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[GAON] "Can GFRIEND soar into promotions overseas?" -By Gaon Chart's Senior Researcher Kim Jinwoo

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Can GFRIEND soar into promotions overseas?

In this time’s card news, we will review the data of GFRIEND’s company Source Music who were recently acquired by Big Hit Entertainment. Especially with the M&A, we expect it to be a green light for GFRIEND’s overseas promotions and we’ll look at the overseas indicators related to this and how charting and album performances have changed since they debuted.


If you look at GFRIEND’s album sales data for the last 3 years, you’ll see a noticeable increase in sales starting with The 2nd Album ‘Time for us’ in 2019. So far, the cumulative sales of a single album have not exceeded 100,000, but The 2nd Album which was released in January this year has sold about 93,000 copies so far. If this trend continues, the album that will be released next year will reach 100,000 cumulative sales for a single album.


To support the noticeable increase in sales of GFRIEND’s albums since 2019, the number of fan cafe members has increased significantly since mid-January 2019 when ‘Sunrise’ was released and the cumulative number of fan cafe members has reached 110,000. For reference, there aren’t many teams with more than 100,000 fan cafe members (Apink, Mamamoo, I*ZONE etc.) among Korean girl groups who have official fan cafes.


Looking at the change in chart ranking of GFRIEND’s songs, you can see that the ‘starting point’ is lower when they enter the chart for music released in 2018 compared to when they debuted. Unlike before, ‘Sunny Summer’ which was released in July 2018 started charting outside of the top 10, and recently released ‘Fever’ slipped out of the top 50, five weeks after it first climbed to 27th.


The trend of YouTube subscribers over the past year shows a good pattern of an increase of new subscribers at the time of song release, and it has been estimated that the company has about 1.1 million subscribers in total. Among Korean girl groups who have more than 1million subscribers, about 12 teams including GFRIEND have them.


In terms of GFRIEND’s YouTube traffic on a country level, South Korea shares 23% while other traffic is mostly from Asia such as Indonesia. In terms of idol groups, traffic in Korea is less than 20%, although it varies though it varies from case to case, it can be said that overseas promotions are possible to some extent.


In the first half of each year after GFRIEND’s debut, it’s been reported that there were 14,000 media exposures in 2016, and since then, it has maintained at 5,000, but this number has dropped to 4,000 in 2019.


In short, for GFRIEND, album sales, fandom growth, and YouTube subscribers have been growing steadily, but their charting in terms of streaming seems to have slowed down for the past year.

It’s believed that the reason why the song is ranked outside of the top 10 after its release is due to problems regarding the competitiveness and popularity of streaming. In the early days of debut, it they were a ‘streaming type idol’, but now, I think that fandom power is stronger than streaming power so they can be categorised as ‘fandom type idol’.

The recent merging and acquisition between Big Hit Entertainment and Source Music is expected to bring out the synergy in terms of portfolio diversification. When GFRIEND made their debut, they were just a streaming type, now they’ll evolve from fandom type to a global girl group.  

Source: (1)
Original Article by: Gaon Chart Senior Researcher Kim Jinwoo




찬란하게 빛나던 시간이었다고 맑은 여름비처럼 고마웠었다고 - "It was a bright, shining moment.  Thanks for being a clear summer rain"


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