YG Power Unrivalled in Music Market

– YG artists sweeps across charts, avoid release dates of other agency artists

– In line with the trend of audition programs gaining popularity, even drop-outs rise to stardom

[경향신문 = 박경은 기자] YG’s power in the music market is indeed intimidating. As one of the 3 agency giants in South Korea, their performance and outcome are quite exclusive and unrivalled.

The point in case is that all new songs released by YG artists this year became a huge hit. 2NE1 kicked off in March with “COME BACK HOME”, AKDONG MUSICIAN (AKMU) with “200%” in April, TAEYANG’s “EYES, NOSE, LIPS” in June, WINNER’s debut with “EMPTY” in August, AKMU’s “FALLEN LEAVES AND TIME” and EPIK HIGH’s “HAPPEN ENDING” in October—all of them swept across music charts and programs. YG’s new unit HI SUHYUN unveiled in November, their song “I’M DIFFERENT,” practically topped charts and is putting a brake on MC Mong’s powerful music.

In the recent music world, it is highly difficult for songs to stand at the top for an extended period of time. But that does not apply to YG songs. The overall Gaon chart shows that 2NE1’s “COME BACK HOME” stood within the top 10 for 4 weeks, AKMU’s “200%” for 5 weeks, TAEYANG’s “EYES, NOSE, LIPS” for 7 weeks, WINNER’s “EMPTY” for 5 weeks. Several of their songs were even lined up on charts.

It is not a surprise that other agencies are keeping an eye on YG’s album release dates. Personnel from another agency commented, “We wanted to release the song in April, but we postponed it as we heard AKMU’s songs will be released in the same month. And then the Sewol Ferry incident happened, so it was delayed more, and we missed the timing. It may have been better if we had just faced it in April.”

Korea Music Content Industry Association’s Executive Director Choi Gwangho commented, “YG’s music based on hip-hop and electronic is listener-friendly and is well received by the general public. That’s the reason behind popularity.”

YG’s power also lies in the high popularity of the new artists. WINNER, debuted in August, topped music programs for 2 consecutive weeks immediately after their debut. They solidified their huge fandom through the survival program “WIN” last year on Mnet. The show featured them as trainees in a battle for debut, and it provided a source of entertainment to the viewers by showcasing the five boys’ talents and individuality. It attracted scores of fans and encouraged viewers’ participation by asking them to vote. The live streaming on YouTube garnered much popularity overseas. Thanks to this, even those who didn’t win the contest rose to stardom.

In the last 2 months, YG showcased another program “MIX & MATCH.” Those who didn’t pass the contest on “WIN” were back to be formed into a group called iKON. The strategy to give trainees and viewers the excitement was right on the money. The show hit more than 5 million views on YouTube, again creating a huge fan base overseas. They even held fan meetings in China and Japan even before their debut. It will even be aired in Japan on CS channel next month.

Producer Park Sung Hoon on SBS said, “YG is talented in reading the musical trends and the demands of the public. Their thoughtful consideration and creative tactics are shown through raising trainees to stardom and by showcasing something quite new by the collaboration of HI SUHYUN.” However, some criticize that they are too busy making news by commercializing the competition.

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