Talk About a Comeback: A Guide to K-pop Album Releases

Following K-pop can be overwhelming, so here’s a breakdown of where and how to get the best content.

August 27, 2019
8 mins read

Whether you’re new to K-pop, or you’ve been a fan for a while and don’t know how to process the sheer amount of content these performers provide, comeback season can be overwhelming. A comeback refers to the release of a new album, and comeback season refers to the months in summer and fall when most K-pop artists release new music. It sounds simple, right? Well, sorta.

During comeback season, there’s so much content to consume, from teaser videos and photo shoots to countless interviews, fans can get caught up trying to find all the fresh content before the next piece comes out. While this might be stressful for some, most fans describe comeback season as the most exciting part of K-pop.

“For me, comeback season is always exciting,” says Tumblr user Tatianna Ruby. “Even if I’m busy in my life outside of the fandom, seeing all the teaser pictures and videos brings me a lot of joy.”

Enjoying this genre should be exciting and joyful, so here’s a simple guide on how to find everything to keep you updated on all your comeback needs.

Social Media

The obvious answer is to follow the artist on their social media accounts. Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are usually the first place to find announcements, photos or videos from new albums. Twitter will give you posts from the artist directly, such as behind the scenes recording sessions or a sneak peak at the music video. With most artists, Instagram is where the album concept photos are posted, along with other photographic clues as to what theme this comeback might take on. The best source for finding out the comeback’s theme is going straight to the YouTube channel. Groups often post teaser videos, then trailers and finally the music video, all contributing to the same concept or storyline.

While it’s not quite social media, artists’ websites will have minor clues hiding in corners and hidden pages. The website will go under construction when a comeback is looming, or it will change out of nowhere; make sure to look at all the new additions. This is where you can see all of the album packages, merchandise and extra physical goodies you can buy. K-pop always has elaborate album packaging with multiple versions, so checking the website before you buy it will ensure you know exactly which album you want to buy.

Something else to look out for: Artists that want a dramatic album announcement tend to go quiet in the days leading up to a release. They’ll change their icon, header or Instagram theme to hint at the new work, and this drives fans nuts. A surefire way to excite a K-pop fandom is to tell them their favorite artist changed their social media icon, and wait for a reaction.

Update Accounts

There’s a LOT of content to keep up with during a comeback. There’s multiple posts a day, several interviews to listen to and a few cleverly-timed teasers to watch and dissect — plus any posts from the artist about their everyday life, which will be investigated thoroughly for clues to the album concept, even if the video is just the artist eating cereal. That’s why update accounts are a vital part of surviving the flurry of posts and interactions. They’re run by dedicated fans who glean the content of the day and post everything in one place, often with translations in English, Japanese, and other languages to help the artists reach all of their international fans.

Twitter has a lot of great update accounts that will summarize the events of the day and share the highlights, but if you’re one of the brave souls still on Tumblr, there’s plenty of blogs posting everything you want to see in one central location. On Tumblr, you’ll often find blogs dedicated to one group or solo artist, so you might have to follow a few blogs to get all the content you want. From social media, to special fan club content, to videos from the Korean app V LIVE, fan Tumblrs are the place to be if you want all of your content handed to you on a silver platter.

Fan Created Content

BTS releases a show every week, called “Run BTS,” that lasts about 30 minutes and shows the group playing games or completing challenges in a silly manner. Within hours of “Run BTS” being posted, fan creators will make gifs of the funniest bits to share on their blogs.

Say BLACKPINK does an interview, and the girls sing a snippet of their next single. A fan will immediately edit that clip and share the song snippet on Twitter and Instagram.

Maybe HyunA premiered a music video, and there’s a beautiful shot with great colors that a fan artist wants to recreate with a painting, or they want to draw a portrait of HyunA inspired by the theme of the video that they share on their art pages.

It’s creators like these that help Alex Epps keep up with comeback season, because the creators will post their own content soon after the original, which reminds her that there’s new content in the first place.

“If I see a content creator draw an idol wearing clothes I haven’t seen before, or a video of a dance practice set to funny music, I know it’s because of fresh media from the new comeback,” Epps says. As a content creator herself for BTS, EXO and Hotshot, it’s understandable that she checks for updates within her community of artists and creators working on similar projects.

Above all, comeback season should be fun. K-pop is meant for your enjoyment, and while it can be a lot to take in, there’s plenty of ways to tailor your experience to what you’re interested in. If you don’t care about concept photos, ignore Instagram. You don’t use Twitter, don’t worry about it. There’s ways to interact with K-pop and comebacks that fits you best, and hopefully this guide gives you some ideas of where to start.

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