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Build your fanbase using the K-pop method (lulu.substack.com)
208 points by cjbest on Oct 2, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 119 comments

Is any of this much different from pop boy bands of the 00's? You make generic, catchy songs that are hard to resist. Then have a group of four or five attractive teens perform the song. And then Highlight each individual so people form a parasocial relationship with the band members. The fanaticism follows quite easily from there.

As someone who enjoys both kpop and western pop I feel there's definitely something that about kpop that creates a more intense fandom, but it's not easy to put one's finger on why exactly. One reason might be that in the western music industry there's more of an assumption that the product is the music whereas in kpop the artist is the product. Kpop artists put out a lot of material that makes you feel close to them and makes them relatable. I'd say that the culture of Korean media is more intimate in general. Kpop stars appear on a lot of tv shows where they just play games, share stories, spend time with at their home, work, coffee shop, restaurant. If you have a favorite western pop star you might see them on a talk show or read their Twitter feed, but it doesn't really feel like you're spending personal time with them week after week.

> of an assumption that the product is the music whereas in kpop the artist is the product

It's not just an assumption, they are open about it. It's not a coincidence that kpop idol are forbidden from dating (they enforce it very strongly btw) and that they organize events were fans can pay in exchange to sit down with them and hold their hand for a few minutes.

Their business model has always been that they prefer to charge a single super fan 900$ for a limited edition album than sell a 10$ albums to 90 people.

> they organize events were fans can pay in exchange to sit down with them and hold their hand for a few minutes

Oof, that's very sad, even more so because it's a lifetime achievement for the fan.

Was in Bangkok a few months ago with my two sons. Driver dropped us off (mistakenly) at the first class drop off. It was quiet but when we entered the doors of the airport there was thousands of girls stretched all the way to the check in counter. And they all started screaming. My 15 year old and 13 year old sons thought that was kind of cool. The celebration quickly subsided once they saw we had no kpop stardom. The star arrived as we checked in and those girls totally lost it for the one or two minutes before he was ushered in to VIP.

>western music industry there's more of an assumption that the product is the music whereas in kpop the artist is the product.

I disagree, also a big fan of kpop and 90s/2000's pop groups and KPOP is just another iteration. All that intimacy on boybands was there back then in magazines, hotlines, tv shows, etc etc, but we probably were not teenage girls during that time and didn't participate.

Kpop groups routinely hire many of the same producers that were popular in the 2000s boy groups into kpop now. One that really stands out is Teddy Riley and other NJS producers from the actual 90s here.. A lot of them migrated over there where New Jack swing continues even to this day.

Anime and games target a similar crowd as K-pop. Although anime mostly targets single (lonely) males with obsessive characteristics, K-pop goes mostly after the female parallel.

Looking at the 2021 sales figures, this seems false. While one might argue that Uma Musume, Tensura and Love Live count, the other top-10 grossing franchises of last year are Haikyuu, My Hero Academia, Shingeki no Kyojin, One Piece, Tokyo Revengers, Jujutsu Kaisen and Kimetsu no Yaeba. From this, what anime mostly targets is pretty obvious: School aged boys who read Shounen Jump.

And when you decide to check the offer and not just what some people buy, you have content for a lot of people. Shojo targets young women, Yaoi is not really aimed at a young heterosexual male audience either.

You want diversity in picture books? Mangas have been doing it for more than 40 years. Some of their more successful authors are women.

The real money maker is in goods.

A genuinely high quality anime takes time and money to make. Otaku fan service can be churned out along with loads of cheap knick knacks. There’s also the whole gacha game industry which ties into those series.

K-pop is similar. People obsess over a band and not only buy an album, they buy an overpriced can of coffee with a picture of their favorite star, a shirt, a bracelet, order a bag of cookies they shilled on their Instagram, and so on.

A school aged boy has to beg his parents to buy him a tshirt with an anime he likes. An adult Fate or Love Live fan has no problem throwing down $500 for a new figure or $80 for a “limited edition” Bangladesh-made bag. They’ll happily do it monthly.

The only two examples you listed are primarily gacha games though. If you meant to draw parallels between K-pop and gacha, why mention anime when they're never the primary medium? And even then, the real money still isn't in the goods, it's in getting people to waste their life's savings gambling for JPEGs.

Both of the games are based on anime franchise, though. Even aside from that, here in Japan it is not uncommon for enthusiastic anime fans to throw multi-thousand $ for goods (including fan-made "doujin" items), live concerts of voice actors/actresses, travels to model locations and so on. I don't see any difference between their mind and K-pop fans'.

I imagine letting the artist become influential outside of music would mean their record labels and producers loose control. I wonder if the relationship of who owns what and the where various lines are between The Talent and Producer in world of K-Pop is maybe quite different compared to places like the UK where characters like Harry Styles have long-since moved past being a "music artist".

This difference might change how intimately an artist is manufactured and presented.

One big difference is social media, where you can see any celebrity "at the same level" as your uncle or friends, while back in the 2000s there was nothing to reproduce this "mundane" seemingly close relationship with celebrities.

because horny

It’s wildly different. Not a sports guy but it’s like NFL vs CFL. Sure they’re both football but the industries built around them are millions of miles apart. Kpop has the support and resources of a nation state with an explicit objective to become the world’s leading exporter of culture.

The behaviours of the K-pop fans in my life don’t resemble anything like the fans of boy bands growing up. Do you remember vast swathes of wealthy, intelligent 30-40yr olds listening to Backstreet Boys, selling and trading merch, building shrines, etc

If the behavior of 30-40 year olds are the only difference, and if they had social media back then, it’s highly likely that they might have.

The parasocial intensity is something else.

Stans (who take their name from Eminem’s song “Stan”, where it wasn’t a positive association) get quite intense, to the point of breaking and entering private property, stalking and causing road accidents, writing messages in their blood, even poisoning them, and that’s just the “selected incidents” on Wikipedia. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sasaeng_fan

No, stans don't get that intense, it's literally a tiny crazed subset - ie the Saesangs.

Every fandom of any type of a certain size has insane fans (looking at you sports teams and fans).

I think there was an enormous amount of innovation and ingenuity required to broaden a market so narrow that it only included preteens to the entire globe across all sex, age, and cultures.

I understand your point but there’s more interesting analysis here than “this is the same it’s been done before.”

>The behaviours of the K-pop fans in my life don’t resemble anything like the fans of boy bands growing up.

My completely anecdotal experience seems to contradict this, the most "mainstream" example I have was when I saw Loona's AMA on the front page of reddit. I read through the thread, and you're going to have a hard time convincing me the average poster was not a 14-year-old girl.

I've also listened to some kpop myself and more directly I always thought, yes, this is type of music I'd go for if I had severe ADHD (not an insult to the genre, I can't say it was "bad", it just gave me that impression)

It seems the K-pop industry has come up with a somewhat repeatable machine for churning out these bands: they manage everything from scouting young talent and training them, writing the songs, merch, events, etc?

That's pretty much what every boy band creator does since nkotb in 1984.

The truth is 16 year old boys don't get together with 4 friends and make music like this. So you need someone in the industry to bring talent together, write their songs, etc. Compare that with rock, rap, punk, emo, etc which happens more organically usually.

I'm beginning to suspect The Monkees might not have been a completely spontaneous and organic situation, either.

The Monkees are just the predecessors of vocaloids.

That’s not true. Stop lying

It's no different to what has been happening in the music industry for decades. Many of the most popular pop songs are written by third parties and the recording companies will often pair artists with experienced producers and tour managers.

The popularity of K-pop is more an artefact of the US mainstream favouring individual rap/hip-hop over dance-centric boy/girl bands and leaving a large opening in the market.


Jpop has moved in more artistic directions, probably because of fan tastes. Like Attrashi Gakko, who are intentionally produced to look, dance, and sing unpolished and natural (the anti K-pop band)

It's been like that for a while (like "anti-idols"). Japanese media is always unpolished and cheesy anyway, which is one reason anime is the only part anyone outside the country cares about, but the music industry does have a surprising amount of room for letting artists do whatever they want as long as it works.

When I heard about Atarashii Gakkou I thought it was some kind of American fan group because the name sounds like it was Google translated… guess it's just unpolished too.

I'm not sure if the unpolished aspect is intentionally produced or genuine. I would bet on the former, that...they intentionally take idol quality girls and go plain on the clothes and makeup for that "girl next door" look.

it's just Japanese consumer don't prefer rap, and songs are generally made for domestic market (until now?)


These days, the members get involved more in every facet, including doing their own choreography & writing / producing their own songs.

Seventeen in particular pushed their choreography to the point where it feels like they made it a new sub-genre. Kinda feels like a concentrated Broadway show.

As I was reading the article I was thinking the same thing. This is just the most recently evolved version, now including things like social media and online communities. It was still an interesting analysis to read. I wonder how the numbers compare for the biggest boybands of 2002, 2012, and 2022.

The key with East Asian group bands is a revolving lineup of members so you always have a fresh product to sell to each years target demographic.

The biggest K-pop bands are Blackpink, BTS, Twice etc.

All are well-established and have no revolving lineup.

Kpop is a bit different.

Kpop has “generations” in the sense that mandatory Korean military service for men puts an expiration date on them all being present, and they fade away in popularity if only some of the members are present.

Also, the contracts are long, but idols don’t necessarily stay around if they think they can get a better deal elsewhere, or if they want to move onto another chapter of their life which idol employment doesn’t allow (like dating).

It’s Blackpink, BTS, and Twice now. Before them, it was 2NE1, 2PM, Miss A/the Wonder Girls, SNSD, etc.

This was the old Japanese supergroup model with AKB48 etc, but it never worked outside Japan and is starting to fail there as well.

I was a Morning Musume fan in high school but the members of the group kept getting younger as they were replaced, and I kept getting older. After a while, it stopped making sense to be a fan. (They never did a song "I'm sad about only being able to contribute $20,500 per year to my 401(k)".)

I never got into AKB48; is that they problem they are having, or is it something else?

I'm not familiar with the post-COVID situation, but I suspect VTubers may have eaten their lunch by operating a similar business model but without the risk of showing your face in public and becoming an IRL retelling of Perfect Blue.

Oh yeah, people really like the vtubers don't they. I see it all the time on r/all, but never really made the association with the AKB48 type fans.

Menudo did it first!

many (most?) kpop members are contractually required to adhere to the image built for them. There have been cases of a kpop member's storyline being around their love of someone and when the actor/actress is found to be cheating they lose the contract.

I know of one kpop member who attempted to keep their marriage a secret as a result.

This goes back at least to the Beatles.

Real reason for K-pop success: hire the best Swedish pop songwriters in the world and give them carte blanche to create any crazy songs they want. Same with Korean car companies and hiring the best German and Italian designers. Start with money, import talent, then cut them loose.

This is absolutely true and I wish more people knew.. They even imported several New Jack Swing producers (the type of HipHop/RNB 90s dance style that was popular in the 90s.. Think Bobby Brown/Keith Sweat/GUY).. Korea is the ONLY nation on earth still making NJS, and where NJS is still relatively popular, pleading out into several kpop tracks. The producer who created that, Teddy Riley, and several others have been going there and producing KPOP for decades now..

You know, the best Swedish pop songwriters in the world could probably do a really good job on the musical accompaniment to a K-pop song, but they're likely to be among the worst possible people to write the song. Any three-year-old Korean kid would be a better choice.

Nope, they're doing just fine writing for BTS etc.: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/arts/music/sweden-kpop-bt...

But they aren't. The headline of that very article (ok, the subhed) notes that they aren't capable of writing Korean songs and don't try. This is repeated in the text:

> Carlebecker writes in English, and then Korean songwriters add new lyrics to her melodies

> Korean songs

I believe the correct term would be lyrics, not songs.

A song can have its lyrics translated/altered into an entirely different language and still carry the same weight. Many pop songwriters would argue that the lyrics are one of the least important components.

Non-anglophone countries are full of such songs based on English language originals. Though this musical localization seems have be have been more popular in the past, for multiple reasons.

> A song can have its lyrics translated/altered into an entirely different language and still carry the same weight.

This is not true. Try listening to "the same" song in two different languages that you can speak, one of which being the language the song was written in.

One of two things will be true:

(a) It is obvious which songs was originally written in that language and which is a translation.

(b) It is not obvious that the two songs are the same.

> I believe the correct term would be lyrics, not songs.

Nope. The lyrics are the song. Music with nothing but lyrics sung to a melody is still a song. Music without lyrics is not a song.

>Nope. The lyrics are the song. Music with nothing but lyrics sung to a melody is still a song. Music without lyrics is not a song.

You're pedantically correct according to the original definition of the word "song".

But in modern usage, the word is used interchangeably with "instrumental" and "track".

It's used to refer to everything as a whole, whether or not there are lyrics.

Lyricless music is not as popular today as it was during the peak of EDM, but instrumental tracks were/are still referred to as "songs", even though they technically did not contain a song, since there were no lyrics.

I never noticed that specific definition of "song". There's an ege case. Is a track with lyrics consisting only of "oh"s and maybe some "ah"s a song? Wiktionary mentions lyrics [0], but I feel it's more about human vocals than a meaningful message.

[0] https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/song

Plenty of anime, jpop, and kpop songs translated and sung by fans in English. They do a great job of making the lyrics fit, rhyme, and feel like an English song.

I've actually been kind of shocked how good they are given how poor many professional subtitle translation are. Like recently watching Cyberpunk 2077 and the English subtitles are not remotely close to the Japanese dialog

I never listen to lyrics. Even when I've heard a song hundreds of time I wouldn't be able to tell you what it is about.

For me, the vocals are just another instrument and it doesn't matter what the lyrics are or what language they are in.

It's actually pretty common to separate music and lyric writing. For instance, I'm sure you recognize names like Puccini and Verdi as famous opera composers. It was very common for someone else to write the "lyrics" to their operas (called libretto in opera). For instance, both Puccini and Verdi had Francesco Maria Piave write libretto for multiple operas. And yet, we still think of Puccini and Verdi as having written their respective operas.

How is this supposed to be a counterexample? I'll have to lean on Google Translate for the French, but here are the first two verses of the English song:

    You may have the money
    But you've got to go
    It's sensible (it's sensible)
    And those endless seasons
    That go on and on

    But I'd sooner get out
    And remember where we went last year
    You said everything about it moved on your career
    If you want to go
    I'll take you back one day
Here are the first two verses of the French song:

    It's a corner [hidden spot?] lost
    on the Atlantic
    It's exotic (it's exotic)
    A secret corner
    under the palms
    It's fantastic

    I could show you
    how to get there, it's very easy
    Close your eyes and let your eyelashes tangle
    Here we are already
    Welcome to the bay
These songs are set to the same music, but they are otherwise unrelated to each other. This is like saying that Weird Al Yankovic translated Gangsta's Paradise into English.

> are otherwise unrelated to each other

Are you serious? Both songs are about going to "The Bay". Both songs compare The Bay to Berlin, London, Paris. Both of the choruses are literally "It feels so good , to be in the Bay".

If you're arguing that lyrics must be word-for-word translation for a song to be "translated", then that's an obnoxious strawman that I can't take seriously.

> Both songs are about going to "The Bay".

But in the English song, "the Bay" is an actual place in which the singer and a particular addressee have vacationed in the past, and in the French song, "the Bay" is an imaginary place which the singer invites a generic audience to indulge in.

Speaking of which, the English song is notionally sung to someone known to the singer, and the audience is conceptually overhearing it, while the French song is sung to the audience.

The two songs don't have anything in common. They both compare their bay to Berlin, London, and Paris, in the sense of saying that the Bay is not any of those places. Mount St. Helens is also not Berlin, London, or Paris. Have I just made a second translation of The Bay into English? Does it make any difference that Mount St. Helens is a volcano?

> Many pop songwriters would argue that the lyrics are one of the least important components

    A B C
    It's as easy as 1 2 3
    Doe Rae Me
    You and me

    1 2 3 4
    I am going to keep on counting
    5 6 7 8

P.S. both of those lyrics are from hit songs. The first from the Jackson 5, the second Gloria Estefan.

wow, i never heard that!

any interesting articles/videos about that?


K-pop bands are really are great at building loyal followings, but this article doesn't feel to me like the right resource for learning how they manage it.

Eg, it's mostly generic 'focus on personal stories,' 'lower barriers to entry,' and 'foster a good community' advice advocated everywhere you look in the blog-o-sphere (is that still an expression?)

Does anybody have any other articles they would recommend on the topic? Eg, about the details that make these groups actually excel at this compared to say the average blogger?

"Eliminate corporate jargon."

kpop has the highest number of jargons: nugu, sasaeng, maknae, pak, lead vocal, main vocal, black ocean, relay dance, aegyo, fancam, girlcrush, visual, bias

Guess what they mean.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this jargon applies to kpop as a whole, not to any specific kpop band.

So when you're starting up a new kpop band, you don't need to educate your audience in all of this jargon. You just need to educate them on any terms specific to the new band (and I would guess the set of those starts in a limited way before it grows in any meaningful sense).

I think part of what we're seeing is that kpop as a genre is highly popular. It's "easy" (not really, but relatively speaking) to start a new band because fans can migrate from other bands. That's as opposed to starting in a more obscure genre where you'd be truly climbing up hill to reach any fans at all, even if you did literally every single thing that the kpop bands do.

As an aspiring author, I'm certainly very interested in this sort of audience acquisition, but it's not obvious to me what (if anything) can really be applied to my use case. The advice in the article makes intuitive sense, but it's also honestly very common advice, and I've talked to a lot of friends and colleagues who've done things like this and it's not that easy.

I think kpop artists spend more time building an emotional connection with their fans. In Korea kpop stars are on TV a lot, usually doing things like playing games together, sharing stories, hanging out at home, at work, at a cafe or restaurant. It makes you feel like you know them personally. With social media there are more people doing things like this, and those people have similarly devoted fans (e.g. the Kardashians). In the west artists still expect and want some degree is privacy, they want to make music but don't necessarily want to be a "professional famous person". My understanding is that for a kpop artist that's basically part of the contract.

> But activism on unrelated issues, even important ones, puts up barriers for no good reason.

It’s interesting framing. Some might view this as pure to your values, some might view this as lacking in values, but it certainly got my attention. Reducing this quote down, the claim is “activism on unrelated important issues has no value [to your business].”

In k-pop we've seen even minor references to the Japanese emperor or Taiwan result in severe backlash. Mainland china also banned the genre for a year in response to THAAD. [0] https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/entertainment/article/3008531... [1] https://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/19... [2] https://www.vox.com/latest-news/2017/3/3/14795636/china-sout...

I thought for a second you meant that a boy band decided to be named THAAD, which would be a bit ballsy, haha.

I hate corporations being activists so much. That's individuals' role, if you don't vote you don't get to be an activist. In reality this means corporations have loud voices and fat wallets drowning out the small guy's voice and effectively changing democracy to corporocracy. Maybe companies should run for office too then since they are now persons.

But that quote I think is just saying to pick and choose your battles wisely.

You can't blame half of america feeling alienated in their own country when bigcorpo uses their might in every avenue possible to oppose their views (conservatives), despite what you may think of them you still have to share a country with the people you disagree with. People shouldn't have to fight or have political discourse against companies, it should be individuals that debate, discuss and influence political outcomes in a democracy.

Perhaps we are now in a neo-feudalist society?

What do you think about the public school teachers union? They present their politics to the kids for a thousand hours a year, for 13 years.

They do so as individuals and school employees not as union members, they do have to follow curriculum as well and I do agree that they should leave their biased political views at the door of the school, this applies to consrvative teachers as well. Parents should raise kids, not teachers.

The teachers unions have an awful lot to do with the curriculum.

> Parents should raise kids, not teachers.

True. But parents do not choose the curriculum, and are not talking at their kids 6 hours a day.

> they should leave their biased political views at the door of the school

Sure, but it's naive to believe that they actually do.

I'm imagining some secret cabal of the wealthy and powerful, making a blunder in their manipulations of society: deciding that US schoolteachers, who naturally will be a formative influence on children, should be educated and underpaid.

Within 2-3 generations of that nurturing of awareness and identification with lower socioeconomic classes, the entire populace ends up inclined to look out for equity for each other, and tears down the cabal.

I guess it's not that simple.

The problem with this line of thinking is the power that media companies have. Media companies have immense power to alter political discourse to fit the narratives they prefer. Which gives immense political power to the owners of media companies, like Rupert Murdoch. Sometimes, enough power to "choose" senators, congresspeople, and even presidents. And this power doesn't have competition unless you allow all other companies to fight for their narratives with money.

What you have at the end is a stinking cesspool, but this cesspool is still better than your country's politicians pledging allegiance to the equivalents of Rupert Murdoch. This is exactly like Churchill's characterization of Democracy - horrible system but better than any other alternative.

You can't make that argument now with the internet where individuals can and do (see HN or reddit front page) reach a wide audience that can compete with the media. But even with old media, individuals are given a platform from opinion pieces to interviewing regular people. But mixing of journalism and entertainment type opinion shows (most of fox and msnbc for example) is not a good thing for democracy.

Are you okay with companies being politically involved when it comes to their business?

I am not, but i am ok with executives doing so as individuals.

And yet the post also suggests members of the company should talk as individuals, not as the company. Which is… a tough row to hoe.

Indeed. Even if those company members aren't outspoken on political matters, people will dig up their politics. Consider the case of Brendan Eich.

Indeed, BTS was never the same once Eich got the boot.

I guess a corollary then is to make sure all your members don't have odious personal politics

> Reducing this quote down, the claim is “activism on unrelated important issues has no value [to your business].”

Negative value, not no value.

No doubt the post is correct but I wish "make good products and show them off" was there. Quality of product should in an ideal world be what attracte people who support a company. In tech at least, that seems to be why people support products, you hear about a myriad of products for any vertical but which one is good and cheap?

Question about not getting involved with politics in your fandom: how does this apply to pop stars like Lizzo, Lady Gaga, Lil Nas X, Nicki Minaj? They all have huge, highly fervent fandoms too. And they're pretty darn political all the time.

I feel like I have to comment. I can't speak to the others, but Lil Nas X is hardly political. He is just black and gay. And people don't like that, because it undermines cultural expectations of black people and gay people at the same time. He doesn't fit into an advertisement checkbox. This makes people with narrow viewpoints uncomfortable. And so his very existence becomes 'political'.

He does regularly troll on twitter, but it isn't like he is pushing an agenda other than trying to exist /how he exists/ and not for /how you would like him to exist/.

If Lil Nas X is political, then so is Kieth Urban. Both of them are just writing songs about what they know, but somehow only the less mainstream artist is considered 'political'.

That advice from the article is kind of silly. BTS is definitely political.


But even though Asia has a lot of rappers, they’re not allowed to do anything interesting or illegal, and if you ever do drugs you’re instantly blacklisted and all your work is erased from stores forevermore.

I really don't think performing at the UN is a political gesture.

I’ve liked Azealia Banks for ages even through her politically incorrect meltdowns and her music just keeps getting better.

A zoomer I was at a party with recently said “yaaa she’s good but like sooo controversial” in a hushed and nervous way like we were in high school and about to go smoke a cigarette.

She's unhinged but nonetheless a treasure. And her music does bang.

Tbf the authors comment was don't take political action outside of your main mission. Political activism from all those artists are arguably part of their culture, the same culture that underscores the subversivesness of American pop culture in general, cemented in the 60s as very anti establishment. Different ball game in East Asia

Question: are those fandoms larger or smaller than without the politics?

I don’t know that I’ve seen good numbers on that.

Generally in the US it is assumed, I think, that if a public figure doesn't make an occasional comment about public events, then they are in favor of the status quo, which is itself a political statement. So, I'm not clear on what what a public figure "without politics" could look like.

I mean Taylor Swift managed to dodge the idea of politics for years (it was an explicit strategy because of what happened to the Dixie Chicks), but eventually people started directly asking questions, and saying "I don't want to comment on this thing my fans feel strongly about" is pretty bad for business I guess.

I don't know, is my confusion. It just strikes me as weird, rhetorically, to claim that avoiding politics is one of the key strategies to gain a fandom when equally fervent fandoms have been built on explicitly political pop stars. I don't understand how to put these two together.

Maybe those artists are willing to leave money/fans on the table in order to do what is right?

Not as bad as I expected to read.

- Keep in mind these bands are disposable. They're typically tied to a generation, a slice in time, and then they fade away. Perhaps that's by design because sustaining such a high sugar diet isn't possible?

- That said, ultimately it's about connecting with your audience. Marketing is typically about awareness and/or driving sales. But these bands go further and connect with their audience. They give the audience what they want *and then some* and do that on the appropriate platforms.

- But easier said than done. There's a connection I have on LinkedIn. She's always posting - nearly always video - about her (SEO) agency. Dogs in the office, someone's birthday, etc. I don't remember a single time she's posted something of use to me. Maybe that would work if she was a K-Pop band? But for who I suspect her audience is, it often feels off target.

> Keep in mind these bands are disposable. They're typically tied to a generation, a slice in time, and then they fade away.

That applies to most media. There are some art/music/games/tv/movies that stand the test of time, but that's not the rule and you can't really create assuming you're going to last forever, even if you're hot for fifteen minutes.

How many people are still doing Wordle right now? I bet it's less than 5-10% of how many people were doing it at its peak near the beginning of the year, and that was huge at the time, seemed like pretty much everyone on social media were doing it (and/or one of its variants).

For music, how many people can keep creating hits for more than a generation? Pretty much just Weird Al and Madonna, isn't it?

Yes and no. Most content ends up being a fad. But that's not necessarily by design (and desire). NYT would love for Wordle to still be hot. On the other hand, BTS, to paraphrase the eternal philosopher Morrissey, was over before it ever began.

In the context of the article's conversation, creating a sustainable connection with a product's fans is difficult. It's fun to relate it to K-Pop but - and to your point - there's more to it.

You missed use the most mentally ill teenagers you can find to work 24/7 into creating tweets with your hashtag so it reaches top 10 worldwide or at least in a few countries, K-pop bands do that, a lot: https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/the-stans-who-post-so-mu...

No need to call them mentally ill. It's fun to create a large amount of attention to the thing you're a fan of.

I'm from a smaller country and around 2010-2012 smaller bands did this as well. It was hilariously easy to create a 'trending topic' in a country back then, so it happened quite a lot.

It's just fun to create attention for the thing you love. The same way people on Hacker News like to share certain (open source) projects and upvote it.

They are not doing it because they came out with the idea to help their little town band, they were told to do it by the giant corporations behind those bands, BTS and BLACKPINK being perhaps the two most insidious in this regard, it's literally an unpaid job and those companies aim for the teenage girls and boys who who are the most unhealthily obsessed with one or more members of the band to do it, by telling these thousands of impressionable teens that the way to show that love is to become the equivalent of human spam bots.

You need to respect the Kpop teens because they’re the only young people on social media who admit to liking capitalism.

How about build a product people love? There are so many reasons listed in the article, and there are so many counter examples where companies did the opposite and still built a rabid fan base. The only unifying thread is that people will deify products they love.

It is easy to build fanbase.

Be young and beautiful. Stop being old and ugly.

If you are insist on your right to be old and ugly, then stop being poor and be rich instead.

"Each fandom has a name (Blackpink fans are Blinks, BTS fans are ARMY, TXT fans are MOA, etc.)"

And Slipknot fans are maggots. I know some of you motherfucking maggots are around here too.

I feel like K-pop is not actually as popular as every K-pop fan I've ever met wants us to believe it is.



(For those not wishing to be smacked in the face with a wet fish pop-over registration modal dialog upon scrolling down the page; fku substk)

I regularly use archive.org to avoid the distorting and invasive pop-ups that regularly litter web pages these days, but I feel this is a bit of an overreaction in this case. I suppose they could position the sign-up area at the top of the page (or even in the middle). But tbf, the point of Substack is for readers to stay in touch with their favorite writers and for writers to build a readership. Thus, prompting the reader to subscribe is highly relevant. In that way, though I dislike the intrusiveness of pop-overs, it doesn't seem grossly offensive to me in this case. Certainly not to the point of "fku substk".

It is annoying to have it on every article. It didn't use to be like this, they're making the platform more user hostile in the name of growth.

It's not very nice.

I don't disagree with you there.

Everyone going to ignore the fact that these 'bands' are highly controlled. They can't have a normal social life. Forced plastic surgery, etc. I don't think it's very healthy to have so much fake social content from artists for both fan and artist.

>For a startup, it’s not enough to have followers. If you want people to evangelize for you, stand up for you, and stick with you long term, you need fanatics.

When did people start advocating deleterious to society suggestions, openly and shamelessly?

Not of the "I thought it was a good ideology" kind, which always existed, of the "everybody should recognize that this is bad", like here...

One of the original thinkers on this topic. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hnOpGXOrHc4

The democratization of DALLE2 images in Substack is unbearable. (EDIT: they are ugly uncanny images). Side note and shower thought.

For an equally crazy fandom see Minecraft stans.

If you ignore the whole K-Pop thing, this is a good article with good advice.

tldr: be consensual to mainstream tastes, jump on every viral bandwagon you notice, encourage frenzieness and addictive behavior. Thanks but no thanks. Thus article is how to destroy any kind of cultural diversity 101. And create vast rigid borderline fanatic groups that upend any systemic stability and routinely create unpredictable cataclysmic events.

I'm half-amused half-shocked that this article is so frank in explaining how this works, without a hint at any consequence.

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