Hardly a day has passed in recent weeks without news of K-pop stars making a return to performing to promote new music.
We have learnt that South Korean-Chinese boy band EXO will return with the release of the album, “Don’t Mess Up My Tempo” on November 2, girl group TWICE will release “Yes or Yes” on November 5, and there also be new albums from K.will on November 6, Jennie from girl group BLACKPINK on November 12 and boy band Wanna One on November 19.
The one thing they have in common is the month of November
So why do so many K-pop stars pick the same month for new releases?
“Most singers are reluctant to release their albums in months with big events such as national holidays, so they avoid December,” music critic and a radio script writer Kim Ban-ya, a music critic and radio script writer, told Korea Times.
December also has variety of end-of-year awards and ceremonies, so people’s attention would be mostly on these occasions, instead of singers’ new offerings.
“Therefore, for those who want to release albums this year, November is virtually the last chance to do so,” Kim said.
“In fact, throughout the year, if singers exclude the months with special events, they do not have many options left.”
Ballad singers had their own reasons for focusing on the end of the year, too, she said.
“Many ballad singers hold regular concerts at the end of year, so they usually release fresh tracks before December [before] their forthcoming concerts.”
However, Kim said the timing of new album releases was not as important today as it was in the past.
“A flood of new songs are released every month these days,” she said.
“This means that whenever a singer releases a new song, there are always rival songs competing, so the timing of a release does not determine the success of a song any more.”
Kim said the season was now a more decisive factor when planning a release.
“There seems to be a seasonal effect – more ballads hit shelves during the winter, while dance songs thrive more during the summer.”
Jung Min-jae, another music critic, offered a similar perspective, but said there was no clear data showing an increase in album sales in November.
“Unlike the film industry, the music market does not have particular seasons,” Jung said.
“The timing of an album release is not fixed, but those who want to be recognised in the end-of-year awards may [issue a release] in November.”
Jung said only a few groups, usually idols such as EXO and Super Junior, were likely to be concerned about album sales.
“The album sales of performers such as [indie rock group] Kiha & The Faces do not fluctuate depending on the timing of the release,” Jung said.
This article was originally written by Dong Sun-hwa for The Korea Times.