June was a flurry of comebacks from the most popular groups out there, including TWICE, Cosmic Girls, SEVENTEEN and Stray Kids. The highly competitive month saw sales that shot through the roof, with TWICE’s 9th mini album MORE & MORE hitting a new record for themselves, totaling 330,000 copies, while Cosmic Girls’ mini album, Neverland, hit 52,000 copies in just two days of sales. SEVENTEEN’s Heng:garae bested their own past record, selling 1,060,000 copies in pre-sales. Stray Kids first full-length album, GO生, similarly overtook their own best, with pre-sales of 200,000 copies.
The new records that are cropping up have to do with the trend of bulk pre-orders this year, where fandoms often order the albums even before it is launched. BTS‘s 4th album, MAP OF THE SOUL : 7 launched in February, to pre-sales of 4,100,000 units. Even as we move into the digital era, idols’ physical albums often sell well regardless, given that albums nowadays provide more than just a single CD, often including tradeables such as photocards.
Singer-songwriter, Baek Yerin previously released a special LP version of her album in May along with the regular CDs. Popularity saw extended additional restocks in June, surpassing 15,000 copies in pre-sales total, a feat for an indie singer-songwriter.
On the other hand, idols from smaller companies often are unable to hit such records, stopping at a mere few thousand, purely as their albums are produced in small batches in the first place, due to high production costs.
A representative from a small-to-middle sized company has commented, “It is hard to turn a profit purely from digital releases, so being active in selling goods and albums are a way to maintain longevity. However, the discrepancy between really popular idols and idols that are not will keep growing, given that companies are able to support idols that do well as they sweep up fans and are exposed more to the public. Idols from smaller companies have to be adventurous in finding ways to survive.”