The Kpop Comeback: Explained

Logos for the main 4
K-Pop music shows

Photo Courtesy of: Google Images

Logos for the main 4 K-Pop music shows

Emma Bennett, Journalist

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K-pop is a genre of music that has existed since 1992, when Seo Taiji and Boys first appeared on TV. They didn’t know then, but Seo Taiji and Boys were the first group to pave the way for what is known today as ‘K-pop.” The industry of the genre has changed significantly since then, and now an easily detectable formula can be identified throughout all of K-pop. One of the main commonalities is the K-pop comeback.

What is a comeback? In American society a “comeback” may be referred to as a new release from an artist after an extended period of time with no new music releases. “They came out with a new album” would be the typical phrase used, instead of comeback. In short, a “comeback” is when an artist releases new music after a hiatus without content. A debut does not count as a comeback. A debut is the first music an artists has ever released.

K-pop comebacks don’t work like western ones. While it can take an American artist years to come out with a new song, a K-pop artist will usually only take a few months. The average, successful group will have 2 comebacks a year. There are usually 6-8 months in between each comeback. For example, Enhypen had their most recent comeback in October, and their previous comeback in March. 

Fans of the genre expect artists to come back at this rapid rate. Taking over a year to release new music is considered an excruciatingly long time. The reason it can take so long is because the company the artists are attached to considers the artists unsuccessful. It can also be because they are taking advantage of supply and demand, or they have simply forgotten about them. No matter the reason, the fans of the group can be enraged if it takes too much time for an artist to have a comeback. When Blackpink didn’t have a comeback for over a year, fans sent protest trucks outside of the company. The truck had a billboard that demanded for Blackpink to release new music.

BlackPink protest truck (Photo Courtesy of: Google Images)

Promotions are different in K-pop compared to western music, too. In Korea there are multiple shows in which artists go to perform their songs. These shows are called “music shows.” Some examples of the music shows include “Music Bank” and “Inkigayo.” These shows are not like talk shows and exist exclusively for performances. If a group has enough votes for a certain show, or enough streams, they will get a “win.” A win is when at the end of the show every group that performs goes on stage and the winner is given a trophy. The first win is normally a very emotional moment and oftentimes the idols cry.

Idols also go on multiple variety shows to play games, do interviews and show off their personalities. This gives the fans extra content outside of the music, and brings more connection from the idol to the fan. Some of these shows include “Weekly Idol,” “Running Man” and “Knowing Bros.”