Sometimes risks need to be taken in order to stay relevant in K-pop, whether it's a change in sound, styling, or concept. While sometimes these risks may not work, there have been times when it has paid off handsomely.
In a new thread over on Reddit, K-pop fans got into a fascinating discussion about some K-pop groups that took a big risk that ultimately paid off. With Reddit being the home to a large number of fans who have diverse tastes and interests the answers were certainly very interesting.
Here are some risks that K-pop groups took that ultimately paid off according to the fans:
- SNSD debuting as 9 members was considered crazy at the time. They faced criticisms that the group was too big to ever be popular. Hilarious in hindsight.
NU'EST going on PD101.
There were other debuted idols there (my bbs Sanggyun from ToppDogg, Taehyun and Seungwoon from HotShot, and others) but NU'EST got by far the most public criticism and the worst initial PD101 edit for choosing to go on the show. It's been paying off like crazy so far, though.
At the beginning it definitely felt like a huge blow to their brand, but in hindsight I guess it wasn't as risky as it felt at the time. Stagnating with Pledis until their inevitable contract non-renewal would have been certain death. Going on PD101 was scary, but it was an opportunity.
BTOB pulling off the ballad trilogy with It's Okay, Way Back Home and Remember That. Before that they were known for their dance tracks but they took a risk and as a result they got a huge boost in popularity, even making them win their first music show three years after debut. Today they are now known for their strong vocal line. :) They're now also known as "healing-dol" in Korea because the slow ballads comfort the listeners.
- Crayon Pop wore helmets..everything else is history.
- Just debuting and trying to be an idol is the biggest risk they have done. Not everyone can be successful and they do not get pay well unless they become a mega hit. Example: EXiD, they almost disbanded if it werent for Hani's fancam. That's why they're so thankful to their fans. But that is also the scariest part of being an idol or a celebrity in Korea. It is the people that will either break you or make you into a star. Without fans, they are nothing.
CLC's change to a more aggressive "Hyuna like" style seemed to work in their favor as I feel like they have received a lot more attention since Hobgoblin.
Minx's re-branding as Dreamcatcher has done loads for their popularity.
Of course these two examples may still be too early to call, but at this point in time, I would say both groups are trending up after the change.
- VIXX going for a 'dark' concept with "On and On" . They debuted with Superhero and followed it with Rock Ur Body and both of those releases lacked A LOT in sales and getting them out there. They were really nugu in 2012, especially if you compare them to what EXO, B.A.P and Nu'est were back then. Going with a dark concept and following the pattern with Hyde and later Voodoo Doll made the go from selling 7k in physical in 2012 (2 single albums) to more than 200k in 2013 (1 single, 1 mini, 1 full album) and they've managed to land themselves the tittle of "concept kings" and keep it all the way to these days.
Jungkook was scouted by eight different agencies after his (failed...) Superstar K audition. One of the agencies was rumored to have been SM. Instead, middle school aged naive smitten Jungkook saw videos/performances of future BTS member and leader Rap Monster and decided he was going to join BigHit instead of any of the other companies because he thought he was cool. No, really. BigHit at the time was a very very small and relatively unknown company. Their careers started off very slow, with a rumored talk about almost disbanding after their second album due to financial issues.
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