another interesting read about BIGBANG’s success in Korea. 🙂 this was written after the group released their 4th mini album Tonight, (=underrated by kpop fans, yet received positive responses from the critics:
Why has Big Bang been dominating the charts?
Chosun Weekly recently wrote an in depth article on the group’s recent success.
2 years and 3 months were only numbers, because when Big Bang finally released their comeback mini-album, “Tonight“, not only did it skyrocket to the top position on live music charts, but also sold 100,000 copies in a week, a truly remarkable feat in this era of 2 to 3 week promotion cycles.
They also made a specially-tailored comeback to broadcasting programs with “The Big Bang Show“, thanks to SBS.
The Big Bang frenzy isn’t just limited to the Korean peninsula, however. One of Japan’s most popular clothing brands, Uniqlo, created special-edition Big Bang t-shirts that went on to sell out in both countries.
And if you look further, it doesn’t stop just in Asia. ”Tonight” was 3rd on Billboard World Album Chart, and as high as 6th on the US iTunes Album Chart, all without any promotions in America. This exemplifies how far the reach of the Hallyu wave now extends in the world market.
Five years after their debut, Big Bang now reigns in business which is dominated by the ‘idols’. Not only is their music popular amongst the public, but music critics gave rave reviews, too. The individualized and unique activities of each member has also gone a long way in creating a marked contrast between Big Bang and the other male idol groups. Now, we want to ask why we are so drawn by these five men- G-Dragon, T.O.P., Taeyang, Daesung and Seungri.
Five years after their debut, their relationship has strengthened
The birth of Big Bang can be traced back to Yang Hyun Suk, president of YG Entertainment. Gummy and Big Mama had met the public’s desire for raw singing talent, but there still weren’t any groups that carried its distinct individual colors. Therefore, he decided to create a group to fill this gap of the music industry, and have ‘musician images’ for each member.
But they didn’t achieve success immediately after their debut. Although they released 3 singles in 4 months, their hip-hop/R&B style didn’t gain much traction with the public, since most were enraptured by idols who were visually appealing. It was few and far between to see a male idol group which put music and production ahead of popularity.
The turning point came one year after their debut, with the release of their 1st mini album “Always” (2007). The title song, “Lie” grabbed the attention of the public almost at once, and Big Bang swept the charts.
After “Lie” came a string of hits in “Last Farewell”, “Sunset Glow“, “Haru Haru“, and now, “Tonight“; each album the team released dominated its promotion cycle.
Once they decided to take this road, they didn’t give up. Big Bang has been working hard ever since their first hit, and despite the fact that they’re now the top stars in the music industry, they’re still doing the same things that they’ve been insisting on from the beginning.
Normally, after five years, most idol groups get into conflicts with their company, or are forced to be disbanded (for various reasons). However, Big Bang is unique among its peers, because the longer they’re in the industry, the stronger their relationship seems to become.
Singer-songwriter… the triumph of skill
Big Bang, with its inborn musical talent, maintains a strong lead among idol groups because they write their own songs. In 2007, Big Bang began to produce electronic music, which continued to borrow influences from hip-hop rhythms, but their sound design came from electronica, which helped them connect with the younger generation. Although electronic music has since become commonplace in the music industry, years ago, only groups like SNSD, the Wonder Girls and SG Wannabe tried it in their songs. This explains why Big Bang, which combines electronic music with new genres, has garnered such attention from the public.
Strong support of electronic music has been the key to Big Bang’s continued success. Both locally in Korea, and abroad on the Billboard charts, the electronic genre has continued to be popular since the 2000s.
The members of Big Bang have also shown their ability to compose their own songs, like “Lie” which was composed by leader G-Dragon. And when he participates in production, his musical skills grow as well. In their upcoming album, G-Dragon will be responsible for the production of all the songs, as well as collaborating with other famous composers, which is why fans are anticipating it. Whenever Big Bang promotes new songs, they want to introduce something new and tell us new stories. It is the reason why they are different from other ‘idols’, both in terms of their ‘clothing’ and ‘choreography’.
Music critics also treat Big Bang differently from other idol groups. They analyze their music separately, and treat the group as musicians rather than idols. The most important factor that determines the success of singers is the quality of their music, and Big Bang certainly has that.
Big Bang’s Fashionable Attire
They started a phenomenon not only with their music, but with their fashion, which has not only changed the public perception of idols, but also given the group a competitive edge. Their fashion style has also become a cultural phenomenon.
Big Bang didn’t lag behind in fashion. In fact, part of their explosive success with songs like “Lie” and “Last Farewell” may be attributed to their stage outfits, which were at the center of public attention. Many of the name-brand items they wore were imported, or simply unable to be purchased in Korea. Their use of brand-name products allowed them to pioneer new trends onstage with each performance. If a store was selling ‘Big Bang style’ clothes, their items would sell out.
This is a crucial part of their success. The costumes worn by SM, DSP, JYP, etc artists are created especially for the artists by their company, and so it’s difficult to for them to create a fashion trend that can be imitated right away.
Big Bang’s clothing style is an eclectic blend of hip-hop street style and sturdy practicality. A combination of fashion items from different styles created a unique color and personality for the group that distinguished them from the rest. And the fact that the younger generation follows the style of Big Bang shows how closely they connect with their idols.
There was no gap, even during their hiatus
The principal reason behind their continued popularity in Korea, even during their hiatuses, is their individual activities. Since the music industry turned digital, the popularity of an artist is measured by how well they place on music charts. It’s no mean feat for groups to maintain their popularity, but Big Bang’s members have had their own solo activities. In addition, they came up with the idea of forming a duet (GD&T.O.P.). While some members act, others who are talented in variety shows can make TV appearances, all of which allow the group to be in the public’s eye 365 days a year.
Therefore, although it’s been 2 years and 3 months since the members have joined together under the name of Big Bang, we don’t feel like they’ve been away for very long, since during this time, they’ve each released solo material.
Daesung has taken part in variety shows, T.O.P has participated in films, and even Seungri was in a musical. Moreover, in order to pave way for their comeback, their company has started their promotion since last December by producing GD&T.O.P duet album and then produced Seungri’s solo album in January.
So when we saw their comeback in February, they didn’t seem unfamiliar at all. Even after releasing 3 singles, 4 mini album and 2 full-length albums, Big Bang’s popularity is still high in Korea. Whenever they face difficulties, they address them with preparation and speed.
They have showed us how music can conquer the entertainment industry, and, with their advancement into the Japan market, we can anticipate more success for them in the future. Although electronic music is not as popular in Korea as it was in the past, we can believe that Big Bang can overcome these hurdles without any difficulties.
Source: Chosun Weekly
taken from Korea.com