People worldwide loved this song, like being hit by Cupid’s arrow. Group Fifty Fifty’s ‘Cupid’ was released on the 2nd (local time) and ranked 41st on Billboard’s main singles chart, ‘Hot 100’ this week. This song, released by Fifty Fifty on February 24th, first entered the ‘Hot 100’ chart on April 1st at number 100, then ranked 94th in the 2nd week, 85th in the 3rd week, 60th in the 4th week, 50th in the 5th week, and 6th in the 5th week. It shows a steady rise to the 41st place in the parking lot. Blackpink is the only K-pop girl group to rank higher or stay longer than them on this chart (up to No. 13, charting for eight weeks). The global popularity of ‘Cupid’ is soaring, so there is a high possibility of setting a new record. How did this happen to a rookie group that debuted over five months ago? Through their moves, we looked at the new K-pop box office formula.
Attract non-K-pop fans
Fifty is under the small agency Attract. Competing with prominent K-pop groups from large agencies such as YG, Hive, and SM is complex, and it is difficult to carry out promotional activities such as domestic broadcasting. He naturally had to turn his eyes to the global market. In fact, in the early days of their debut, BTS also focused on international activities through YouTube and social media while experiencing difficulties in public relations as a small and medium-sized agency member. Producer Ahn Seong-il of Attract confessed, “Many K-pop groups are already preoccupied and active in the global market, so huge funds and support are needed to settle in the worldwide market.
So, I chose to reach people who are not K-pop fans. “If K-pop accounts for less than 10% of the US market, let’s make music that the other 90% listen to.” ‘Cupid,’ created by foreign composers, emphasizes smooth and clear melodies with a slow tempo for dance music. Famous music critic Kim Do-heon said, “It is a disco-pop song similar to Doja Cat’s ‘Say So’ and ‘Kiss Me More,’ which were popular two to three years ago. Producer Ahn explained, “There were voices opposing ‘Cupid’ because it didn’t sound like idol music, but we went ahead with it.”. It was also effective that the Korean and English versions were released together.
Let TikTok speed up and play.
Attract expects that “Cupid” will gain a global response in the second half of this year and has been preparing the schedule by recently signing a promotion contract with Warner Records under Warner Music. However, it exploded much sooner than expected. It suddenly spread through word of mouth in the short-form video-based S&S TikTok. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the middle of a long time since I’ve been in the middle of a long time. Zico’s ‘Any Song’ challenge in 2020 is a typical example. Girl group DreamNote recently uploaded a dance challenge video for their new song ‘Lemonade’ on TikTok. Usually, the video uploaded by the artist gets more attention.
‘Cupid’ was a bit different. Foreign TikTok users increased the speed of the English version, which quickly spread. Many people used it as background music and uploaded a challenge video of dancing. Interestingly, the ‘Speed Up’ version with increased speed became the fuse. If you speed it up, it’s good to include it in a short video of about a minute or so, and it’s perfect for dancing. The tone of voice is also raised so that you can feel a different charm. Because of this, speed-up is a trend in the pop market these days. Lady Gaga’s ‘Bloody Mary’ (2011), a speed-up version posted on TikTok last year, succeeded in reversing the chart in 11 years. When Caesar’s speed-up version of “Kill Bill,” released at the end of last year, gained popularity as a short-form content, Caesar released it as an official sound source earlier this year. Sam Smith also released a sped-up version of his hit song ‘I’m Not The Only One’ (2014). Kim Sae-nook, an indie musician, released Korea’s first speed-up mini-album last year in Korea.
Use the chart as a stepping stone to make a long run.
If it becomes popular on TikTok, consumption of original songs also increases. Since it is not fulfilling within a minute or so, you find and listen to the original song on streaming services such as Spotify. Bae Jeong-Hyeon, director of music business development in TikTok Asia, who attended the Korea Music Contents Association conference on the 27th of last month, said, “175 of the popular songs on TikTok in 2021 were included in the top 100′ in the United States. Regardless of new and old songs, the correlation between popular songs on TikTok entering the Spotify chart is increasing.” As of the 3rd, ‘Cupid’ ranked 4th on the Spotify’ Top 50-Global’ chart and 8th on the ‘Top 50-US’ chart. The performance of Spotify, the world’s largest streaming service, is heavily reflected on the Billboard charts.
It is also compared to Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ 11 years ago in that it added spontaneous virality to the song’s strength, not to the singer’s popularity. ‘Gangnam Style,’ with addictive songs and dances combined with a music video with original B-level emotions, became very popular on YouTube and Facebook, rising to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100′. However, as the singer’s popularity was within the song’s popularity, subsequent songs saw little light. This is why voices say that the singer’s charm and influence must be increased if Fifty Fifty does not want to step on the train. An official from Attract said, “We are going to join hands with Warner Records and start promoting in the US in earnest from now on.”
Whether Fifty Fifty will become a ‘one hit wonder’ that disappears after only one hit or a long run as a famous ‘K-pop star’ depends from now on.