Earlier than I take a quick have a look at lots of Okay-pop’s smaller businesses, there are a number of that I’ve extra to say about. Think about these “bonus” write-ups — shorter than the “large 4” however longer than a paragraph or two may cowl.
As ordinary, the ideas are my very own and aren’t aware of any insider data. The aim of those articles is to find out how nicely Okay-pop businesses are serving their artists and followers. Due to the timing of this publish, 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 Okay-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 constantly good. Clearly, style in music is subjective. However, if seems like Woollim’s A&R workforce is commonly studying my thoughts (or possibly this weblog!). They provide us such an awesome mixture of the previous and the brand new, the stylish 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 powerful, 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 massive roster. But, they had been in a position to give all their artists time to shine this yr. In reality, most had a number of comebacks. Among the greater businesses can’t appear to handle this, and given Woollim’s struggles with promotion I’m truly 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 pleased 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 certain that might assist enhance album gross sales as nicely. On the flipside, I like how centered Woollim have at all times been on the Korean market. A member like Jangjun is probably not as well-known to international followers, however his comedian-like attraction appears to be an everlasting presence on Okay-variety.
Woollim’s drawbacks are well-known, they usually’ve been fairly regular for years. The company struggles with promotion, whether or not that be communication/transparency with followers or pre-order intervals and teasers that assist an album debut with robust numbers. They don’t typically boast the large gross sales that different businesses do, regardless of releasing rather more constant music. I’m certain this is because of their dimension and business affect, however I’d nonetheless wish to see them attempt 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 assume that Golden Youngster, who debuted in 2017, at the moment are the oldest act within the company.
On the promotion entrance, I believe Woollim may delve deeper into Okay-dramas. They’ve received 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 it is a big untapped potential for them.
Lastly, Woollim’s Japanese releases have left a lot to be desired. I’m undecided what stage of management (if any) they’ve over these songs, however listening to them is like experiencing an alternate universe the place these fantastic artists joined a subpar, generic company. We have to get again to the times of Dilemma and DNA!
What I’d wish to see in 2023:
- A couple of comeback from Golden Youngster
- Deliver Sweetune again into the fold. You might have 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