Grading the Okay-Pop Businesses 2022: Woollim Leisure

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Earlier than I take a short have a look at lots of Okay-pop’s smaller companies, there are a number of that I’ve extra to say about. Take into account these “bonus” write-ups — shorter than the “massive 4” however longer than a paragraph or two might cowl. 

As traditional, the ideas are my very own and aren’t aware about any insider data. The aim of those articles is to find out how effectively Okay-pop companies are serving their artists and followers. Due to the timing of this publish, I’ll be together with the previous few weeks of 2021 as a part of my evaluation.

Woollim Entertainment


The Good

It’s humorous to consider being biased towards a complete company, however that’s one of many quirks with Okay-pop. Businesses are inclined to have their very own musical preferences – extra like a boutique than an organization. Woollim Leisure has been my company of alternative for years as a result of the music they launch is so constantly good. Clearly, style in music is subjective. However, if appears like Woollim’s A&R workforce is usually studying my thoughts (or possibly this weblog!). They offer us such an ideal mixture of the outdated and the brand new, the fashionable and the timeless.

2022 was a banner yr for Woollim’s output. All their acts shined, even when some launched extra music than others. DRIPPIN got here into their very own with a robust, cohesive trilogy. Rocket Punch delivered their finest single but and Kwon Eunbi developed her sound as a soloist. Golden Little one didn’t launch as a lot materials as their company friends, however their one 2022 mini album occurred to be among the many strongest of their profession.

For a smaller company, Woollim has a relatively massive roster. But, they have been capable of give all their artists time to shine this yr. Actually, most had a number of comebacks. A few of the greater companies can’t appear to handle this, and given Woollim’s struggles with promotion I’m really impressed how regular their launch schedule was in 2022. They continued to be nice at matching producers with artists, forging multi-comeback partnerships that assist outline every act’s sound.

As a fan, I used to be joyful to see Golden Little one tour North America this yr, even when it probably got here on the expense of additional comebacks. Hopefully, the company continues to foster connections with worldwide followers. I’m positive that might assist enhance album gross sales as effectively. On the flipside, I like how targeted Woollim have all the time been on the Korean market. A member like Jangjun might not be as well-known to overseas followers, however his comedian-like enchantment appears to be an everlasting presence on Okay-variety.


The Unhealthy

Woollim’s drawbacks are well-known, they usually’ve been fairly regular for years. The company struggles with promotion, whether or not that be communication/transparency with followers or pre-order intervals and teasers that assist an album debut with sturdy numbers. They don’t typically boast the massive gross sales that different companies do, regardless of releasing far more constant music. I’m positive this is because of their dimension and business affect, however I’d nonetheless prefer to see them strive new techniques in 2023.

The company has additionally developed an issue sustaining their legacy artists. All of Infinite and most of Lovelyz have left Woollim, and that’s a disgrace. It’s loopy to suppose that Golden Little one, who debuted in 2017, at the moment are the oldest act within the company.

On the promotion entrance, I feel Woollim might delve deeper into Okay-dramas. They’ve received a pure star in Bomin, however touring (and an unlucky accident) took him off the desk in 2022. I’d like to see extra drama roles for Woollim artists. I feel this can be a enormous untapped potential for them.

Lastly, Woollim’s Japanese releases have left a lot to be desired. I’m undecided what stage of management (if any) they’ve over these songs, however listening to them is like experiencing an alternate universe the place these fantastic artists joined a subpar, generic company. We have to get again to the times of Dilemma and DNA!


What I’d prefer to see in 2023:

  • A couple of comeback from Golden Little one
  • Convey Sweetune again into the fold. You’ve got a shared historical past! They’re a part of your model!
  • Extra effort in home and worldwide promotions

Earlier years: 2021 // 2020 // 2019 // 2018 // 2017

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