easy to break a single chopstick but if all chopsticks are combined together, it is not easy any more. Some members want to be actors or actress so they leave the group when they are still rookies. This can be terrible if the group loses its aim but think about it in another side, the members that are still in the group have the same dream, which means they can work as one and strive to rise their popularity.
Second, group’s style. This can be an important element. A suitable style for the group can affect the future directly. In 2009, apparently monster or beast style was popular, thus a lot of monster/beast style boy groups were launched; in 2015, most of rookie girl groups are high school girl styles. A fashionable trend can attract people but everything ruins when the quantity is greater than the demand.
Third, company’s strategy. Should the group come back with a new album every 3 months? Should the members participate into as many variety shows as possible or is it better to keep the members mysterious? Should they create units? The life of the group is controlled by the company.
Forth, the repercussions of the debut song. Debut song doesn’t decide the future but debut song helps if it is successful. One example is GFriend. Till now, they came back on the stage for three times. Since they are a high school girl style, these three title songs are all very energetic and when people listen to the songs, they recall their high school lives. While other rookie girl groups are still working hard to find their styles, GFriend has already had their popularity.
Fifth, groups that debuted at the same time. Groups and groups can be friends and competitors. Healthy competition can motivate the group to grow up faster. For example, boy group BEAST, which debuted one day later than MBLAQ, worked very hard for a long time because compared with MBLAQ, they are from a small company and they don’t have backups. Having various elements mixed together, BEAST reached their first peak in 2011 with their new album Fiction and Fact.
Sixth, the quality of the album’s title songs. Ultimately, idol groups make livings by performing catchy songs. The reason why EXID went rival in 2015 is because a fan recorded one member’s performance and uploaded it to YouTube. There are 19 million views of that fan camera. But if the song is not catchy, people won’t search and download it after watching the fan camera.
Seventh, company’s attitude towards idols. Boy group B.A.P stopped their activity for more than 1 year because of the unfair salary. K-POP industry competition is very intense and a one-year gap might leads to the decrease of the popularity. But luckily, fans are still with B.A.P and support them.
Eighth, overseas’ debut time. This belongs to company’s strategy but I think this is so important so I put it in a new point. Two examples: Wonder Girls, who succeeded in Korea with the song Nobody in 2008, soon started new career in U.S.A. However, K-POP culture was not huge at that time, so they didn’t cause the repercussions. When they came back to Korea in 2010, it is already the world of Girl’s Generation;
The other example is KARA, who succeeded in Korea with the song Mr. in 2009, soon started their overseas schedule in Japan. They did do a great job in Japan but because they didn’t strengthen their status in Korea before they debuted in Japan, when they came back to Korea, their popularity decreased.
SM Entertainment is expert in managing and planning. Even though Girl’s Generation is the latest group among these three groups that debuted in Japan and U.S.A., there is no doubt that Girl’s Generation is the most successful K-POP female group in recent 10 years and I think they have already become a legend.
Last but not the least, humor sense in the variety shows. The best way to attract more fans is through showing up in the variety shows. By showing up in the variety shows, idols present their personalities and behaviours. A good cooperation within the group is very important. I strongly recommend the group Infinite, the members of which absolutely have awesome humour sense.
I hope I make my points clear and in my opinion, these points are influencing the group. It is of vital importance to make everything right because behind the group, there is a large team that works hard to maintain the operation of the group.