K-Pop stan YouTube is a great, albeit not very stimulating place. International fans flock there by the monotonous millions to stream music videos and leave annoying comments underneath them. And when they’re not doing that, they’re sifting through the thousands of fan videos that litter the platform. Some types of fan videos have soared in popularity over the years, becoming integral parts of K-Pop fan culture.
1. Colour Coded Lyric Videos
In order to understand a song in a language you don’t understand, you need a translation. When a K-Pop song drops, most international fans are eagerly waiting on twitter translations, which are usually then inserted into lyric videos. The videos generally feature lyrics in Hangul, romanised Korean and English, although there are tonnes of other languages songs are translated into. The lyrics that appear onscreen are colour coded to correspond with a certain group member, and labelled pictures of group members hover above the lyrics, lighting up when it’s that particular member’s lines. Colour coded lyric videos amass millions of views, as they’re not only a way to understand the meaning of K-Pop songs, but also learn the names and voices of members.
2. How would [group] sing [song]?
Sometimes, you hear a song and can’t help thinking that it would really suit another group. “How [group] would sing [song]” videos are a fun way to imagine that’s the case. Often, videos are made based on certain associations a group has with a song. For example, when it was revealed that “La Vi En Rose” was a song originally intended for CLC, many fans speculated on what the original line distribution would’ve been like. When idols produce songs for other groups, fans often also like to imagine how that idol’s group would’ve sung the song. For example, Pentagon’s Hui produced Wanna One’s “Energetic,” so it makes sense that fans would enjoy imagining it as a Pentagon song.
3. Unhelpful Guides
This is one of my favourite K-Pop YouTube trends out there. “Unhelpful Guides” started gaining some serious traction on K-Pop stan YouTube around halfway through 2017. These videos typically feature a brief introduction to idol groups overall, followed by short introductions to individual members. The member introductions are filled with fandom inside jokes about the members and play up some of their more meme-y characteristics. “Unhelpful Guides” are intentionally, well, unhelpful. The point is to introduce members on a more personal level than name/age/position, and to entice new stans. There are a tonne of crappy “Unhelpful Guides” out there, but the well made ones tend to be hilarious. “A Useless Guide” is a common alternative title. The cousin of the “Unhelpful Guide” is the “Helpful Guide,” which tend to be far more serious, providing generic information about idol groups and their members.
4. Things [Group] say That Seem Like Fake Subs but Aren’t
This is a relatively new trend to the K-Pop sphere, but it’s already becoming hugely popular. Fans compile clips of their idols saying things that seem so random and bizarre that the translations appear to be fake, but actually aren’t. These hilarious videos are another great way to attract new fans.
5. Unpopular K-Pop Opinions
If you ask me, this is one of the most stupid trends circulating the realm of K-Pop stan YouTube. “Unpopular K-Pop Opinions” videos are compilations fans make to offer their ostensibly unpopular opinions on all things K-Pop. The issue that the vast majority of K-Pop stans have with these videos is the fact that the supposedly “unpopular” opinions tend to just be either blatantly obvious statements that everyone agrees with, or things that are just downright wrong. A popular counter-response to this trend are videos titled “(Actual) Unpopular K-Pop opinions,” but they’re generally not any better. Most of these videos are made by people who are obviously relatively new to K-Pop, so their opinions tend to come across as wildly misinformed. Watching these videos is more than a bit painful and I wouldn’t recommend it.
6. Male/Female Versions
A close second for Most Stupid K-Pop YouTube Trend™ is the “Male/Female version” videos. These videos feature either girl group songs pitched down in order to make a “male version,” or boy group songs pitched up in order to make a “female version.” Usually in the comments section, there’ll be a flood of comments like “Wow! It sounds so legit tho?” Yeah… they don’t sound legit. I vote that we change the name of these videos to “Alvin and the Chipmunks version” instead.
7. Things you Didn’t Notice
“Things You Didn’t Notice” videos are pretty fun. They’re basically edited version of official videos (such as music videos, dance practices and variety episodes) with zooms, pauses and humorous text commentary to point out amusing happenings in the video that one probably wouldn’t notice otherwise.
8. Crack Videos
K-Pop crack videos are essentially the same as any fan crack videos, except they tend to consist of less memes and instead mainly of zooms and text commentary. K-Pop crack can almost be considered its own genre due to how diverse it is. There are hundreds of different formats and editing styles out there, but chances are there are plenty of hilarious crack videos featuring your bias group.
9. Line Distribution Videos
It’s no secret that some K-Pop songs have ridiculous line distributions, sometimes with one member singing for a mere four-seconds, and another for an entire minute. Line distributions give us a good idea about whether or not our biases are getting their time to shine. Most line distribution videos feature slightly sped up versions of songs (we don’t have all day) with bars labelled with members’ names that fill up every time they sing. They give you a visual comparison of the distribution of lines in a song, and often have a member percentage at the end of the video. There are also a bunch of videos such as “worst girl group line distributions” and “best boy group line distributions” floating around. “Center distribution” videos that track how long each member gets to stand centre stage for are also common.
10. K-Pop Vine Compilations
Now, don’t ask me why these videos are titled “vines” when this is YouTube and not Vine, but whatevs. K-Pop Vine videos are compilations of brief video clips with fan-captions, mostly taken from twitter. These videos are generally titled humorously, often with reference to iconic K-Pop memes. There are thousands upon thousands of these videos, but I personally don’t find them entertaining enough to watch them for hours. My advice is to instead watch vine compilations focused on the individual groups that you stan. That way, you’ll be more engaged in the humour and you’ll be able to understand the inside jokes.
Which type of K-Pop YouTube video is your favourite? Did I miss any trends? Let us know in the comments!