[DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

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[DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

Post by Jayden on Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:29 pm

I received this question on our Tumblr, and I thought it was an excellent question that had the potential for a lot of discussion. While I could give a cursory reply, I thought it'd be more worthwhile to bring it here.

Here's the question:

Hey there Smile Afterschool has been one of my personal favorites for years. In my opinion they are one of SK best Kpop performers. I mean they have the supermodel looks, the unmatchable talent and from what I could tell on their shows they always seem like a big down to earth happy family, even though they have had members come and go. Yet they are still not that popular and many people don't seem to like them. Why do u think that is?

Admin B answered a similar question on our ask.fm before, and his theory had to do with the fact that Because of You was their biggest single to date, but their lack of subsequent follow-up activity made interest decline.

What do you think?
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Re: [DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

Post by riceeeeeeeeee on Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:38 pm

Maybe they arnt generating alot of big hits that the consumers like? With SNSD they have catchy songs and than songs that are lyrical. Promotion may be a big factor too or fan base.
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Re: [DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

Post by jupalfan on Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:58 pm

Interesting question. I will base this on what I've observed as I've gotten into k-pop, looking at the articles from k-pop news sites like akp, soompi, or netizenbuzz, and of course reading netizen's opinions. I'd say there's a couple huge reasons.

1) The lack of k-promotions is probably the most damaging. Groups from big companies such as SNSD and 2NE1 could make 1 comeback a year and still hold onto their top popularity. Imo, even if the song and performance sucks from those groups, the mass of fans and attention will still make it a success (i.e. lots of ppl hated IGaB).

2) Also with Pledis as a small company, there's less money for comebacks and other promotions like variety shows. I mean Playgirlz School was what like 3 years ago? If ppl can't get to know the girls, why would they care enough to become fans

3) Obviously the graduation system has the inherent detriment of losing fans when their bias graduates, as well as older fans losing becoming disillusioned with the constant changes to the group. I think AS in particular also likes to do something drastically different every comeback, so there's less continuity between their promotions. Diversity can be good, but it can also make it harder to identify the group.

4) I personally don't really understand why winning #1 is so important, but I guess to the casual fan, the #1 wins can influence their perception of a group. AS's drought of wins is indeed quite troubling, especially for a senior group

5) And lastly, I agree with sentiments expressed elsewhere on this forum: since BoY, I wouldn't say they've had a song that truly wows. We all know the dance performances are top notch, but not everyone will watch them. If we can get an amazing song, performance, and promotions all in one, AS always has the potential to reach the top!

That all being said however, I don't think #1's or sales can give you an accurate picture of a group as a whole. I know it was just like a novelty thing, but the fact that Nana and Lizzy were chosen for the Colors of K-pop along 4 of the other popular groups shows that AS is still considered at least somewhat relevant. In addition, their modest success in Japan and their above-average rise in attention in China are good signs. I suppose k-netizens don't care about foreign promotions, but it give Pledis the funds to further Korean promotions.
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Re: [DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

Post by PlayboyzAdam on Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:50 pm

@jupalfan, well said. I agree with everything except BoY being truly wow. I hated the concept and I'm not a fan of sad love songs. Although throughout these years I've gotten over my dislikes for the song and I listen to BoY quite often now. Since that's just my opinion and it did wow a lot of people, I guess over all you're right.

jupalfan wrote:
4) I personally don't really understand why winning #1 is so important, but I guess to the casual fan, the #1 wins can influence their perception of a group. AS's drought of wins is indeed quite troubling, especially for a senior group.

I'm not sure about other fans but I've been trying to help After School win #1 for a few reasons:

1) To let them know what I thought of them.
2) To let them know they've done well and hopefully encourage After School to do more activities in Korea.
3) There was an interview in 2011 where their wish for 2012 was to win #1.

If it wasn't for those points I wouldn't even care about those music show awards.

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Re: [DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

Post by K-kitsune on Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:12 pm

I think there are so many variables in what makes or doesn't make a group popular, but really it comes down to how their company handles them, song choice and, perhaps most importantly, luck.
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Re: [DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

Post by Jinana on Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:19 am

An "It" girl and a lack of a vocalist that releases solo songs.

I know that these two points seem weird but look at other groups like SNSD and WG who have Yoona and (had) Sohee. A girl that is extremely popular that brings in the fans. I know Uee is popular through her acting but she is nowhere near the levels of others.

AS doesn't really have solo songs that are released as a stand alone song, e.g. OSTs and such. If one of the good vocalists like Rania could get a few OSTs or collabs for a good drama/film then they could gain more fans.
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Re: [DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

Post by heartnana_95 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:09 am

They just need another huge catchy hit again. I mean flashback and first love were good too but not as catchy, AND everytime they made a comeback another popular group came back too, like Sistar.

Also, I've read this in a lot of other forums, but after losing Bekah and Kahi many people have lost interest in the group. And they just can't adapt to the graduation process. I mean AS had a huge drop in popularity after losing two fan favorites:(
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Re: [DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

Post by PrinceX on Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:55 pm

heartnana_95 wrote:They just need another huge catchy hit again. I mean flashback and first love were good too but not as catchy, AND everytime they made a comeback another popular group came back too, like Sistar.

Also, I've read this in a lot of other forums, but after losing Bekah and Kahi many people have lost interest in the group. And they just can't adapt to the graduation process. I mean AS had a huge drop in popularity after losing two fan favorites:(

About their competition: i agree that they have so much bad luck when they make a comeback as a full group.

Ah!: Snsd
Diva: Snsd & 2ne1
Because Of You: 2pm (exception)
Bang!: Snsd, Rain and Lee Hyori
Shampoo: f(x)
Flashback: f(x) and Sistar
First Love: Sistar


About Bekah and Kahi: Yes, Kahi was a big lost for After School's popularity but i personally ok with that because the other members are getting more attention (which most playgirlz and boyz wanted). And Kahi has her solo career, so whatever.
Bekah wasn't even that popular in South Korea (which means alot).
She was only international fans favorite but that didn't helped that much for her.

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Re: [DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

Post by OKDR on Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:20 am

heartnana_95 wrote:They just need another huge catchy hit again. I mean flashback and first love were good too but not as catchy, AND everytime they made a comeback another popular group came back too, like Sistar.

Also, I've read this in a lot of other forums, but after losing Bekah and Kahi many people have lost interest in the group. And they just can't adapt to the graduation process. I mean AS had a huge drop in popularity after losing two fan favorites:(

You're not wrong but I am not sure how an "It" girls would backfire into the group's fandom.

Just look at Uee. She was added being already popular because she had both the fandom of back when she trained with 5 Girls, also because it wasn't that long since she was introduced in a TV variety by Yubin as her "best friend". Then as soon as she joined, she already had a couple of roles in dramas. She's indeed popular, but it's always been said that certain K-Playgirlz doesn't like her in AS because of that.

In a group that has a concept that's still considered dramatic for some fans and non-fans, having an "It" girl is problematic. Fans would love on her, like some fans hated on Hyuna, etc. If they had a couple of vocalists that were solo material, then that would change, maybe. The hatred would be divided or maybe it wouldn't be seen that much unfair.

I think the problem is that they've been finding how to exploit certain members but they still don't know how to fully exploit others. They did little with E-Young. Like, everybody went crazy with her instrumental version of First Love, why not make something more?

Why do the rookies have their youtube or streaming shows and AS' don't? Why they don't take the less active members and make them do a youtube short show?

I like that they took a different focus on Beauty Bible, giving Jung Ah some protagonism, adding Lizzy because she has a way with audience and comedy, Nana because of her model skills & Juyeon who seems to be following onto Son Dambi's entertainer steps (as well as trying to expand her drama career). Yet, the other members need their thing too. They do appear on the show, but the focus seems to be on these 4 (and the pilot was only on Jung-Ah/Lizzy/Juyeon, right? I am not sure now).


Pledis doesn't fully manage the whole concept of having a group like this, I already said before how the agencies they took it for, H!P & AKB manage to put certain focus on their eggs or kenkyuusei (Kenkyuusei are the closest to Pre-Schools) so fans can always expect them to do good, whether they become AS' members or end up somewhere else. We knew about the rest more because of dedicated fans than actually because of Pledis' way to expose them.

But if they already have troubles displaying the whole members, then there's no wonder they aren't managing the Pre-school Girls part well either.

I know certain things require funds, time, etc. But looking at how they managed to go with guerrilla tactics for their rookies and didn't apply those to AS' (because those worked) is disappointing for me. They are ceirtantly trying to gain the best promotions overseas and keep the concerts and fan-meetings, but there's a certain part of the audience that needs a more straight contact through other platforms than that.

And again, one of the main reasons they can't manage to keep a better status in Korea is because they don't release stuff that often, and they had never been a #1 group, they won mutizens with BoY, yes, but in order to become a #1 you need more than that.

However, despite of everything, it still surprises to me that they are somehow in a higher position that I'd expect for a group that hardly promotes on their country.
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Re: [DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

Post by PlayboyzAdam on Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:05 pm

OKDR wrote:they had never been a #1 group, they won mutizens with BoY, yes, but in order to become a #1 you need more than that.

@OKDR, for your information After School is #1 to me and has always been. LOL, but I see your point and I agree.

I wonder if it's possible to convince/encourage Pledis to have multiple After School Korean comebacks in a year. Although I don't think it's as simple as convincing and encouraging them. Pledis has other artists e.g. Kahi, Son Dambi, Hello Venus etc that they need to work on promoting as well as other projects that fans probably aren't aware of. All this requires time and money and Pledis is still a very small company compared to other companies. I think the lack of resources Pledis has is also hindering After School's success in Korea.

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Re: [DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

Post by OKDR on Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:41 am

They should, honestly, come back thrice a year. They're also holding back HV and NE now too.

I can't blame them for Dambi or Kahi because by the way they tweet and speak on their album thanks, they kind of take the lead on what they want to do. Like Dambi appologizing for taking that long to release an EP because she wanted to be on TV or Kahi tweeting about how she wanted to work on the music for herself, probably until she hadn't it all, she wouldn't release, and suddenly she dropped the second EP. Next time may be the same, if she continues with it. She delayed probably because Dambi asked for her to be in that TV magazine she did.

HV members, they're trying to promote them on the drama department, which is nice, but they should keep releasing stuff as well, while NU'EST seemed to be on the same onlyfan-meetings and overseas stuff thing now. We know they're supposed to have material because they tweeted about working on music after their last come back, and kept on with that, but they aren't as constant as they were their first 2 years now.

Sometimes it looks like the debuted acts are outgrowing the number of professional staff that can take care of them and their businesses (meaning releases, promotions, activities, etc.)

Their CEO is really creative and know whom to take ideas from but at the end, is like he got just half-way with developing those.
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Re: [DISCUSSION] After School's Popularity in Korea

Post by PrinceX on Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:25 am

It breaks my heart sometimes to see them losing against other groups. Seeing low album sales, dropping down the charts after just a week, ect.
Pledis needs to step up their game because the company is a mess when it comes to promote all their artists.
People are saying that the graduation concept ruined After School's career but it is actually their comepany Pledis Entertinment and not the other way around.
How could Son Dam Bi and After School dropping so hard after their success with Saturday Night and Because Of You...

Son dam bi especially had too much hiatus (which was bad for her music career).
She is not gonna be big in South Korea again in my opinion because of that. (sad, she was a good solo artist).
Really bad move from Pledis, really bad.

After School on the other hand still has a chance to get big again but they need to do something with the group (members especially).
After School needs at least 2 comebacks a year + a repackaged album to get more sales.
Stop those gimmicks like Pole Dancing or Tap Dancing.
It's not helping them at all. It is a waste of time and always one member gets injured.
Better Title songs! More Upbeat and fresh sounds!
Find different producers and stop working with Brave Brothers already because he just isn't good anymore for After School!!!
Promote E-young and Kaeun already Pledis!
Put them into a new sub unit group. Maybe a duet group or put a third new member to the sub unit group. Work as a trio like Orange Caramel but please promote these girls already!!

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