Behind every successful artist is a dedicated fandom, gleefully shouting words of admiration and support. A big part of K-pop’s widespread fame is due to millions of fans who are enthralled by the music genre. It’s no wonder why entertainment agencies are exerting tremendous effort to attract new followers. In the K-pop scene, the fandom is an essential part of the picture.
Apart from fandom support, the promotion cycle or strategy of the group carried out by the company is another integral part of the K-pop formula. It’s a normal thing for fans to expect the idols they love to get proper exposure and hype that will be beneficial for their career. Unfortunately, there are instances where things don’t flow as well as how fans want it to be. As a result, it often leads to disappointment.
After the long comeback drought, EXO-Ls’ prayers finally came true last week with the release of EXO’s fifth studio album Don’t Mess Up My Tempo. Like the group’s past releases, their newest album is now another certified million-seller. It only shows that EXO’s career is nowhere near the point of decline.
However, many EXO-Ls have recently expressed their frustration towards SM Entertainment regarding the lack of promotions for EXO this year. They expect the company to go all out, considering the group’s long absence. Although a comeback showcase, press conference, a few music program performances, and TV appearances have recently aired, EXO-Ls still seem unhappy about the whole situation. They were in disbelief after knowing the details of the recent fansign event which looks hastened.
The Rising Sound of Tension
It’s clear as crystal that a big part of the fandom isn’t happy with the number of promotions that SM is giving. Luckily, fans still get to see them through V Live and their personal social media accounts. EXO’s music producer, Marz, has also shared his dissatisfaction through his Instagram stories about the situation. The posts spread like rapid wildfire on Twitter which added more fuel to the exasperation of most EXO-Ls.
In the past few days, a lot of EXO-Ls have started their movement as a response to the company by unfollowing the agency’s Twitter account and trending the hashtag #포카바인더_불매 to boycott the newly released merchandise.
Boycott for the Photocard binder @SMTOWNGLOBAL promote EXO well if you want more money from merch
— ℓoey찬 (@kpoplover727) November 10, 2018
Kfans are trending this hashtag#포카바인더_불매 for boycotting SM's new EXO merchandise (photocard binder).
Such a good decision. Merchandises are directly goes to company's profit and since sm didn't give proper promotion , Keros decided to do it@weareoneEXO
— Bunny ChanBaek 🐰❤️🐰 (@skypark614) November 10, 2018
( • . •)
/ >💵💵💵💵 SM, you want this from us?
— 내 세훈 🐣 (@senisehunie0412) November 10, 2018
— niniverse💎 👉OMK👈 (@88nett) November 10, 2018
Last November 11, one of EXO’s (@weareoneEXO) largest fan accounts on Twitter, exo_lab, posted a statement regarding the lack of comeback activities for the group. The tweet earned massive support from the fandom which only attests to how big this issue is for EXO-Ls.
에스엠엔터테인먼트를 향한 아티스트 엑소의 활동 지원 촉구 성명문
위 내용에 동의하신다면 청원 참여 및 프로필 변경, SMTOWN 구독 끊기 운동에 동참해주세요. pic.twitter.com/rNQctn5KOt
— 엑소행복연구소 (@exo_lab) November 11, 2018
An Old Played Rhythm
This scenario isn’t new in the K-pop industry. Last year, iKONICs organized a fan boycott to all products by YG Entertainment as a protest to several matters concerning iKON’s welfare. Fortunately, the company responded about the issue to clear it up. It goes to show that fandoms have always been vocal about anything that surrounds their favorite group. In today’s age of social media, fans can easily voice out their sentiments which makes them a powerful force.
The recurring pattern is noticeable among SM groups for many years. Senior idols tend to get less promotion while young artists get more opportunity to be under the spotlight. This repetitive cycle works efficiently for SM, hence why it still happens. EXO is already a senior group, and SM knows they’re now a well-established and bankable name. It sounds cliché, but most agencies centers around the “business is business” mindset. There will be decisions made by the company that will not always go in favor of the fandom whether they like it or not.
In spite of what’s happening right now, it doesn’t remove any ounce of excitement of EXO-Ls for the repackage album. Kai and Suho have recently confirmed on the SBS PowerFM’s “Choi Hwa Jung’s Power Time” about their upcoming reality show after five years. The two also shared a few details on the upcoming album which is stirring high anticipation. Whether things take a positive turn or not, the support of EXO-Ls isn’t going anywhere. Just like the stars in the universe, they’re shining brightly on EXO’s path.
My Groove to The Current Beat
The resentment of the fans shouldn’t also be belittled. EXO-Ls made it clear that they will take the necessary steps if their requests keep on getting ignored. This sense of disappointment and frustration is a common tendency for people to have about things important to them. At this point, SM must consider addressing the issue with all the questions and complaints they’re getting.
It may sound like a will-o’-the-wisp, but there should be a balance maintained between the requests of the fans and the company’s interest in this situation. Whichever fandom is involved, everyone’s voice should also have the chance to be heard. At the end of the day, a dance floor looks even better if everyone is enjoying the song.