Background

SuperM is a group created by the Korean record label SM Entertainment (the group name is a reference to the label name) and consists of members from 3 other SME groups: EXO, NCT, and Shinee. A few weeks ago it was announced that 7 members from these group (4 from NCT, 3 from EXO, and 1 from Shinee) would be coming together to form SuperM, the self declared “Avengers of K-pop.”

SME is one of the “Big 3” labels in South Korea, the other two being YG (Big Bang, BlackPink) and JYP (Twice). The head of SME, Lee Soo Man, was found guilty of embezzling money through the company, and at one point even wanted by Interpol, but did not serve time in prison because the money was eventually returned.

Before BTS, k-pop ventures into America have almost universally been failures, with the exception of Psy’s Gangnam style which because a viral hit but did not lead to any prolonged success in America. Other groups like Wonder Girls (JYP) and Girl’s Generation (SME) have tried to break into the American market, but failed due to various reasons. Because of BTS’s success in America, more K-pop groups have been trying to “break it” in America, and this leads us to SuperM. SuperM’s entire focus has been to be successful in America.

Album Sales

SuperM’s album is called “SuperM – The 1st Mini Album” and the title track is “Jopping.” Both were released on Friday, October 4, 2019. The album has 7 different versions, one for each for of the 7 members and 1 group version, and was sold alongside 60 merchandise bundles. Album versions are common in Kpop has this tactic makes the albums more collectable for fans and EXO’s album “EXODUS” even had 24 versions and merch bundles are the norm in America (with the notable exception of BTS). SuperM also held a fan sign, an event in which fans can meet the members and get albums signed, bundle which came with a digital bundle as well. Fan sign events are pretty common in k-pop.

SuperM goes even further. Because the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart only counts albums sold in America, SuperM albums ordered in Korea were first shipped to an American address and then a Korean address to ensure they’d count towards the chart. Websites selling the album, such as Yes24 stated that Korean sales would count towards the BillBoard charts (https://imgur.com/a/QGIYdrT).

During the final days of the tracking week, SME also repeatedly texted fans to buy the albums to support their idols. Fans were messaged constantly, and here are some of the messages that were posted online (https://imgur.com/a/qJQxvRZ). People found the texts desperate and somewhat manipulative as it was repeatedly messaged that “We can’t do this without YOU!!!” and “We’re counting on you.”

Also, unrelated to their charting position but still important for discussions, SM launched a “SuperM Supporter-Leader” program in which fans could apply to become official SuperM Supporter-Leaders and, if selected, help promote SuperM online for free.

Some final notes, “SuperM – The 1st Mini Album” had 4 million streams while #2, Summer Walker's "Over It," had 150 million streams and SuperM is not projected to chart on the Hot 100.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. there’s a possibility that SuperM will drop off the chart completely next week, but I wonder if this would be the first time ever that’s happened or if there’s another artist who also charted out

  2. I’m a little surprised billboard didn’t reject some of the bundles. If this random group got #1 purely bc of insane bundle gimmicks like this, then the chart has basically turned into a mere merch chart. What a joke. This is probably one of the biggest scams I’ve seen on that chart. Summer Walker deserved better than getting robbed like this.

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