Earlier than I take a quick take a look at a lot of Ok-pop’s smaller companies, there are just a few that I’ve extra to say about. Contemplate these “bonus” write-ups — shorter than the “large 4” however longer than a paragraph or two may cowl.
As common, the ideas are my very own and aren’t aware of any insider info. The aim of those articles is to find out how nicely Ok-pop companies are serving their artists and followers. Due to the timing of this put up, I’ll be together with the previous couple of weeks of 2021 as a part of my evaluation.
It’s humorous to consider being biased towards a whole company, however that’s one of many quirks with Ok-pop. Businesses are likely to have their very own musical preferences – extra like a boutique than an organization. Woollim Leisure has been my company of selection for years as a result of the music they launch is so persistently good. Clearly, style in music is subjective. However, if appears like Woollim’s A&R workforce is usually studying my thoughts (or possibly this weblog!). They offer us such a terrific mixture of the outdated and the brand new, the fashionable and the timeless.
2022 was a banner yr for Woollim’s output. All their acts shined, even when some launched extra music than others. DRIPPIN got here into their very own with a robust, cohesive trilogy. Rocket Punch delivered their greatest single but and Kwon Eunbi developed her sound as a soloist. Golden Youngster didn’t launch as a lot materials as their company friends, however their one 2022 mini album occurred to be among the many strongest of their profession.
For a smaller company, Woollim has a relatively giant roster. But, they had been capable of give all their artists time to shine this yr. In reality, most had a number of comebacks. A few of the larger companies can’t appear to handle this, and given Woollim’s struggles with promotion I’m really impressed how regular their launch schedule was in 2022. They continued to be nice at matching producers with artists, forging multi-comeback partnerships that assist outline every act’s sound.
As a fan, I used to be glad to see Golden Youngster tour North America this yr, even when it probably got here on the expense of additional comebacks. Hopefully, the company continues to foster connections with worldwide followers. I’m positive that will assist enhance album gross sales as nicely. On the flipside, I like how targeted Woollim have at all times been on the Korean market. A member like Jangjun might not be as well-known to international followers, however his comedian-like enchantment appears to be an everlasting presence on Ok-variety.
Woollim’s drawbacks are well-known, and so they’ve been fairly regular for years. The company struggles with promotion, whether or not that be communication/transparency with followers or pre-order durations and teasers that assist an album debut with robust numbers. They don’t typically boast the large gross sales that different companies do, regardless of releasing way more constant music. I’m positive this is because of their measurement and business affect, however I’d nonetheless prefer to see them strive new ways in 2023.
The company has additionally developed an issue sustaining their legacy artists. All of Infinite and most of Lovelyz have left Woollim, and that’s a disgrace. It’s loopy to suppose that Golden Youngster, who debuted in 2017, are actually the oldest act within the company.
On the promotion entrance, I believe Woollim may delve deeper into Ok-dramas. They’ve acquired a pure star in Bomin, however touring (and an unlucky accident) took him off the desk in 2022. I’d like to see extra drama roles for Woollim artists. I believe this can be a enormous untapped potential for them.
Lastly, Woollim’s Japanese releases have left a lot to be desired. I’m unsure what stage of management (if any) they’ve over these songs, however listening to them is like experiencing an alternate universe the place these great artists joined a subpar, generic company. We have to get again to the times of Dilemma and DNA!
What I’d prefer to see in 2023:
- Multiple comeback from Golden Youngster
- Deliver Sweetune again into the fold. You have got a shared historical past! They’re a part of your model!
- Extra effort in home and worldwide promotions
Earlier years: 2021 // 2020 // 2019 // 2018 // 2017