In order to reach the number of hundreds of thousands to millions in album sales , entertainment companies have to squeeze out the tricks to make fans buy as many albums as possible.
Album sales is an important criteria for the audience to recognize an artist’s popularity. In K-pop industry, Hanteo and Gaon’s systems create charts to honor idols with the best physical performance at the time monthly or quarterly. K-pop fans nowadays always care and look carefully at the first hour, first day and first week of their idols’ album sales.
Boygroups are supposed to sell more albums than girlgroups thanks to their strong fandoms. BTS and EXO are the two boygroups whose album sales are always on top and both were dubbed as the “kings of million copies” with the ability to sell incredible numbers of albums every time they make a comeback.
Of course, fans always look forward to listening to their idols’ new songs, but this is not the only reason which can explain their numerous album sales. Currently, there are many sites that offer paid digital musics which are way cheaper than buying physical albums and fans can easily download their favorite songs to their phones. So what are the real factors behind K-pop idols’ admirable album sales achievement?
Strong investment in the design:
K-pop albums mostly have 2 main parts which are the CD and the photobook. Putting asides the CD containing the album’s tracks, the photobook with sparkling images and fancy concept also excites every fan.
Taking a look at Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” album, the female artist’s product only includes 1 CD, 1 poster, 1 disc case, 1 album introduction book (full with words). This shows that the K-pop industry is creating products that are totally different from the original ones. They now tend to strongly invest in the images and design in order to motivate fans to buy the albums, not just simply the music.
Another part that makes K-pop fans extremely excited is the postcards that are included in the albums. Especially fangirls, they love to put their idols’ small cards in their wallets, phone cases, student cards, etc.
However, there are many entertainment companies that apply a “random” rule for photocard. This means fans cannot choose their favourite members’ card so they have to open the album to know whose card it is. What happens if it’s not your bias’ card? Yes, you will have to accept the truth that it’s not your bias’ card or continue the vicious cycle of buying albums and finding your favourite members’cards. Therefore, many fans are willing to buy dozens of albums at once to hunt for their favourite members’ cards or to collect cards of the whole group.
Recently, BLACKPINK has released the album “Kill This Love” with 2 versions. In the album, fans will receive the hand letters of the members, but because they were divided into small pieces, fans have to buy several of albums to collect enough postcards to be able to read the full message of their idols.
Fansign tickets – ‘Gifts of the God’
Regularly, after releasing a album, there will be fansign events for idols to meet and talk with their fans. But it’s not easy to find these tickets. Fansign tickets are released in limited numbers and scattered throughout the total number of albums delivered to distributors. There are fans who had to pay a big amount of money buying hundreds of copies in order to increase their chance of attending a fansign.
Producing many versions for an album
This business strategy is being used by many entertainment companies. In fact, one album is enough to enjoy the music. However, producing many versions of an album will stimulate fans’ shopping mentalities.
Until now, EXO’s 20 versions for “EXODUS” album in 2 languages, Korean and Chinese, is still a ‘legend’. Each language will be divided into 10 different versions, corresponding to the picture of 10 members on the cover. If fans buy a complete set of Korean or Chinese version, which includes 10 covers of 10 members, they can form the “EXODUS” logo by putting all the albums together.
“Global Boygroup” BTS also often releases 4 versions for 1 album. Their recently released “Map Of The Soul: Persona” album excites fans because they’re all so beautiful. Of course, the company doesn’t force you to buy a lot of albums, but who can ignore these masterpieces when you have enough money to buy all of them?