High-quality music but why can’t YG compete with SM and JYP on the physical album field?

YG’s groups are always outsiders in the physical sales race of SM, JYP and even Big Hit.

YG is always famous for its high-quality music which seems to be loved by the public with how its groups always swept the digital charts by storm. However, talking about physical albums, YG cannot compete with SM, JYP or even BTS. Except for BLACKPINK who is doing quite well in the top 3 physical sales of girl group, others are still very weak in this field.

However, it’s not hard to realize the irony reasons that YG’s groups have.

The album’s quality and design doesn’t worth the money

YG is a big company with a professional design team, but the quality of their product is quite disappointing. Comparing to other big company, the quality and design of YG’s albums is only average but with a high price. The photobook’s photos are usually blurred with many blank page (which might be for the artistic reason) and the spine of the photobook is extremely weak. The cover’s design is too simple and decolorizes easily.

The most important thing is the added gifts like cards, posters is too few or too boring. Not every fan has the ability to purchase such expensive albums or they just feel that the albums are not worth the prize which leads to a low physical sales.

… and "RETURN" of iKON all have very few additional gifts.
… and “RETURN” of iKON all have very few additional gifts.
Album “ALIVE” of BIGBANG is rusted after a while.

Rarely have any fansign

Usually, idol groups will have fansigns or hi-touch events for fans who have bought the most albums. This is how they promote, but also to motivate fans to buy more physical albums. These kind of events are usually quite useful in raising the physical sales while also create the chance for fans to be close to their idols.

However, YG rarely arranges this kind of event for its artists. BIG BANG has only had 1 fansign from 2006 ‘til now. This situation is a little bit better now with WINNER, iKON and BLACKPINK all have their fansigns but the quantity isnot much and the scale is only medium or small.

This is the problems YG need to admit and fix to raise its artists’ physical sales. Without the fansigns and hi-touch events, fans don’t have much motivation to buy albums in large quantities anymore. Also, those events will give fans more chances to be close to their idols instead of just watching them through the screen or on stage.

Not quite a stable fandom

Fandom is a fundamental element for a K-Pop group to survive and grow. They are the main and biggest source of physical sales for their idols. However, except for BIG BANG, other YG groups are struggling in building a strong and stable fandom.While SM, JYO and Big Hit all have very clear and detailed plan, YG is obviously confused in how to build a fandom for its groups.

Looking into how YG is working recently, its artists might not have a strong and stable fandom in the near future. The fact that they only promote for just a few members in the group might create internal fanwar. “Keeping” them in their “dungeon” for too long makes the old fans left while young fans don’t have the motivation to join. This is also why YG’s physical sales is never high.

Except for BIGBANG, YG’s groups are all struggling to build a strong and stable fandom for themselves.
Except for BIGBANG, YG’s groups are all struggling to build a strong and stable fandom for themselves.


Album physical sales is one of the 2 main incomes of an idol. It also showcases the power and stability of each fandom. Even though BLACKPINK is trying and already partly saved YG’s album sales, if YG won’t upgrade the albums’ quality and keeps on ignoring the promote events, its artists will still have to fall behind their rivals from SM, JYP and Big Hit.

Sources: k14

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