The post Fan Chant: Spiraling Into SEVENTEEN and a Q&A with an Industry Expert About Spotify’s K-POP ON! Campaign appeared first on Consequence.
Welcome to Fan Chant, a weekly column for K-pop fans, stans, and newbies alike. Each week, I’ll be rolling out interviews, lists, and all kinds of content to keep you in the loop on the latest and greatest from our friends in Seoul and beyond. Also, make sure to subscribe to my companion newsletter!
Readers of Fan Chant, you are going to be among the first to hear of a new journey I’ve somehow found myself on. The rumors are true — I’m tiptoeing into my CARAT era.
I’m not sure if any other K-pop fans feel this way, but I try very hard to be a casual listener a lot of the time. When it comes to groups I really and truly take the time to dive into — learning names, choosing a bias, etc. — I’m just not sure I have the time for more wonderful people to add to the mix. I’m busy!
…I’m also a liar, and it’s very easy to get me to want to know everything about an act once they’ve caught my attention.
I remember each gateway for the groups I’ve ended up taking the spiral with: For TXT, it was when I heard “We Lost the Summer.” My TikTok algorithm tried to get me into ATEEZ for months, but it wasn’t until I was invited to their show that I really started to get it. (I walked into The Forum still almost entirely unfamiliar with them and left ready to pick up a sword right alongside Seonghwa and fight for that merry band of pirates forever.)
With SEVENTEEN, I’ve been able to hold out and maintain my “enthusiastic listener” status for some time — I’ve written about them in the past, connected with them over email for Track by Track breakdowns, and chatted with them over Zoom around the release of “Darl+ing.” Up until now, I was staying chill — I could quickly identify Vernon, obviously, and liked Hoshi’s “Spider” and Woozi’s “Ruby.” “Cheers” really and truly almost did me in, but what was it that finally put me over the edge?
This video of them eating crabs while here in America on tour.
All this to say, when I got an email from Spotify about a collaboration with SEVENTEEN as part of their new K-POP ON! (온) campaign, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. While I recently heard that the sound quality is allegedly better on Apple Music, I’m a diehard Spotify girl through and through. I love the playlists, the Daily Mixes, the annual mess and fun of the Spotify Wrapped times, and I am deeply attached to my Discover Weekly. (I remember exactly where I was when that very playlist gifted me Stray Kids’ “God’s Menu” and knocked my silly little life off course with Felix’s voice.)
I was able to connect with Kossy Ng, Head of Music for Spotify Asia, about the K-POP ON! (온) campaign and their work with SEVENTEEN, B.I., and ITZY, data insights, and the direction the folks at Spotify anticipate for the genre as a whole. Also be sure to check out K-Pop On Track to keep an eye on Spotify’s K-pop trends.
Enjoy the Q&A below, and, SEVENTEEN fans, send me your favorite songs and videos. (I’m halfway through “Going Seventeen 2020 TTT #1” — don’t worry.)
In your time at Spotify and in the music industry, how have you personally seen K-pop grow?
When we first launched in Southeast Asia, we created our first K-pop playlist in 2014. Today, K-Pop ON! (온), our global flagship playlist, is one of the leading playlists on platform. Since 2018, K-pop streams on Spotify have increased globally, resulting in almost 9 billion streams per month.
The love of the genre is truly global, with the U.S., Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia, Canada, Singapore, and the U.K. rounding out the list of the top countries that stream K-pop. K-pop has taken over the Spotify platform. The genre has already started to grow massively in Asia in the early 2000s, and today we are seeing a huge fandom growing globally and new artist milestones hit.
When is the first time you remember seeing K-pop start to cross over in a big way?
I’ve been a fan of the genre since the late ’90s, but it was a lot harder to access artists and content. What’s really changed, I feel, was the explosion of social and visual channels where artists could really connect with fans and showcase their personalities a lot more. Gone are the days where they feel unreachable — the amount of content these days is phenomenal and as a fan you really feel closer to your idols.
When it comes to working with artists like SEVENTEEN, ITZY and B.I., how did your team capture the unique color and vibe of each artist for the K-pop ON campaign?
Each world we built for SEVENTEEN, ITZY, and B.I. is unique to each of the artist’s personalities and vibes based on the songs they’ve come out with. But at the same time, all three different worlds relay the same message — no matter how different you sound, we all come together in K-Pop ON! (온). The campaign is an extension of the playlist rebrand from earlier this year. It was really great to work with each artist, where we were able to highlight how each artist’s music comes together in a Destination Dreamland — that is the K-Pop ON! (온) playlist.
How do you think the rise of streaming impacted K-pop’s global spread?
Definitely the accessibility. It’s a lot easier now to listen and discover. As a global platform, we have also given artists a much wider reach across all the markets. Through our playlist ecosystem, curation is also intentional in driving more discovery for rising genres and music from all across the world. That has definitely helped break down borders and allowed music cultures to travel.
What do you think is special about fandoms in K-pop?
The loyalty and the passion fans have toward their idols is very special. A K-pop fan’s main goal is to see their idols succeed and get the recognition they rightfully deserve, so they’ll do everything in their power to make sure it happens. From voting for their favorite artists on award shows and events to buying albums to get their idols up the charts – all the fans want is for their idols to reach the top. The dedication and the relationship between the artist and their fans is very admirable, as the connection brings everyone together — it’s a community. A family.
If you had any business predictions about what direction this genre is moving in, what would they be?
The genre has always been at the forefront of innovations around fan engagement, so I believe we’ll see a lot more exciting ways in which artists & fans can connect. Metaverses have been growing with virtual member avatars, digital fan meets/concerts and even having an AI member in a group. It’s going to be exciting to see how they can take connection in the virtual world to the next level.
We’ve kicked off our own virtual world in partnership with Roblox this year, where we built Spotify Island — an experience where fans and artists from all over the world can hang out and explore a wonderland of sounds, quests, and exclusive merch. Our first themed destination featured K-Park, where fans had the chance to interact with all things K-pop and superstars Stray Kids and SUNMI. It was so incredible to see this come to life and fans loved it. Cross-market artist collaborations have also been growing, so hopefully, that will continue to introduce more new audiences to the genre.
What are you most excited for when it comes to new listeners diving into K-pop through Spotify?
Discovery! There’s a variety of K-pop playlists that Spotify has to offer, with a good mix of established & emerging artists to check out as well as genre focus ones. There’s so much good music coming from South Korea. A great starting point will be our global flagship playlist K-Pop ON! (온), where you can explore a smorgasbord of what’s hot in K-pop today.
IVE Also Watched Victorious?
Kyle Meredith with IVE, photo courtesy of Starship Entertainment
Recently, rising girl group IVE jumped onto a Consequence Media podcast for a chat on Kyle Meredith With…, where they discussed their new single and their far too relatable American television preferences. I was particularly obsessed with the fact that they mentioned an affinity for Korean horror films alongside Nickelodeon’s Victorious — they’re just like me, I guess.
Catch the whole convo with IVE here.
K-Pop at the VMAs
This year’s MTV Video Music Awards were sort of all over the place — Eminem and Snoop Dogg in the metaverse? Sure! But in the grand scheme of things, there was plenty of joy in the K-pop realm. Congrats to my new pals SEVENTEEN on their very first VMA win, BTS for breaking records and making history (per usual, slay), and BLACKPINK on their first live performance at the ceremony. If you missed it, you can find details and video of “Pink Venom” here.
Is Taylor Swift in her BLINK era? This clip of her vibing to the song might indicate as much:
— CONSEQUENCE (@consequence) August 29, 2022
Song Rec of the Week:
It’s absolutely no secret that I simply adore TOMORROW X TOGETHER. I’m happy every time they drop new music, have enjoyed every interview I’ve been lucky enough to conduct with them, and am super into the new Japanese single, “Ring.” The Japanese version of “Good Boy Gone Bad” is also great, and the music video is really where it’s at — actor Yeonjun when?!