So Billboard recently came out with an article on SNSD, proclaiming that they were dominating Japan and were on their way to global domination and shit.
That sort of fluff is nothing new, so I don’t mean to single Billboard or SNSD out, but it did make me wonder exactly why American publications like this go to such great lengths to hype up certain K-pop groups.
Girls’ Generation continues their path to global domination with a new Japanese single and a new chart accomplishment. The group, whom appears as Shojo Jidal on Japanese charts, rocketed to the No. 1 spot last week on the Japan Hot 100 with their high-energy Japanese track “Paparazzi” with sales now at 103,000, according to SoundScan Japan.
“Global domination”, yet they lose to KAT-TUN minus Jin Akanishi by 60k on the Oricon weekly?
I mean … what?
Barring a late surge or extraordinary staying power, it will be their worst selling single in Japan to date.
Girls’ Generation latest chart accomplishment truly solidifies their leading of the K-pop girl group pack in Japan. Other popular groups like Kara, 2NE1, and After School have made attempts to break the lucrative industry to varying degrees of success.
Putting Kara in the same category as those flops is offensive as fuck (to both their fans and reason), as is referring to them as if they’re secondary to SNSD. Kara have either equaled or outperformed SNSD in physical sales, in digital sales, and even shit like radio play/radio requests.
I’ve said this before, but sales aside, Kara have more credibility with the Japanese public due to their apparent dedication to language skills and promotions there.
With the additional 103,000 for “Paparazzi” Girls’ Generation’s total singles/download sales now stand at 645,000 (with their best selling track being “Gee” at 207,000) according to SoundScan Japan. The group’s total album sales in Japan recently broke the million mark currently at 1,081,000 with the “Girl’s Generation” record accounting for 715,000 of those sales.
Using those types of calculations, Kara has sold 2.6 million “albums” in Japan though.
The super-popular Wonder Girls have announced plans to infiltrate Japan this year. While they just released their latest English single with Akon, the quintet group could pose stiff competition. For now, though, Girls’ Generation can enjoy life at the top.
Ah, the Wonder Girls are mentioned as well … and they just happen to be promoting overseas! Amazing!
Maybe I’ll explore this further later on, but I’ve often wondered whether Billboard and other American sites push K-pop because:
1) They were paid to do so.
2) They are using the international K-pop fandom to generate traffic.
I don’t say this just for the sake of bringing negativity, but it’s hard to believe that K-pop suddenly becomes relevant to American publications whenever certain groups release American tracks. Yet, apart from that, they are generally out of sight, out of mind.
As you can see in the Billboard article, it generally goes far beyond just covering them, they actively hype groups up to the point of being misleading and incorrect.
All I’m saying is that it’s odd that Kara, TVXQ, JYJ, and others are rarely mentioned in these world domination hype articles, yet they all have a more legitimate claim to the throne in Japan (Kara) or international fandoms (TVXQ/JYJ) than SNSD/Wonder Girls/2NE1. At the end of the day though, the former trio aren’t mentioned in America as much as the latter three because none of the former are trying the American market at the moment.
Are we supposed to believe it’s coincidence that this fluff reporting tends to highlight the Wonder Girls, SNSD, and 2NE1 even if SNSD is not taking over Japan, 2NE1 is irrelevant in Japan and will.i.am sucks, and the Wonder Girls just lost to fucking f(x) in Korea? I mean come on, just admit that it’s not about who rules K-pop in Japan or even Korea, it’s just about either whichever company is paying the most or whatever name brand groups will forward the most traffic to your site.
While there’s no evidence to suggest people are being paid off, knowing how Asian companies work, it’s certainly not unrealistic to speculate on that, and at the very minimum there’s some quid pro quo shit going on. Sorry, guess I’m just not naive enough to believe fluff articles form out of thin air and out the goodness of the hearts of music writers.