One of the criticisms YANG HYUN SUK faces often is that he takes ‘too much time’. Artists from YG always takes a long time to release a product. The fans urge and demand while complaining ‘that’s enough’, but it often takes over a year. Girl group BLACKPINK, known as ‘YG’s jewel box’ made debut 3 years ago back in 2016, but was vacant for 1 year until recently.
The product released by the ‘producer shaping the bat’ proved that JENNIE’s wasn’t bluffing when she stated, ‘I’m honestly confident’. Music charts all over the world were colored in black and pink when BLACKPINK released their first-ever mini album ‘SQUARE UP’ on the 15th.
As of today (23rd), the title song ‘DDU-DU DDU-DU’ is maintaining its ‘all-kill’ status in major real-time music charts including Melon, Bugs, and Genie for 9 consecutive days. The album ‘SQUAR UP’ set a milestone among K-Pop girl groups by topping iTunes Album Charts in 44 different countries, while proving the group’s popularity in Japan by topping Japan Oricon’s Digital Album Chart. Furthermore, they were placed at no. 17 on UK’s ‘Official Trending Chart Top 20’ for the first time as a K-Pop girl group, while topping 5 charts including the Comprehensive New Releases Chart, Popularity Index Chart, and KPOP Weekly Chart of China’s QQ Music.
The group not only captured the ‘ears’ of listeners but also the ‘eyes’. The MV for ‘DDU-DU DDU-DU’ surpassed 10 million views in 6 hours since the album was released (MV release) and surpassed tens of millions of views approximately 5 times faster than the previous record held by K-Pop girl groups, and finally surpassed 80 million views in 160 hours on the 22nd. The previous record holder for the MV with the fastest 80 million views was also BLACKPINK, with their song ‘AS IF IT’S YOUR LAST’.
While it seems certain that the MV will surpass 90 million views this week, they are also expected to shorten the previous record (36 days) held by girl group TWICE, up to approximately ‘one fifth’. Furthermore, they will add one more MV into their over ‘100 million views’ MV collection, in addition to ‘BOOMBAYAH’ and ‘AS IF IT’S YOUR LAST’ that have over 300 million views.
Only ‘FAKE LOVE’ by BTS can compete with BLACKPINK’s unstoppable rise in MV view counts. They not only swept titles for the shortest amount of time in K-Pop girl-group history but also had the highest rank among all girl groups in the world and was ranked 4th among all artists in the world according to the ‘Top 10 Most Viewed MVs in the First 24 Hours’ announced by U.S. Billboard.
Despite achieving so much, representative producer YANG HYUN SUK states, “It’s only the beginning”. The 1 year was a period of improvement and growth rather than a simple vacancy. On the interview he had with EDAILY on the 22nd, he made us expect more for tomorrow rather than being carried away by stating, “The flower just began to bloom, so the tree will soon bear tasty berries”.
- 80 million views in 160 hours, 4th best record in the world, and even more. What meaning do they have.
◇ Firstly, I would like to thank everyone that supported BLACKPINK. I’m looking at results that are hard to believe, and feel that the K-Pop scene has become a market that is unpredictable, even by relevant experts. The overseas expansion of K-Pop has changed a lot in the past couple of years. And even now, it’s changing very fast. As a ball player who gets behind gets less chance to score goals, it’s hard to win opportunities in the content business if one gets behind the trend.
Who would be able to clearly explain how a geographically small country like Korea fosters so many artists that are popular in Asia and worldwide? I really don’t know.
Since it’s the World Cup season, I’ll compare it to soccer. If you want to win against your opponent, you’ll need talented players but it’s equally important to have strategy that can take your opponent off guard. In the case of BLACKPINK, I believe their popularity comes from something the fans can’t find in their own country… It’s a team with entirely different tactics and strategy.
The journey of BLACKPINK begins now, in their 3rd year since debut. They started blooming beautiful flowers, and I believe they will soon bear delicious berries.
- The members said that as soon as they heard ‘DDU-DU DDU-DU’, they knew ‘it was it’. How did you feel when you first heard the song.
◇ I didn’t know BLACKPINK said that. (Laughs) Actually, it was more of a gamble and challenge for me and TEDDY to select ‘DDU-DU DDU-DU’ as the title song.
We felt that since the track is fierce and contains a lot of rap sections compared to BLACKPINK’s previous releases, it may lack popularity among the public. At the same time, we felt that it’s a big mountain we’ll have to conquer, eventually.
One thing I was confident about was that the songs BLACKPINK has been practicing for the last 6 years were closer to BLACK rather than PINK. We successfully conquered the mountain, so we’ll aim for higher mountains and present more bold music in various genres from now on.
◇ Me and TEDDY have worked for over 20 years as producers, so we just know each other too well. We know what kind of facial expressions we have and how each other feels even without looking. In the case of BLACKPINK, TEDDY plays a huge role. He is in charge of the music and MVs, which is the most important. I take care of the other things, but we share each other’s progression and opinions throughout the process.
It took approximately a year until ‘DDU-DU DDU-DU’ was released to the public due to various circumstances, but I am pleased with the results as I personally think that the MV for ‘DDU-DU DDU-DU’ had the highest quality among all MVs released by BLACKPINK. The video for ‘DDU-DU DDU-DU’ was directed by Seo Hyunseung who has been working with YG for 20 years, and since we understand each other and the color of the music well through long meetings, we were able to come up with a great product in the end.
- During the 1-year vacancy, how did BLACKPINK grow and develop.
◇ It’s more like a process of revealing their talent accumulated during their 6-year training, rather than displaying their ‘growth’ that happened during the past year. They are like a ‘jewel box’ that hasn’t fully opened yet, as the fans refer to. BLACKPINK’s hidden talents and skills will soon shine even brighter.
- TEDDY and BLACKPINK, do they have a unique synergy effect.
◇ TEDDY is YG’s main producer that stayed relevant for the past 20 years, while creating numerous hits. For a designer like TEDDY, BLACKPINK is the perfect model and brand to dress the latest trend and music. Many people compared BLACKPINK with 2NE1, and it was inevitable since their break-up and debut timeline were crossing and each group were consisted of 4 members. But the models are different and each member has different strengths, so the comparisons will soon disappear.
◇ BLACKPINK’s strength and weakness is that they are mentally weak, since they did not experience social life that much. In other words, they are pure and innocent, but I often demand them to get tougher on stage.
- How would you like to lead BLACKPINK, in a producer’s perspective.
◇ As anyone can see from YouTube view counts, BLACKPINK is popular not only in Korea, but also popular overseas. Since 3 out of 4 members are fluent in English, that will work as a strength in running promotions overseas in the future. It may be too early to say this but since many foreign labels and producers are paying close to BLACKPINK’s success, we will soon be able to share good news in the near future. They will release a new song this year one more time, and actively participate in tours overseas. It’s an artists’ dream to meet, communicate, and sing for the people supporting them from far away. I would like to thank the fans again, for all the love and support.