SM's blatant payola, media play for SNSD exposed
SNSD have been around for over half a decade now, releasing hit after hit in Korea, and debuting in Japan with arguably their best and most complete work to date. Still, despite that, all the hype in the Western media seemed to center around 2NE1/YG Entertainment for whatever reason. As far as over-the-top annoying media play went, 2NE1 was definitely leading the K-pop pack in the West, which I would know because it’s generally what I focus on. Sure, SNSD would get the occasional mention for their success/sales, and they did end up performing on the Late Show With David Letterman, but a lot of that coverage either seemed sparse, dissipated quickly, or was negative in nature.
As such, I was a bit surprised that SNSD and their new track, “I Got A Boy“, was getting so much attention from the Western press recently. It’s not just because I didn’t like the track (there are lots of songs that I don’t like which are popular with others, obviously), but rather because I didn’t understand what was going on.
“I Got A Boy”, for SNSD’s standards, has sort of bombed in Korea thus far. They’ve sold 319,824 copies digitally in the first week, which pales in comparison to the sales of their own sub-unit, Taetiseo, who clocked in at 604,870. Hell, for apples-to-apples sake compare it to their last Korean album, “The Boys“, which clocked in at 759,463. The fact of the matter is that “I Got A Boy” got more than doubled up by Lee Hi, almost tripled up by Big Bang, and was even outsold by miss A. Now obviously sales don’t indicate musical quality, but as a pop act, that’s basically what they exist for, so to say the hype surrounding this song is to be expected is disingenuous at best.
So if the hype is not based on performance, it must be based on quality, right? Hell, allkpop called “I Got A Boy” maybe the best K-pop song ever, so that’s why Americans must be all over it, right? Well … maybe not*.
*This is besides the fact that Western publications attach themselves to the teet of the K-pop fandom to leech pageviews and popularity and whatever else.
With an American advancement likely incoming in 2013, the answer to why they’re getting so much more media play than before from the West should be fairly obvious. And while it took about a week for me to fully process what was happening, this e-mail via Cornerstone, a public relations and marketing agency based in New York, basically affirmed to me what was happening behind the scenes.
Asian Junkie: Kpop’s Next Viral Smash GIRLS’ GENERATION // Topping the Billboard Charts // “I GOT A BOY” is #2 Most Watched Video onYoutube, Reached 20 Million Views in 5 Days
All of this makes sense in terms of marketing strategy (target audience), as Cornerstone themselves say:
Just wanted to share some of the latest news about the 9-member K-Pop phenomenon Girls’ Generation, who are currently experiencing some MAJOR Billboard Chart success. (See the screenshots below: Most Popular Youtube Songs, Heatseekers Albums, KPop Hot 100, & World Albums)
After releasing their new video single “I Got a Boy” on January 1st, the clip has been racking up some MAJOR VIEWS on a global scale (currently well over 25 Million views, and still going strong). Right now, this is shaping up to become one of the first viral smashes of 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq7ftOZBy0E
I’d love to spread the word to your readership — any spotlighted coverage you can provide would be fabulous!!!
The girls have extensive plans for the US during 2013 — much more news will be announced soon!
Randall Roberts at the LA Times weighed in, referring to the song as a modern-day “Bohemian Rhapsody”: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-girls-generation-i-got-a-boy-20130105,0,3423565.story
Billboard published an extensive track-by-track review of their new full-length album (Also named I GOT A BOY & released on January 1st): http://www.billboard.com/new-releases/girls-generation-i-got-a-boy-track-by-track-1008068002.story#/new-releases/girls-generation-i-got-a-boy-track-by-track-1008068002.story
Cornerstone’s clients seek out its services to help them reach the age 18-35 demographic with strategic marketing and branding campaigns and for its experience in the music industry. Pepsi-Cola North America’s VP of portfolio brands Frank Cooper described the firm’s capabilities as a rare combination, saying in an interview that they understand the record industry while not being confined by it. They have great creative instincts, strong research, and they understand how to work with large companies. Geoff Cottrill, Converse chief marketing officer, said their understanding of pop culture and youth marketing is really unrivaled in their space.
In addition to strategic lifestyle marketing and creative services, the agency’s practice areas include digital marketing, radio promotion, brand consulting, music supervision and Cornerstone Public Relations, a full-service PR firm.
Perfect fit? Perfect fit.
Trying to make “I Got A Boy” the next “Gangnam Style” seems like a stretch, but that’s exactly the route a marketing/public relations firm should be taking. Shameless? Sure, but that’s the business*.
*Why would a marketing and public relations agency send a blatant hype e-mail to a cynical, irrelevant site like this? I honestly don’t know. No such thing as bad publicity, I suppose.
I’ve previously covered how the PR machines have operated in regards to Japan, so I’m assuming seeing this in effect in America is going to get annoying even quicker because of the relative closeness of it. Realize that SNSD isn’t the lone wolf here, as 2NE1 and others will start up the hype machine again soon enough, because as the Hallyu Wave starts to wane a bit in Japan, their industry structure needs another big market to boost revenue, and America would serve it nicely.
The rumblings about SNSD and others in K-pop trying to ride the remnants of the Psy wave now seem unnervingly accurate, and it appears the hype machines will be in full effect for all of this.
In the end, the only thing I’m sure of is that unlike Psy’s initial viral spread, the hype for these idol groups will be anything but organic and authentic.
Source - AsianJunkie
I mean really, how obvious is it that SM/the Korean government is paying for all of this? I wonder how much their monthly check to Billboard is to mention them every five minutes. all the paid-for premieres on Ryan Seacrest and Rolling Stone blurbs in the world can't save this mess tho, what a waste of taxpayers' won!