Among countless girl groups, despite being one from a relatively small agency not well-known to the public, GFRIEND has become one of the first to reach the top within just a year since their debut.
From “Glass Bead” to “Me Gustas Tu” to “Rough,” the girl group steadily built its healthy and innocent image which leads one to believe that their success didn’t just happen by chance. How did GFRIEND manage to survive and do well in a market where only large-scale agencies were said to be able to flourish?
CEO So Seong Jin of GFRIEND’s agency, Source Music, shared some thoughts on the reason behind GFRIEND’s popularity as well as possible directions for the group, including sexy concepts.
He noted that searching on internet blogs to find many of them containing posts about nostalgic girl groups of the 90s gave him a general idea for the niche that he and his team were shooting for, since they were already set on casting middle/high school age girls for the group, who couldn’t easily pull off the sexy concept due to their age.
In regards to the success of “Rough” despite it not being a music style that conforms to the latest trend, he said that, “Honestly I’m not too sure why it did so well. I believe the “falling incident” really gave us a lot of public exposure as a group and I personally liked this song for the lyrics… I let my wife listen to the song and she even cried a little saying that the words were really touching.” He continued by saying that “Rough” has an overall anime-like feel to it that female fans would find appealing and, since his staff suggested that it is essential to develop a female fandom in order to survive in the long term, they decided to go ahead with promotional activities for the song because they wanted to gather many female fans.
Commenting on the future direction of GFRIEND, So Seong Jin said that although it’s not easy to take it slow and steady in setting a direction for a girl group as in the case for GFRIEND, he believes it is the way it needs to be done no matter what, due to the fast rate at which a team reaches the peak of popularity and in which contents are consumed these days. He continued by saying, “A lot of people say that girl groups have to go with the sexy concept after time passes and they run out of contents, but I don’t believe this is the case. I think you have to consider this along with the unique color of the group itself. GFRIEND will probably never go in the sexy concept direction. We will be able to continue for a long time with the current conceptual direction and I ultimately see it as the way to repay the fans for their support.”