Fans are pushing for album sales but for different reasons

Album sales skyrocketed in the first half of 2023, but fans are purchasing for more than music.

According to News1, album sales in the first half of 2023 grow exponentially due to fans’ growing purchase power. According to experts, fans buy albums not solely to listen to music but to buy a ticket to meet their idols. Moreover, it is also a way fans opt to elevate their idols’ status in the tough K-pop market.

Stray Kids recently sold 4.61 million copies in the first week of release with “5-STAR,” according to Hanteo. They are currently leading the best-selling K-pop act in first-week sales. Previously, they recorded 5 million pre-orders and became the boy group with the highest pre-order volume in K-pop.

Before Stray Kids is SEVENTEEN with 4.55 million copies in the first week of sales with “FML.” This doubled “HOT”’s sales of 2.06 million sold copies.

Female K-pop groups, who used to be overwhelmed by male groups, are reaching the one-million benchmark in the first week with ease.

At present, aespa is at the top of female K-pop groups in terms of sales. Their third mini-album “MY WORLD” sold 1.69 million copies in the first week. “Girls” managed to sell 1.12 million copies in the first week. LE SSERAFIM and (G)I-DLE also recorded 1.25 and 1.16 million copies in the first week of their albums’ releases.

The Korean Customs Service also recorded a value of 233 million USD in album export in 2022, a steep rise since the first 100 million USD in 2020.

According to Kim Jin Woo, a chief researcher at Circle Chart, last year’s album sales reached beyond 80 million copies. Album export volumes to Japan, China, and the U.S. also soared.

An expert explained the phenomenon as: “The trend of not being able to hold face-to-face performances amid the COVID situation, and, relatively speaking, these consumers have flowed into record sales, a trend that continues even after the pandemic.”

Moreover, it is the expansion of K-pop into the global market that opened a new range of consumers. Furthermore, as album sales become a measurement of fandom’s growth, global fans push for sales to prove the popularity of their idols.

Album sales are an indicator of the group’s growth and an indicator of the loyalty of the fandom,” said the researcher, adding fans establish a convention of buying records to earn membership in a fandom.


Tapping into this tendency, agencies are focusing on diversifying album inclusions and POBs, creating various versions of photocards that are only purchasable through specific retailers or events. This entails a variety of album versions. For example, SEVENTEEN released multiple versions in one comeback, including regular versions, a Weverse Albums version, a KiT version, and CARAT versions. The CARAT versions are further subdivided into members’ versions.

Online fansign is also a driver behind fans’ buying decisions. Back then, virtual fansign only took place due to the ongoing pandemic. However, this form of communication is maintained well into recent comebacks as a chance for international fans to meet their idols. To get such a chance, fans are willing to buy dozens and hundreds of physical copies. Therefore, buying albums is a way for fans to obtain other perks and opportunities, and not solely for the albums themselves.

Considering different reports, Kim Jin Woo predicted that the current momentum is likely to push sales to 100 million sold copies this year.

Source: News

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